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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Back To The Garden

Organic and natural wines

Okay - the Natural Wine movement is credited to French winemaker Jules Chauvet. His thinking is that there must be as little human intervention as possible in growing and making wine. That is - organic and/or biodynamic viticulture. No insecticides, no artificial fertilizers and no herbicides. Grapes must be hand harvested, and only ‘indigenous’ or naturally occurring vineyard yeasts are permitted to ferment the pressed juice (as opposed to more reliable commercial yeasts). Then there is the vexed issue of whether or not to add SO2 to stabilise and get rid of any remaining yeasts or bacteria in the wine. Within the natural wine movement there is wide discussion and disagreement. Some regard SO2 as forbidden territory, others say it is vital to give the wine longevity and preserve purity of flavour. Finally when the wine is bottled, there is generally no filtering or fining, so your wine may end up slightly cloudy or with some crust of sediment.
Prepare to be challenged. You are not in Kansas now Dorothy.

Quartz Reef Brut Central Otago (Non-Vintage) $NZD 31.00  Glengarry
Demeter Biodynamic Certified. Contains minimal SO2.
Yeasty bread aromas, fine persistent bubbles and flavours of stone fruit, with a dry crisp, clean finish.  The winery adheres to the Rudolph Steiner principles of vineyard management that include planting according to a lunar calendar.

Loveblock Marlborough Gewürztraminer $NZD 22.00  Glengarry
Biogro organic certified. Contains minimal SO2.
A subtle and graceful just off-dry style, from Kim and Erica Crawford’s largely organic label. Grown in the lower Awatere Valley, it has aromas of lychee fruit and mandarin. In the mouth, it has a musky palate of guava, lychee, rosewater and mandarin. A lengthy finish with a hint of sweetness.

Greenhough Nelson ‘Winegum’ Gewürztraminer / Pinot Gris $NZD 32.99 Glengarry Grey Lynn
Greenhough have been growing vines organically for over 25 years. Orange coloured in the glass. Smells a bit like sherry, and macerated stone fruit. With flavours of apricot, Turkish delight and lychee, it has an astringent and dry finish

Tincan Nelson Sassy Sauvignon $NZD 31.00  ( )
Slightly orange and cloudy in the glass, it has aromas of yeast, almond and wine gums. It tastes nothing like a conventional sav, but is quite intriguing. Some astringency from skin contact, but with aged wine sherry flavours and hint of peach and tinned apricot. No additives at all: no sulphur, no animal products, no filtration. At 11% alcohol, it is quite refreshing and unusual.

Tincan Nelson Persuasive Pét Nat  $NZD 33.00  ( )
This is Tincan’s take on a natural sparkling wine style. Barrel fermented, skin fermented and carbonic fermented. Predominantly sauvignon blanc with a small amount of riesling juice added for the secondary ferment. To me, it tastes more like a Belgian wheat beer. Fruity and yeasty with a clean finish. Hints of apricot and peach. Again, no additives at all. 10.5% alcohol.

In summary – the Quartz Reef and the Loveblock are more conventional. Filtered and very approachable as most commercial wines. The other three are definitely outside the square, yet interesting and complex, but will probably appeal to a niche market. It’s all about your personal palate.

Phil runs wine tours in Auckland New Zealand