|Late 19th century artisan cellar|
The next step was to commit myself even more, not only in the vineyard (the management of flora and the vitality of the soil), but also in the specific environments adjacent to the vineyards (hedges, trees, birdhouses, fields meadows and wooded areas) in order to achieve a more ‘natural’ situation. Many suggestions were also shared with me by experiments in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, which were all simultaneously growing, particularly in some territories, a more balanced viticulture and more mature wine production.
The term “natural”, as already stated several times, is a word that is used in the absence of more appropriate synonyms. I would say that the english expression “organic wine” is far more accurate. To produce these wines, we must remember at least some important steps:
- the use of the ancestral vines of the area and the preservation of their genetic variability;
- the selection of environments that are very suited to the vines in order to optimise results;
- cultivation with simple, few or no invasive interventions, also on the surrounding people and environment;
- maintaining an adequate production balance with the physiology of the plant and clusters with high potential for future wine.
|A vineyard producing natural wines|
But how does one taste these wines?
|The colours of natural wine|
Natural, raw wines normally have a very different production style from conventional wines and certainly don’t undergo any kind of manipulation in the cellar, but are ‘living’ and constantly evolving. Therefore, as soon as you open the bottle, you must have patience, let it breathe and approach the tasting without any prejudice or prefigured expectation, so as to be better prepared for all expressions of smell and taste as they arise. Only later and with a few pauses are considerations more appropriately made. In any case, these wines normally continue to surprise even at a distance of days and weeks.
In some years and especially for some varieties, the presence of ‘anomalies’ can still occur: oxidation, values of evident volatile acidity and unconventional tastes. We must remember that the producer of organic wines must always work with skill and diligence to achieve good wines, but has to accept that there can be variability with sometimes surprising results. Finally, it is important to remember that properly achieved organic-natural wines also indisputably healthy. ‘Perfect' wines, but only because the additives make them so are an ‘offense’ to our health and we must be conscious of this.
Wine, a ‘magic’ product, possesses a long history and is deeply intertwined with human society. From its dawn in Mesopotamia, continuing with the Egyptians, the Phoenicians, the Etruscans, the Greeks and the Romans. From each of these peoples we have been gifted pivotal teachings in viticulture and oenology and we have to remember this precious legacy.
|Complexity in the vineyard in spring|