What's in a glass of wine? The answer might be surprising. Wine is basically spoiled grape juice. (Whoever first ingested it millennia ago: hat tip.) But these days wine's ingredients can also contain a laundry list of adds in's: sulfur dioxide, egg whites, oak chips, water and numerous chemical additives, in addition to the base of fermented grape juice. As chefs and home cooks have turned to farmers markets for organic and small batch-grown produce, wine drinkers are increasingly seeking out natural wines, in response to the preservatives and stabilizers found in conventionally-made wine.
|Kathy A. McDonald|
|2009 Brooks Temperance Hill Pinot Noir at Buzz Wine Beer Shop|
Natural wine is more than just winespeak or a marketing gimmick. Artisan winemakers are essentially going back to basics when making wine in a non-interventionist way, with as little manipulation as possible, avoiding mechanization in farming and production (foot stomping grapes is now in vogue), using grapes grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Some words frequently used to describe natural wine's flavor profile: alive, snappy, complex, dense and fuller on the palate. Natural wines do taste and often look differently than conventionally made wine. Turn the page to discover why. More »