This whole organic, bio dynamic, natural wine, is despite the adherents to the movement giving the impression, ‘they are following the light’ is as I have said elsewhere nothing more in most cases than good agricultural practice, for years vineyards along with the rest of the industry have been cutting back on pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that leave large residuals in the soil.
The fact that many of the top tier vineyards do that and have been doing it without adding the organic prefix to their wines says all you need to know about where the line is regarding what is and what isn’t in the above categories.
The reason wine is the stable high quality product you buy today is because oenologists along with vineyard management have benefitted from the enormous advances in the technical side of winemaking.
If anyone wants to read a comment on the grapevine section there is one on the Loire piece on this.
Personnaly I am only interested in what is in the bottle, I know the vast majority of vineyards are run on sustainable lines, much of the rest they can’t even define what the parameters are for the various sections and in many cases certified organic vineyards run alongside uncertified(because of a minor difference in the way they are run) that are actually more “organic” than the certified ones, it is a very vague area.
Bio Dynamics are fairy tale issues, I have said before that Bio is comparable with homeopathy, it wont do you any harm but any percieved advantage is a placebo effect, yes I know some famous vineyards now use Bio methods, but there is absolutely no proof that planting vines when there is a full moon will result in better wine, Decanter had a wine review for an organic Bio wine recently, it finished with the words, “the grapes were picked on a field and flower day” seriously.
When I was in Spain at the Bodega de la Marques winery in Rioja I had a long chat about the vineyard with the owner, this is a Rioja vineyard that is a single vineyard before the new movement, uses sustainable practices in the vineyard but makes no claims to be organic, when asked about Bio Dynamics he just laughed, he explained that when they have a very hot picking season they try to pick in the early or late part of the day when it is cooler, some claim that to be Bio Dynamic, no it is good farming practice and there were many other examples given.
Natural wines are fresher, really, since Parker retired the whole industry has been geared to fresher wines away from the heavily extracted and oaky wines favoured by him, there are many lovely fresh wines out ther without having to turn to the minefield of natural wines.
Natural wines are not new, the label is, but wines made thenatural way have been manufactured for a long time by believers in this way.
I came across this winery which has achieved cult staus in the Abruzzo whilst on holiday there.
" Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’AbruzzoWhy Be Curious? These are legendary and uncompromisingly natural wines from a region known more for everyday, rustic quaffers. They’re wines of exquisite personality and balance that always express the nuances of vintage. The wines unfold slowly but inexorably and almost magically; the family maintains a library of 350,000 bottles, going back to Emidio’s first vintage of 1964."
I managed to purchase a bottle in a restaurant in L’Aquila, the wine was still fermenting in the bottle, ridiculous and they charge silly money for it, such was it’s claim to fame I managed to find a couple of bottles that I brought back, one was quite good the other the same as the restaurant one, and outside of his admirers all who write about his wines say the same, yet people still buy it.
What is the end game for the natural movement, we dump all the knowledge and skills gathered in the last few decades and go back to treading grapes filthy barrels no temperature control, I hope not, it would be a disaster.
I wont go on, but please as Leah has said do not lump orange wines in with the natural movement though some claim to be, most are not.