James Molesworth on Natural wine

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John J
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James Molesworth on Natural wine

#1 Post by John J » July 8th, 2019, 1:30 pm

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#2 Post by ybarselah » July 8th, 2019, 1:50 pm

he's not wrong! should be a good thread.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#3 Post by Jon Troutman » July 8th, 2019, 2:51 pm

I like James stance, and it echos a lot of my thoughts on the topic... he just said it much more eloquently than I ever could.

I also think it's telling about the state of media, that this mini-write up was shared via Instagram. Gut says it wouldn't have generated nearly the readership or engagement if shared on .com
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#4 Post by GregT » July 8th, 2019, 3:18 pm

I never look at Instagram and have no account, but I suppose I'm in the minority here.

No problem with what he was saying, but seems like he's stirring a pot that was set out back a few years ago after all the soup was gone. Is there some current issue regarding "natural" wine?

One thing though -

“I don't have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”⁠⠀

I completely agree with that. But that doesn't seem to be the case any more. It's why I don't go on the politics forum.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#5 Post by Hank Victor » July 8th, 2019, 3:45 pm

I feel his sentiment has been shared a billion times in the past few years.

- There are "not natural" wine producers that are great and make well crafted wines from healthy plant material.

- There are some "natural" wines that are flawed and unfit for consumption which are just as bad as over-manipulated wines

- Some great "natural" wines are well made and thought provoking

Both sides have great wines that are championed by critics/itb who don't agree with each other.

/yawn
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#6 Post by Levi Dalton » July 8th, 2019, 3:51 pm

That's a nice sentiment about respecting other people. I guess then that he would never use an anonymous twitter account to ridicule and attack other people in the wine community.

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#7 Post by Joshua Kates » July 8th, 2019, 5:35 pm

Levi Dalton wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 3:51 pm
That's a nice sentiment about respecting other people. I guess then that he would never use an anonymous twitter account to ridicule and attack other people in the wine community.
Is this apophasis? Are you suggesting, then, he would and did? (Not on Twitter or Instagram either, don't follow this stuff unless it ends up here, though I know, of course, of your podcast, which I often enjoy.)

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#8 Post by John Morris » July 8th, 2019, 10:01 pm

I'm confused -- does work for Flatiron and the Spectator?
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#9 Post by ybarselah » July 9th, 2019, 6:15 am

John Morris wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 10:01 pm
I'm confused -- does work for Flatiron and the Spectator?
yep - senior editor at WS covering half dozen regions and in his spare time, stocks shelves at flatiron.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#10 Post by ybarselah » July 9th, 2019, 6:16 am

Levi Dalton wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 3:51 pm
That's a nice sentiment about respecting other people. I guess then that he would never use an anonymous twitter account to ridicule and attack other people in the wine community.
i take back 87% of what i said about ITB on this board --- xoxo, Levi.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#11 Post by Scott G r u n e r » July 9th, 2019, 6:58 am

Was at a restaurant recently that focuses on “natural” wines and discussing why and what they look for and why. Boiled down to balance, interesting complexity, freshness, pairing well with food, etc. My comment was that they were really looking for good wine, not necessarily natural wine.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#12 Post by Jason T » July 9th, 2019, 7:21 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 6:58 am
Was at a restaurant recently that focuses on “natural” wines and discussing why and what they look for and why. Boiled down to balance, interesting complexity, freshness, pairing well with food, etc. My comment was that they were really looking for good wine, not necessarily natural wine.
As someone who consumes mostly 'traditional' wines but has increasingly consumed more 'natural' wines I think your comment makes perfect sense.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#13 Post by Keith Levenberg » July 9th, 2019, 7:29 am

woah, thermonuclear hot take that I haven't seen since literally every other gripe about natural wine for the last decade and a half.

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#14 Post by Steve Anderson » July 9th, 2019, 11:12 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 6:58 am
Was at a restaurant recently that focuses on “natural” wines and discussing why and what they look for and why. Boiled down to balance, interesting complexity, freshness, pairing well with food, etc. My comment was that they were really looking for good wine, not necessarily natural wine.
+1 Good wine is good wine, and vice versa.

What I found dogmatic in James' IG post was "Natural wine presupposes that its way is better than any other way of winemaking." In talking to a number of producers at several Natural Wine events the past two years, the common theme was "this is how I want to make wine" rather than "this is the best way" or "this is the only way". I've also spoken with several who do not promote their wines as Natural, although they participate in the events as well as those not specifically billed as Natural. My guess is that they are afraid of being pigeon-holed or tainted by broad comments such as "Many natural wines are also riddled with technical flaws." James specifically mentions brettanomyces. In my personal experience, I have had significantly more "normal" French wine impacted by brett than natural wine of any country.

