Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

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William Kelley
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#51 Post by William Kelley » July 31st, 2020, 10:35 am

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:28 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 11:36 am
This is all thinking aloud, but my aspiration is to come up with some formulation that is on the one hand pragmatically open to refinement and evolution, but which is also very cautious about outright revolutions in practice that represent a departure from approaches known to produce very high quality wines. People have been doing this for thousands of years, at a very high level (try a perfectly preserved 1919 red Burgundy and one wonders how much those guys had to learn!), and my contention is that we should be more interested in the results of their experiments over time than in trying to reinvent the wheel.
I can’t help but think that you are sort of missing the point of why many people like natural wine. When you talk about “approaches known to produce very high quality wines”, you are just talking about a fundamentally different system of evaluation. I think part of this goes to what some find so threatening about natural wines: It’s the idea that an accumulated body of knowledge about what makes wine good developed over many years of tasting might be fundamentally wrong.

A
Well, my point was not so much to persuade naturalistas that they should be drinking Coche; but rather to suggest that the wine world could be doing a better job of articulating compelling options beyond merely natural wine to new wine drinkers who are looking for "authentic" products (and let's reserve defining whatever authentic might mean for another occasion). It would be a pity, to my mind, if the natural wine movement were allowed to monopolize the concept of vinous authenticity.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#52 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » July 31st, 2020, 10:39 am

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:28 am

I can’t help but think that you are sort of missing the point of why many people like natural wine. When you talk about “approaches known to produce very high quality wines”, you are just talking about a fundamentally different system of evaluation. I think part of this goes to what some find so threatening about natural wines: It’s the idea that an accumulated body of knowledge about what makes wine good developed over many years of tasting might be fundamentally wrong.
And that takes it too far. It's not that the "accepted" (my quotes for a reason) knowledge might be fundamentally wrong. It's not. It's just that there are other approaches, and both camps, need to get over their biases against each other.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#53 Post by A.Gillette » July 31st, 2020, 10:55 am

William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:35 am
A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:28 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 11:36 am
This is all thinking aloud, but my aspiration is to come up with some formulation that is on the one hand pragmatically open to refinement and evolution, but which is also very cautious about outright revolutions in practice that represent a departure from approaches known to produce very high quality wines. People have been doing this for thousands of years, at a very high level (try a perfectly preserved 1919 red Burgundy and one wonders how much those guys had to learn!), and my contention is that we should be more interested in the results of their experiments over time than in trying to reinvent the wheel.
I can’t help but think that you are sort of missing the point of why many people like natural wine. When you talk about “approaches known to produce very high quality wines”, you are just talking about a fundamentally different system of evaluation. I think part of this goes to what some find so threatening about natural wines: It’s the idea that an accumulated body of knowledge about what makes wine good developed over many years of tasting might be fundamentally wrong.

A
Well, my point was not so much to persuade naturalistas that they should be drinking Coche; but rather to suggest that the wine world could be doing a better job of articulating compelling options beyond merely natural wine to new wine drinkers who are looking for "authentic" products (and let's reserve defining whatever authentic might mean for another occasion). It would be a pity, to my mind, if the natural wine movement were allowed to monopolize the concept of vinous authenticity.
While I’m sure that there are a few voices that evangelize natural wine as “authentic”, I think it would be unwise to make too much out of those few folks. For the most part, people can enjoy various styles of wine without denigrating others. And in general I’m not sure that most natural wine drinkers think of natural wine as more “authentic”. Most people can enjoy different styles of wine and laugh at examples within the styles that they like.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#54 Post by Sean S y d n e y » July 31st, 2020, 11:08 am

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:55 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:35 am
A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:28 am


I can’t help but think that you are sort of missing the point of why many people like natural wine. When you talk about “approaches known to produce very high quality wines”, you are just talking about a fundamentally different system of evaluation. I think part of this goes to what some find so threatening about natural wines: It’s the idea that an accumulated body of knowledge about what makes wine good developed over many years of tasting might be fundamentally wrong.

A
Well, my point was not so much to persuade naturalistas that they should be drinking Coche; but rather to suggest that the wine world could be doing a better job of articulating compelling options beyond merely natural wine to new wine drinkers who are looking for "authentic" products (and let's reserve defining whatever authentic might mean for another occasion). It would be a pity, to my mind, if the natural wine movement were allowed to monopolize the concept of vinous authenticity.
While I’m sure that there are a few voices that evangelize natural wine as “authentic”, I think it would be unwise to make too much out of those few folks. For the most part, people can enjoy various styles of wine without denigrating others. And in general I’m not sure that most natural wine drinkers think of natural wine as more “authentic”. Most people can enjoy different styles of wine and laugh at examples within the styles that they like.
I made this point elsewhere, but natural wine is, above all else, affordable. It's a way to get into wine, develop an aesthetic, and stake a claim in a world where the classic regions and standard bearers are becoming increasingly out of reach. Most naturalistas - and most other sane people - can't afford 1er crus, much less Coche; it's almost impossible to get a comprehensive wine education and develop an extensive palate nowadays on anything resembling a reasonable budget for most people.

