The Unfettered Taste of Terroir
Natural wines represent the most diverse and expressive category in our repertoire, spanning every wine-making country and varietal. Endlessly complex, oenophiles are intrigued by the rustic and funky profiles of some natural wines, and seduced by the subdued and elegant personality of others.
“Natural” speaks to the production method, but it means different things to different producers. Many natural winemakers use organic or biodynamic grapes; most use native yeasts that collect naturally on the berries and create unique aromas during fermentation.
If you’re ready to explore this robust class of wines, read on! Our staff has put together a short list of outstanding natural wines to get you started in the field.
Beatrice and Pascal Lambert craft this delightful Cabernet Franc from a modest 14-hectare plot of land that was certified biodynamic in 2005. Mineral-laden and dark-fruit forward, this is my go-to Chinon, elegant and rustic all in one—and very reasonably priced. – Jared McGuire
A vivid blend of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling, this wine is the color of marmalade skies turning into a rusty copper with the night. The nose puts forward notes of chamomile and crunchy fall leaves resting in honeysuckle bushes. The taste of this wine is so comforting and complex, it reminds me of getting tangled-up in my mother’s kitchen phone cord. – Heather Gordon
Jared and Tracey Brandt craft some of the finest natural wines in California. Their wines are raw and wild, but the Brandts’ meticulous care shines through. A blend of Merlot, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, the “Gallivanter” is all about bright, juicy fruit, like blackberries and black raspberries, with a little earthiness and black pepper. Serve slightly chilled at your next barbeque. – Amy Miller
Rita, Vin de France – 2015 $21.96
Looking for an expressive natural wine on the less funky side? “Rita” is Carignan at its best—brimming with garrigue and mixed dark fruits. An otherwise robust wine, a streak of acidity makes for an agreeable, fresh finish. It is unfined, unfiltered, and nearly free of sulfur, naturally. – Doug Yacka