In the end, I prefer to taste with an open mind and buy what I like without worrying about the dogma on either side.

Cheers!

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#15 Post by Hank Victor » July 9th, 2019, 11:31 am

Levi Dalton wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 3:51 pm
That's a nice sentiment about respecting other people. I guess then that he would never use an anonymous twitter account to ridicule and attack other people in the wine community.
Give us the details Levi
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#16 Post by larry schaffer » July 9th, 2019, 12:25 pm

Dogma is certainly a dangerous thing when it comes to most things in life, including wine. As many have pointed out, there are plenty of folks making 'natural wine', however you may want to define it, in a great, fresh way. And as many others have pointed out, there are plenty of faulty wines out there - both wines that are defined as natural and conventional.

I agree with Steve about JM's 'dogmatic' stance, but I think it's probably a reaction to what he sees and hears on a daily basis - and I think that gets reinforced if you read the comments on the actual IG thread.

And though the concepts that JM discusses are certainly 'not new', the 'natural wine movement' continues to pick up steam and is more 'noticeable' now than ever before in the wine press, with regards to new places opening up focusing on them, etc.

Really curious to see where the thread goes . . .

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#17 Post by Gareth H » July 9th, 2019, 4:52 pm

Hank Victor wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 3:45 pm
I feel his sentiment has been shared a billion times in the past few years.

- There are "not natural" wine producers that are great and make well crafted wines from healthy plant material.

- There are some "natural" wines that are flawed and unfit for consumption which are just as bad as over-manipulated wines

- Some great "natural" wines are well made and thought provoking

Both sides have great wines that are championed by critics/itb who don't agree with each other.

/yawn
Those 3 points should be all anyone needs to know when entering a discussion about Natural wine.
Because sooner or later, it devolves into a false dichotomy where it's implied that there are only 2 ways to make wine; either by poisoning the earth with chemicals and adding buckets of acid and sulfur to ferments to make bulk wine, or by carefully farming on small scales and making artisanal wines with nothing added.

It really is an education thing. I think that the main perpetrators of this false dichotomy are the people in the hospitality arm of the industry, those in the business of selling the end product... who are about as distant from the production process as one can possibly be. It's their responsibility to pass on accurate information to the end consumer. Yet they have to do it in the briefest of moments, while maintaining the utmost professionalism, so of course there's a need to simplify and make broad sweeping generalisations. But this is a discussion which needs nuance.

Now, I do have to say something potentially controversial here:

Those in the business of selling wine would do well to educate themselves on the chemical properties of wine, and sensory science. Wine faults are called faults for a reason, and wines that exhibit those faults are defective by definition.
People are welcome to enjoy defective wine, and many do without realising (and many pay a privilege for that), but in a discussion about natural-ness in wine we need to have some consistency and honesty.
Because we have a weird double standard emerging here, where those in the natural camp have made a clear stand against heavy-handed oak usage, excessive whole-bunch, sulfur, acid etc... claiming that these wine additives promote homogeneity across wine styles, and obscure terroir/vintage characteristics.
What they may not realise is that the chemical properties of brettanomyces or DMS or H2S reduction are universal and similarly obscure fruit character in the same way. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people blow off a little brett as being just a bit of "terroir".
I'm sorry but that's just plain wrong. A Syrah from France exhibiting strong 4-EP aromas will look the same as a Syrah from Chile with the same concentration of 4-EP, will have the same overwhelming manure aroma, will have the same fruit-stripping effect on the palate, and the same dryness on the palate (from the brett yeasts eating all the 5-carbon sugars that Saccharomyces can't). This is why brett is deemed a "spoilage" yeast. It obscures fruit character, terroir character, etc...
All I'm saying is that you can't have it both ways. A little knowledge about the chemistry of wine goes a long way to dispelling some of these harmful myths. But wine faults are pretty much glossed over in every WSET course / sommelier training I've been a part of.

Until that changes, we're always going to have a bit of push and pull with this conversation popping up on the internet or around tables for years to come. Because those with the greatest responsibility for education in these matters are not addressing something I see as pretty fundamental to the conversation: wine chemistry.


All that said, I have had some excellent wines that fall under the "Natural" banner, so I remain cautiously curious about natural wines. No point being dogmatic about it.

