Lettie Teague writes about The Actual Facts Behind the Rise of Natural Wine in the Wall Street Journal, providing some basic information, minor skepticism and the mandatory interview with Alice Feiring. She then rounds up some bottles for a tasting and here is her conclusion:
The results were decidedly mixed: While I was pleased by almost all of the whites, sparkling wines and rosés, I was much less happy with most of the reds. The light-colored wines were generally bright and expressive (none was oxidative in the least).
My tasting didn’t lead me to any profound conclusions, although it did lead me to believe that some natural winemakers are more talented than others. What bothers me most about natural wine, beyond the off-putting categorization and the (unproven) specter of biogenic amines, is the ideology that its true believers espouse. I want a wine that simply tastes good; I don’t need to know What the Winemaker Believes Most.
What about this conclusion could not be applied to wine as a whole, or any group of wines in general? Only organic, biodynamic and natural wines get this type of treatment – hey we looked at the philosophy, and tried the wines. Some were good, some were bad, but all I want is good stuff so none of it matters. All winemakers espouse some type of philosophy, or brag about their approach to wines. Look at any winery website – none of them say “hey, we just pick some grapes, put them in a barrel and hope it turns out ok.”
Only organic, biodynamic and natural winemakers are singled out for having a philosophy. Every winery has one.