What’s in the glass tonight October 22nd – Natural Wines

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Budburst Natural Wine Tasting

Later this month is New Zealand’s first Natural Wine and Food festival, Budburst. Regional Wines and Spirits invited Dan Gillet, from Wine Diamonds. in-store to taste through a wide range of natural wines. I rocked along to try them.

What exactly is a Natural Wine? There isn’t a hard and fast definition, but rather it infers a few things about the viticulture and winemaking process. The fruit should ideally be organic or biodynamically grown, and the winemaking would follow a “minimal interventionist” path.

The wines I tasted were:

Double Bubble Pet-Nat South Australia 2016

Domaine Lucci Chardonnay Italy

Millton Vineyards & Winery Libiamo Gewurztraminer Gisborne 2015

Millton Libiamo Field Blend Gisborne 2015

Commune of Buttons Fleur Gris South Australia 2016

Sato Pinot Gris L’Atypique Central Otago

Domaine Lucci Vino Rosso Italy

Sato Pinot Noir Central Otago

I would like to say that I loved them, but I didn’t. The aromas coming out of the glass were very challenging to me, to say the least.

They smelled a bit too reminiscent of the developer solution I handled in the darkroom back at Design School, or the way my hands smelled afterwards if I hadn’t used the tongs provided to move photographic paper from one tank to another.

Another descriptor could be ‘funky’. Or sour. Like a sour beer. This sour-ness on the nose really got in the way of me seeing any fruit sweetness in the glass. And when one of the pinots was picked early anyway, there was scarcely any fruit weight in the wine at all.

The one I liked the most was the first, a South Australia sparkling wine made by the ancestral method called pétillant-naturel, popularly pét-nat, or first ferment. This was an interesting fizz. It had the sweetness on attack that I thought the others lacked.

I did like the first Millton Libiamo wine, as the Gewurtz showed some fruit, but I am predisposed to like Millton anyway, as earlier posts indicate.

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I think these wines will have to win me over, and over time. I don’t like sour beer either.

On the plus side, it was a great learning experience, and was the first time I had tried self-styled “natural wines”. Dan Gillet was wonderfully knowledgeable and passionate about the wines he represents. He did tell me about a NZ Riesling pét-nat that will be released later this year via his website, so I will try to get hold of a bottle to show L.

 

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