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#18 Post by larry schaffer » July 9th, 2019, 7:44 pm

Gareth,

Some great points there indeed. And I totally agree about 'faults'. One of the biggest challenges with many of these wines, though, is how 'fragile' they may be - and therefore, bottle variation can be huge. When I am knocking on doors and I see reps pushing some 'natural wines', they always pour them chilled . . .

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#19 Post by Bruce G » July 9th, 2019, 8:13 pm

Gareth H wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 4:52 pm
Wine faults are called faults for a reason, and wines that exhibit those faults are defective by definition.
Gareth,

Re: your statement above..... I think it would be better re-phrased as something like "Wine faults are called faults for a reason, and wines that exhibit those faults to excess are defective by definition."
Many vignerons in Burgundy like to encourage a small amount of reduction in their wines. The same with folks in Jura vis-a-vis oxidative characters (even in wines that aren't raised sous-voile). Many Italian wine growers working in a traditional idiom like to see a small amount of VA in their finished wines for the 'lift'. And the late, great Dr. Vernon Singleton of UCD's VitEnol program taught his classes that ANY character (besides corkiness/environmental taints?) could play a beneficial role in a wine by contributing to complexity as long as it was in balance with the other components in a wine.

Further, it's important to acknowledge that the defintion of "wine faults" carries with it an air of arbitrariness.
The current laundry list of characters we call wine faults is by and large the result of cultural and historical happenstance.
One of the many things I enjoy about 'natural wines' is that their production and enjoyment may induce some folks to ponder (sometimes directly, more often coincidentally) the idea of quality and attendant issues.


Regards,


PS: Oh, and Brett..... it is probably possible to call it a terroir effect with some scientific support. Doing so doesn't make it something that can't be overdone in a wine, or even something desirable at all.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#20 Post by Vincent Fritzsche » July 9th, 2019, 8:32 pm

Serious question - do people think natural wine isn't much about age worthy, complex, “serious” wine?

It seems like people either dismiss natural wine, or stick up for it but essentially say it’s mostly about being fresh and charming, not really wine for complexity or too much serious consideration.

I think there’s more to it.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#21 Post by Gareth H » July 9th, 2019, 9:09 pm

Bruce G wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 8:13 pm
Gareth H wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 4:52 pm
Wine faults are called faults for a reason, and wines that exhibit those faults are defective by definition.
Gareth,

Re: your statement above..... I think it would be better re-phrased as something like "Wine faults are called faults for a reason, and wines that exhibit those faults to excess are defective by definition."
Many vignerons in Burgundy like to encourage a small amount of reduction in their wines. The same with folks in Jura vis-a-vis oxidative characters (even in wines that aren't raised sous-voile). Many Italian wine growers working in a traditional idiom like to see a small amount of VA in their finished wines for the 'lift'. And the late, great Dr. Vernon Singleton of UCD's VitEnol program taught his classes that ANY character (besides corkiness/environmental taints?) could play a beneficial role in a wine by contributing to complexity as long as it was in balance with the other components in a wine.

Further, it's important to acknowledge that the defintion of "wine faults" carries with it an air of arbitrariness.
The current laundry list of characters we call wine faults is by and large the result of cultural and historical happenstance.
One of the many things I enjoy about 'natural wines' is that their production and enjoyment may induce some folks to ponder (sometimes directly, more often coincidentally) the idea of quality and attendant issues.


Regards,


PS: Oh, and Brett..... it is probably possible to call it a terroir effect with some scientific support. Doing so doesn't make it something that can't be overdone in a wine, or even something desirable at all.
Fair points Bruce,
I agree that some faults that don't strip fruit character can "contribute to complexity" as you say if it's in balance with the wine. My point there is to draw attention to the double standard put forward by natural wine fans/drinkers/shows who for some reason have no problem with spoilage organisms but will draw the line at oak usage, whole bunch usage, sulfur usage, acid additions, etc... which also contribute to complexity when in balance with the other components of a wine, but in excess, also can obscure fruit/terroir characteristics.
What it has come down to, why that line is where it is, is because of an ingrained fear/distrust of manipulation in wine. Which I think is misinformed (and also not prevalent to this degree in other fermented foods and beverages for some reason). Winemaking by definition is intervention. Even choosing not to make a decision about a wine is still making a decision which will impact the wine in some way.

