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Margaret Pilgrim

On "Natural Wines"

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On 6/10/2019 at 11:31 PM, Margaret Pilgrim said:

A balanced article in Financial Times.      https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/naturally-divisive

 

An interesting article, and indeed balanced.

 

I have no problem with natural wines - provided they don't have the rank, animal notes and excessive sourness that I've often seen.  From what I understand, these come mostly just from a lack of hygiene, with bacterial infections that would normally be controlled by sulphur.

 

Great natural wines just taste, thankfully, like great wines :)

 

If you get the chance, try Montirius in Vaqueyras.  They're natural, but their hygiene is impeccable - they use dairy pipes and pumps rather than standard wine ones, so they can be kept completely clean and sterile when needed.  And it goes without saying that you wouldn't know they were natural until you actually went and talked to them about it.

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Posted (edited)

Had Jay called Frenchette to inquire about their corkage policy (i.e. they don't allow it), he could've saved himself the aggravation.

 

And to actually show some balance, wouldn't it have been nice to mention all the restaurants with what might be considered more classic wine lists (i.e. not all focused on "natural wines), also not allowing outside bottles?


Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Id never take an  ' old ' wine anywhere.

 

stirs up the sediment.

 

and the oldest wines Ive had were 22 y.o. zinfandels I aged myself

 

kept them at home and drank them at home.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, weinoo said:

Had Jay called Frenchette to inquire about their corkage policy (i.e. they don't allow it), he could've saved himself the aggravation.

 

 

 

Don't get me started on Jay.    Talk about someone who has made a career out of pretending to know something.   

 

As I've said elsewhere, many very knowledgeable wine drinkers need to be able to ace a wine list.   With the profusion of these newcomer natural wines, they often find themselves with not inexpensive and, to them, undrinkable bottles.    Sure, there are reliable natural winemakers who have been practicing this method in one form or another for many decades, like forever.    But there are a lot of newer winemakers out there who are making a less familiar style.

 

I have had no problem at so-called natural wine  cellars by simply asking the som to bring me something "without cloud, fizz or funk".    And they come up with some really nice stuff.   


Edited by Margaret Pilgrim (log)
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13 hours ago, rotuts said:

Id never take an  ' old ' wine anywhere.

 

stirs up the sediment.

 

and the oldest wines Ive had were 22 y.o. zinfandels I aged myself

 

kept them at home and drank them at home.

 

 

 

Many old wines don't actually have that much sediment, especially whites, red burgundy or sweet wines - I tried an 1897 Rivesaltes at a wine show and there was almost none.  In any case, if the restaurant does corkage, you can often drop off the bottle a few days before, so it can settle down if you need to.

 

Sometimes, it's good to let someone else take care of the cooking if you're bringing out a special wine ;)

 

13 hours ago, weinoo said:

Had Jay called Frenchette to inquire about their corkage policy (i.e. they don't allow it), he could've saved himself the aggravation.

 

This really should go without saying, but thank you for doing so.  It's incredibly rude to just rock up to a restaurant with your own bottles and expect them to accommodate you - the wine list is where a lot of their revenue comes from.  And even if they do have a corkage policy, you should still order at least one bottle from their list.
 

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Corkage in many high-end restaurants here in NYC is, if they allow it, $100/bottle.

 

People are aghast at that, but as you mention, @jmacnaughtan, the wine list is where they are making some profit, which they are barely making on food.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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There is a very good article by Alice Feiring on natural wine in the most recent edition of World of Fine Wine magazine.

 

Alice was one of the earliest proponents of natural wine and has written extensively on the area.

 

The gist of the article is that early proponents of natural wine were wanting to work in a different way than conventional, chemical-driven, winemaking. They used their extensive skill set to  produce wonderful wines that fully expressed a sense of place. As the area has become more popular, it has become a bandwagon that has been joined by less skilled makers. As a result, faults that had been abolished with such minimal interventions as the addition of some sulphur have re-emerged.

 

As so many wines are demonstrating these faults, they are being seen by some as a positive characteristic of natural wine. She quotes Tony Coturri, a Sonoma natural winemaker, as saying that there is a "fetishisation of faults" in much of people's interactions with natural wines.

 

Call me old-fashioned but I prefer wines that are not faulty. Excellent natural winemakers can create these. Others are less capable and unfortunately their faulty wines often end up on the wine list of restaurants like the one in the article.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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