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Natural Wines: Would you try them?


Comparing prices for the same wine, I think Buon Vino is pretty average.

In terms of VFM, my experience of BV, and natural wines in general for that matter, is that they are either very appealing, or very unappealing - a greater range than most other wines. But the duds are cheaper than Burgundy duds ;). And I think it is fun to explore.

My last very postive experience from BV was a £14.50 wine - a Campania IGT Aglianico from Il Cancelliere. I returned to get half a case of that a couple of months ago. Claimed to be natural.


I find natural whites often have that appley oxidative (to be polite) thing going on. I don’t exactly dislike it, but I certainly get bored with it. What they need is some protective skin contact :wink:


Sometimes I really fancy the more rustic, funky end of natural wine as well. Drinking a bottle of Baglio Bianco tonight, a Sicilian orange wine that’s definitely towards that end of the spectrum, and it’s really hitting the spot. Mind you I love guezue and proper cider, and make my own sauerkraut and kimchi, so I guess I just like those kinds of flavours


I’ve really not been convinced by the unsulfured wines that I’ve had. @SteveSlatcher is absolutely right about the sour apple character, and I just find it off-putting - perhaps interesting for first half-glass, and then I wish it wasn’t there.

I thought that reds seemed to fare better, but then we had a terrible experience with some unsulfured pinot noirs that were great when we first tried them, and turned into something resembling bleach after nine months. As much as anything else, it seemed such a waste of good grapes and wine.

I wouldn’t want to stop people experimenting, and obviously they are very much to some people’s taste, just not mine.


This is very clean and fresh. Not cidery at all.


I was a bit disappointed by that one, pleasant enough but underwhelming


I cannot say that I have been able to correlate my bad experiences of natural wine with anything other than colour. But then I have not been sufficiently fussed to check SO2 levels, or added sulphites. I also have not noticed any wine nose-diving after several months, but cannot claim to have conducted experiments, however informal.

Considering the total SO2 may depend as much on fermentation as added sulphites, and one wine with zero added sulphites might have more SO2 than another with small additions, can we really say exactly what is the cause of any “unpleasantness”? I think we would have to “blame” the winemaking in general rather than the lack of sulphites alone.


I completely echo this sentiment.

Both food items I positively adore! But personally these are not flavour profiles I desire in my wine.

Horses for courses, of course!


Fair point. I guess that I have noticed what seems to be a correlation between wines that announce themselves to be unsulfured with such flavours. Often, the same winemaker makes more conventional wine which doesn’t suffer in the same way, which makes me suspect the lack of sulfur. Which may also indicate that a winemaker who is more completely committed to the concept would do better. I can’t claim to have done extensive research though.


Underwhelming… It costs a tenner!! I enjoyed it, and can’t think of any wine that I’d be wowed by at that price.

Surely zero sulphur is a red herring? Hardly anyone does this in my experience - almost all producers use a little for bottling.

I agree about the bruised appley thing. This puts me off “natural” whites, though there are many that don’t have it. I’m warier of them than I am of the reds, which I very often love.


I’ve had several wines at around or under a tenner that have excited me, but I take your point


I think zero added sulphites wines are more common than you might think, even if they a minority of all natural wines.

If you take a look at the list of natural wines filtered by a lower SO2 content on the Raw Wine website, and then click around on several wines, you will find a fair proportion have no added sulphites. Unfortunately there is no filter for “no added sulphites” so it is difficult to get statistics from that source. Here are wines with under 20ppm SO2

Also note that the Organic Wine category in the USA is not allowed to have added sulphites.


It appears that Alice Feiring is as appalled by the state of natural wines as most of us here are. This was published on Tuesday: http://www.worldoffinewine.com/news/the-end-of-the-age-of-innocence-7454470


Really interesting article, thanks for sharing.

Some great passages in there:

An importer I know here in New York City brought some bottles for me to taste. I had asked for Aligoté, and he brought one from a producer whose wines I know to be uneven. I tasted and grimaced. Let’s just say there was a whole family of mice in that glass. “ Souris ,” I said. He laughed and shrugged. “The kids like it,” he replied.

People happy to accept flawed wine because they are common in the style of wine they enjoy (or at least think they should be enjoying), bonkers!

I’ve got no problem with natural wine, I think it’s just another category of winemaking where done with care and thought could make fantastic wine.

However, if the behaviour described in the article encourages production of wines that are poorly made and bottled with all manner of flaws (from reading the article, not even related to the fact that they are made naturally), it’s just a ridiculous fad that can only be damaging to natural wine and the wine industry as a whole.


Great read! thanks for sharing, @MalcolmV!

This was an interesting observation: “All too often, people buy and are served flawed wines because neither the salesperson nor the sommelier can recognize the flaw. To them, it’s just generic ‘natural-wine taste.’”

I wonder if there’s also something of the Emperor’s New Clothes’ syndrome at play here…? If you invested in this wine - emotionally, ideologically or even financially - you might not want to rush to admit that it is faulty.


Yes, I imagine there’s an element of that - I think that also fits with the “identity” aspect mentioned some months back.

There’s another matter I’ve been mulling over, which is that of learned behaviour. Humans with untutored palates (aka children) will naturally reject anything that tastes bitter. We have to teach ourselves to accept a degree of bitterness, which of course we do with G&Ts. I wonder if there is also something of that going on here - maybe that mousiness was repellent to start with, but is acceptable now -?


There you go @Leah , you will acclimatise to the whole ‘mousiness’ you’re having problems with in this thread:

Ditch the traps and poison, just persevere!


Hahaha I’ll just get myself some “natural” mousy wine ! Should do the trick :joy:.


Don’t see too many people “appalled” myself. Standards of "natural’ winemaking are clearly increasing as the practices become more widespread and mainstream. In many parts of the world - such as Friuli/Slovenia, and Etna, both of which I’ve just visited - many of the tenets of “natural” winemaking are already standard practice.

Obviously there is some rubbish from the bandwagon jumpers, but that is the case with every fashion. Far more shit wine is sold than good wine - just look at the supermarkets, where almost everyone in this country buys wine. Plus ca change…

This is quite simply a non issue these days IMO.


Personally I find that there seems to be a big difference in quality between wines that are marketed as being “natural” vs wines that just happen to be made with low intervention techniques. I tend to avoid wines sold purely on the merits of being “natural” or low sulphur.