I can't agree that the definition of wine faults are in any way arbitrary.
This might get into a whole other discussion about what is deemed desirable and undesirable in wine, which is subjective. But I have to ask the question here, how many winemakers are intentionally inoculating their wines with acetic acid bacteria? Or brett? Or VA?
VA in Italian Nebbiolo is a direct result of extended skin maceration, which is often necessary to soften the tannins. It is still a wine fault and that's why there's a legal limit to it.
Brett is a result of poor sanitation practices / not inoculating and mismanaging your sulfur regime.

If the shared goal of winemakers is to make delicious wines that to the most practical degree, reflect the place they are grown and show regional and varietal characters, then organisms which interrupt or subvert the conversion of glucose and fructose to ethanol and CO2 can absolutely be called faults, or at least charitably "happy accidents" to those who like the smell of fresh cow shit in their wines.
We have the tools and technology to understand more about the microbiological world than Pasteur could ever have dreamed of. I think it's a bit rich in this day and age to neglect to do something to your wine and carry on as if it's somehow more romantic or more reflective of place because it contains a spoilage organism.

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#22 Post by William Gladstone » July 9th, 2019, 9:39 pm

really good discussion - and I hope I am not straying off topic - rather adding to - I think of this "natural wine' within the context of the Bio-Dynamic Vignerons we met in Burgundy who explained to me how they work - with the cycles of nature and natural law. And how when I heard about that process - how it immediately struck me as absolutely a path to producing finer wines.
I think I can actually taste the outcome of those steps.
I will avoid mentioning winery names - (that has met with negative feedback in the past that I am promoting wineries we represent) however, the differences are so clear to me in the end result.
If I am remembering correctly, when the Tesseron family switched to Bio-Dynamic farming for the production of the Pontet Canet - the affect was immediate. A 5th growth estate - producing wines that score about the same as the 1st Growths. And are available much less $.
I had to wonder why the Domain's in Burgundy who had been utilizing Bio-Dynamic - are far superior in quality and why do so many other Domain's not immediately change?

I've listened to some amazing tales that you'd think come out of the Farmers Almanac, regarding the timing of when to make any intervention or next step in the entire cycle from Vineyard to the barrel and then to bottle.
Tis' something that strikes me so beautiful about nature - tasting nature-

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#23 Post by Otto Forsberg » July 10th, 2019, 1:58 am

William Gladstone wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 9:39 pm
really good discussion - and I hope I am not straying off topic - rather adding to - I think of this "natural wine' within the context of the Bio-Dynamic Vignerons we met in Burgundy who explained to me how they work - with the cycles of nature and natural law. And how when I heard about that process - how it immediately struck me as absolutely a path to producing finer wines.
I think I can actually taste the outcome of those steps.
I will avoid mentioning winery names - (that has met with negative feedback in the past that I am promoting wineries we represent) however, the differences are so clear to me in the end result.
If I am remembering correctly, when the Tesseron family switched to Bio-Dynamic farming for the production of the Pontet Canet - the affect was immediate. A 5th growth estate - producing wines that score about the same as the 1st Growths. And are available much less $.
I had to wonder why the Domain's in Burgundy who had been utilizing Bio-Dynamic - are far superior in quality and why do so many other Domain's not immediately change?

I've listened to some amazing tales that you'd think come out of the Farmers Almanac, regarding the timing of when to make any intervention or next step in the entire cycle from Vineyard to the barrel and then to bottle.
Tis' something that strikes me so beautiful about nature - tasting nature-
I think you are confusing things here as biodynamic and natural wines are two completely different things. You can have a biodynamic wine that is in no way considered a natural wine and you can have a natural wine that has seen no biodynamic processes whatsoever.

Of course you also have a lot of biodynamic producers making natural wines, but this doesn't mean that these two things mean the same.

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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#24 Post by Jason T » July 10th, 2019, 2:13 am

Vincent Fritzsche wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 8:32 pm
Serious question - do people think natural wine isn't much about age worthy, complex, “serious” wine?

It seems like people either dismiss natural wine, or stick up for it but essentially say it’s mostly about being fresh and charming, not really wine for complexity or too much serious consideration.

I think there’s more to it.
Vincent, I can't comment on 'age worthy', as I haven't had many aged examples. Absolutely though I do think that 'natural' wines can be complex and serious.

In fact I think one common feature of the natural wines I've tried thus far is that they typically offer greater complexity over a more 'traditional' wine from the same year.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#25 Post by Hank Victor » July 10th, 2019, 9:39 am

I think you are confusing things here as biodynamic and natural wines are two completely different things. You can have a biodynamic wine that is in no way considered a natural wine and you can have a natural wine that has seen no biodynamic processes whatsoever.

