Natural Wines From America

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Natural Wines From America

There is no single, precise definition of what a "natural wine" is. That's okay - a healthy discussion is always enjoyable over a glass or two of wine. A quick short-hand I often use is to say that "organic" and "biodynamic" apply more to the vineyards, where "natural wine" refers more to the winemaking process. Having said that, the real natural winemakers will be using organic or biodynamic fruit for their wines. Natural wines are made without adding anything in the winemaking process and with as little human intervention as possible. So then, these are actually very traditional wines, made in a similar manner that many of these winemakers grandparents and great-grandparents had made their wines. It is a turning away from more modern (post Industrial Revolution, and especially, post World War II) winemaking techniques.

 

In many instances, it was very much a relearning of how to make wonderful wines without modern shortcuts and manipulations. Many early "natural wines" were a little wild and unbalanced... and many early natural wine fans embraced these styles. Many (modern day) traditionalists despised this "new" category as made up of entirely flawed wines. In the interim, natural winemakers have mastered their craft and many produce wines with exceptional precision that the strictest traditionalist would never question (and would probably argue against the fact they could even possibly be natural wines), while others continue to make more wild "natty" wines... with a full spectrum in between.

 

The return to popularity of natural wines started in France (in my mind, especially in Beaujolais and the Loire Valley... but this is a good question to start a wine-nerd argument with), spread across winemaking Europe and to the New World. Chile has had an exciting natural wine scene for some time now - they're into it Down Under and there are great things happening across the country here as well. Below is a very abbreviated list of American natural wines from Atlantic to Pacific coasts. As great a diversity in geographic locations as there is for these wines, there is an even larger range of styles, grape varieties and flavors.  

 

Vermont:

La Garagista Farm & Winery...

- Vinu Jancu" 2018 - $56

 

New York:

Wild Arc Farm...

- Gamay Piquette 2020 - $20

- "Luca" Traminette 2020 - $30

- "Clos de Cochon" Riesling 2020 - $35

- Gamay Noir 2020 - $35

 

Utah*:

Ruth Lewandowski...

- "Tatto" 2020 - $30

- "Chilion" 2019 - $35

- "L. Stone" 2019 - $45

 

California:

Coturri...

- "Albarello Red" 2019 - $35

Florez...

- "The Pope's Smoke" 2020 - $28

- "Lava Lamp" 2020 - $29

- "Free Solo" 2020 - $34

- "Kind of Orange" 2020 - $37