Of course you also have a lot of biodynamic producers making natural wines, but this doesn't mean that these two things mean the same.
[/quote]

That is one of the biggest issues with "natural" wine. There is no concrete definition.

-----------

Gareth,

I agree that wine chemistry should be more prevalent in wine education courses. The only time I really encountered wine chemistry during a course was during the WSET Diploma's Unit 2 viticulture and vinification module where David Bird's Understanding Wine Technology was required reading. I believe that this should be emphasized and featured in lower level courses.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#26 Post by ybarselah » July 10th, 2019, 1:51 pm

there isn't even a vague definition. it's better (i.e., more useful) thought of as an aesthetic.
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#27 Post by Bruce G » July 11th, 2019, 12:11 am

Gareth H wrote:
July 9th, 2019, 9:09 pm

Fair points Bruce,
I agree that some faults that don't strip fruit character can "contribute to complexity" as you say if it's in balance with the wine....
Gareth,

Thanks for the reply.

Much to consider in your response.
Here a few brief comments about some of the points you've made...
My point there is to draw attention to the double standard put forward by natural wine fans/drinkers/shows who for some reason have no problem with spoilage organisms but will draw the line at oak usage, whole bunch usage, sulfur usage, acid additions, etc... which also contribute to complexity when in balance with the other components of a wine, but in excess, also can obscure fruit/terroir characteristics.
If you consider the objections of the naturalistas to be philosophical then there is no double standard involved.... flavors/aromas/structural elements arising from additions are not good, while those resulting from natural processes are not 'not good'.
I understand your larger point, and agree.... wines that taste "too natural"--excessively oxidized, overly volatile, too high in whole cluster character--seem to me to be as manipulated and devoid of terroir as overly manipulated wines.


What it has come down to, why that line is where it is, is because of an ingrained fear/distrust of manipulation in wine. Which I think is misinformed (and also not prevalent to this degree in other fermented foods and beverages for some reason).
Unwarranted fear/distrust is not good.
A healthy skepticism is, on the other hand, completely appropriate. Anyone who hasn't noticed that we as a species have turned in an inconsistent performance when it comes to harnessing science and technology to support our various activities is simply not paying attention.
And, FWIW, a mistrust of manipulation in the production of food and beverage pre-dates the Bible. The German Beer Purity laws are over 500 years old and still going...


I can't agree that the definition of wine faults are in any way arbitrary.
This might get into a whole other discussion about what is deemed desirable and undesirable in wine, which is subjective. But I have to ask the question here, how many winemakers are intentionally inoculating their wines with acetic acid bacteria? Or brett? Or VA
Some have.
It's not too common (and completely unnecessary if you want VA, given the ease with which wines go volatile under certain conditions).
But the lack of these practices doesn't argue against the idea that the designation of a character as a fault is in many ways arbitrary.


If the shared goal of winemakers is to make delicious wines that to the most practical degree, reflect the place they are grown and show regional and varietal characters, then organisms which interrupt or subvert the conversion of glucose and fructose to ethanol and CO2 can absolutely be called faults, or at least charitably "happy accidents" to those who like the smell of fresh cow shit in their wines.
You have every right to call them faults, but the issue is more complicated than that which you portray here.


We have the tools and technology to understand more about the microbiological world than Pasteur could ever have dreamed of. I think it's a bit rich in this day and age to neglect to do something to your wine and carry on as if it's somehow more romantic or more reflective of place because it contains a spoilage organism.
You've definitely put your thumb on the scale here with this last bit of editorializing.
Hopefully you understand there is far more to minimal intervention winegrowing than just neglecting to do things.
Re: romanticism.... you don't find it in this matter. Fair enough. I must confess to finding the pursuit of quality wine through a minimalist approach pretty romantic. True, sometimes that romanticism seems more in a tragicomic Don Quixote vein. But still...
In the end I don't see that the point matters too much. You acknowledge that the presence of "faults" in wine don't ncessarily mean the wine is bad. You agree that these "faults" can actually make for better wine.
That seems like enough common ground for me.

Cheers,
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#28 Post by Gareth H » July 11th, 2019, 3:19 am

Bruce,
Great to have this discussion on good faith terms, you're right there's lots of common ground and good points raised.
Bruce G wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 12:11 am
You've definitely put your thumb on the scale here with this last bit of editorializing.
Yeah that was a little emotional of me.
Bruce G wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 12:11 am
Hopefully you understand there is far more to minimal intervention winegrowing than just neglecting to do things.
Of course. I was making a generalisation, but my point remains that these wine faults are most commonly caused by points of failure in winemaking best practice, be it sanitation or otherwise. Not saying that all natural wine is faulty, not saying that making minimal intervention wine is simply neglecting to do things.
Bruce G wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 12:11 am
You acknowledge that the presence of "faults" in wine don't ncessarily mean the wine is bad. You agree that these "faults" can actually make for better wine.
The former (within reason), not the latter.

I have to come back to my original point on the chemical properties of wine. Wines exhibiting these characters I call "faults" to excess, do so to the detriment of the expression of fruit and place in the wine. I don't detect any disagreement there.
What I'm saying is that (hypothetical scenario) natural wine A from France and natural wine B from Chile with the same concentration of 4-EP will have very, very similar sensory properties. Which is no coincidence given the chemical effects of brett that I previously mentioned.
The Natural Wine movement is huge on this idea of minimal intervention, in order to create the most transparent expression of place and variety possible (which is to be applauded).
Given that the most common cause of 4-EP brettanomyces spoilage is poor sanitation practices, the producers of natural wine A and B would do well to question the absolutism of their minimal intervention approach, if they actually want to communicate something about place and variety coherently.

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David Glasser
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#29 Post by David Glasser » July 11th, 2019, 11:25 am

For some of us, a little shit is better than none, but too much is bad.
Like lawn fertilizer vs. dog poop (a point lost on Anton's avatar's dog).

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Roy Piper
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#30 Post by Roy Piper » July 11th, 2019, 5:24 pm

Unless one is making wine off grapes grown from wild vines, in the wild... it ain't natural wine. If you have any temperature control during fermentation, it ain't natural wine. Sulfer add? Not natural wine. Used a pump for pumpovers? Not natural wine. Use egg whites to fine? Not natural wine.

Once this is realized, it then more rationally comes down to, in my opinion.... "What is the proper level of intervention?" "How can one best make wine that reflects something beyond just the winemaker's whims?" And let's not forget... "What can I make that people actually will spend money on rather than me battling windmills and then go out of business?"
ITB, text me anytime at 707-266-4168

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larry schaffer
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#31 Post by larry schaffer » July 11th, 2019, 5:50 pm

Roy Piper wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 5:24 pm
Unless one is making wine off grapes grown from wild vines, in the wild... it ain't natural wine. If you have any temperature control during fermentation, it ain't natural wine. Sulfer add? Not natural wine. Used a pump for pumpovers? Not natural wine. Use egg whites to fine? Not natural wine.

Once this is realized, it then more rationally comes down to, in my opinion.... "What is the proper level of intervention?" "How can one best make wine that reflects something beyond just the winemaker's whims?" And let's not forget... "What can I make that people actually will spend money on rather than me battling windmills and then go out of business?"
Well stated as usual, my friend.

Cheers.
larry schaffer
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Re: James Molesworth on Natural wine

#32 Post by Bruce G » July 11th, 2019, 8:25 pm

Gareth H wrote:
July 11th, 2019, 3:19 am
The former (within reason), not the latter.

I have to come back to my original point on the chemical properties of wine. Wines exhibiting these characters I call "faults" to excess, do so to the detriment of the expression of fruit and place in the wine. I don't detect any disagreement there.
What I'm saying is that (hypothetical scenario) natural wine A from France and natural wine B from Chile with the same concentration of 4-EP will have very, very similar sensory properties. Which is no coincidence given the chemical effects of brett that I previously mentioned.
The Natural Wine movement is huge on this idea of minimal intervention, in order to create the most transparent expression of place and variety possible (which is to be applauded).
Given that the most common cause of 4-EP brettanomyces spoilage is poor sanitation practices, the producers of natural wine A and B would do well to question the absolutism of their minimal intervention approach, if they actually want to communicate something about place and variety coherently.

Gareth,

Thanks for the follow-up reply.
Again, I think we're in agreement on most everything.
But, to clarify.... in your example of wines A and B, the sensory properties would be very, very similar only if the brettiness in the two wines was of sufficiently high intensity.
There's no doubt that exessively flawed natural wines lose their terroir or see it buried under an avalanche of unpleasant aromas and/or flavors. I'm talking about instances where these "flaws" are far less pronounced, even as low as just above detection threshold.

Which is the way natural wine has been headed.
Even from within there is considerable push-back against bottling and selling something overly dirty.
Bruce Gutlove
Hokkaido, Japan

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