It's no surprise it appeals to a generation that also values individualism and rejecting the need for gatekeepers.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#55 Post by William Kelley » July 31st, 2020, 11:19 am

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 7:55 am

With that said, doesn't your own sharp sense of the constant flow of changes in winemaking and their sometimes transformational impact lead you away from the idea of defining any fixed set of practices as a definition of artisanal winemaking? The difficulty is that it is really about the spirit in which winemaking is approached. Is Randy Dunn not an artisanal winemaker because he used reverse osmosis machines? Would you really want to exclude a winemaker you respected from an artisanal definition because they tried an unprecedented approach? The difficulty of defining a spirit or approach and actually have it be meaningful instead of vaporous generalizations is why these efforts and manifestos often break down.
Thanks for the kind words, and for this thoughtful riposte. I guess my priorities in talking about "artisanal wine" are simply to try on the one hand to make a case that intention and technique are not incompatible with "authenticity"; and on the other hand, to make a strong case for the just how powerful a filter two thousands years experience of making wine has been. I am not so much interested in making lists of producers to include and exclude, or writing rules—I am not, by nature, an ideologue or tractarian in these matters. In fact, what I am arguing for is not so much a "fixed set of practices" as a heuristic for establishing which practices it might be interesting to adopt and which it might be wise to be skeptical about.

I guess what I am trying to convey is not any kind of ideological opposition to change and progress per se, but rather, healthy skepticism about the claims of various technical innovations to genuinely represent progress. And I think that skepticism is justified by the way the viticultural and oenological "progress" of the 1960s, '70s, '80s and 90's has thus far turned out. It may seem to follow that I put the early 20th-century winemaking on an artificial and anachronous pedestal, but beyond thinking that, yes, the red Burgundies (to confine myself to my region) of vintages such as 1919, 1929, 1934 and 1937 are more interesting wines than what was produced in the 1970s and 1980s for example, this isn't really the case. Children do not as a rule end up drinking the same kinds of wines that their parents or grandparents did, and it has always been like that: for example, in the 18th and early 19th century, red Burgundy generally saw a very short maceration, sometimes less than a day; by 1900, up to a month was quite common. Using material and techniques that have been validated by long experience is quite compatible with immense stylistic diversity.

That said, to respond to your specific example: I do think Randy's aspiration to keep his wines below 14% abv could be better accomplished (and here I agree with Mike FWIW) but just picking a little earlier—or even by leaving the wines a year longer in his humid cellar, where they loose 1% abv give or take each year (thanks to a natural osmotic pressure gradient - no need to reinvent this particular wheel). The flippant answer, of course, would be that if 117 years from now—counting from the 1987 vintage when Léoville-Las Cases first used RO, for want of a better starting point—serious winemakers are still using RO and can look back at a long track record of it making wines better, then I will consider it an artisanal technique. [snort.gif]
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#56 Post by A.Gillette » July 31st, 2020, 11:23 am

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:08 am
A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:55 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:35 am


Well, my point was not so much to persuade naturalistas that they should be drinking Coche; but rather to suggest that the wine world could be doing a better job of articulating compelling options beyond merely natural wine to new wine drinkers who are looking for "authentic" products (and let's reserve defining whatever authentic might mean for another occasion). It would be a pity, to my mind, if the natural wine movement were allowed to monopolize the concept of vinous authenticity.
While I’m sure that there are a few voices that evangelize natural wine as “authentic”, I think it would be unwise to make too much out of those few folks. For the most part, people can enjoy various styles of wine without denigrating others. And in general I’m not sure that most natural wine drinkers think of natural wine as more “authentic”. Most people can enjoy different styles of wine and laugh at examples within the styles that they like.
I made this point elsewhere, but natural wine is, above all else, affordable. It's a way to get into wine, develop an aesthetic, and stake a claim in a world where the classic regions and standard bearers are becoming increasingly out of reach. Most naturalistas - and most other sane people - can't afford 1er crus, much less Coche; it's almost impossible to get a comprehensive wine education and develop an extensive palate nowadays on anything resembling a reasonable budget for most people.

It's no surprise it appeals to a generation that also values individualism and rejecting the need for gatekeepers.
I agree but you’re really making a point about the demand side. I’m not sure the people producing natural wine have gone that route because they feel like they are priced out of coche or that they don’t have the economic means to produce wines in a conventional style. I think they are making wines that speak to them and what they want to drink. That’s my sense.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#57 Post by William Kelley » July 31st, 2020, 11:26 am

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:55 am
While I’m sure that there are a few voices that evangelize natural wine as “authentic”, I think it would be unwise to make too much out of those few folks. For the most part, people can enjoy various styles of wine without denigrating others. And in general I’m not sure that most natural wine drinkers think of natural wine as more “authentic”. Most people can enjoy different styles of wine and laugh at examples within the styles that they like.
I don't know, there an awful lot of articles out there mentioning natural wine in connection with authenticity... one of which spawned this thread.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#58 Post by A.Gillette » July 31st, 2020, 11:56 am

William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:26 am
A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:55 am
While I’m sure that there are a few voices that evangelize natural wine as “authentic”, I think it would be unwise to make too much out of those few folks. For the most part, people can enjoy various styles of wine without denigrating others. And in general I’m not sure that most natural wine drinkers think of natural wine as more “authentic”. Most people can enjoy different styles of wine and laugh at examples within the styles that they like.
I don't know, there an awful lot of articles out there mentioning natural wine in connection with authenticity... one of which spawned this thread.
That’s right! There is a reference to authenticity in the article in Vogue - a fashion magazine - and that reference to “authenticity” appears in a quote by someone named Joshua Lachkovic, who is described as “of wine-tasting start-up The Wine List”. So it is a quote in an article in Vogue - a fashion magazine - by a guy at a wine tasting startup. And my point is that I’m not sure we should take this type of thing as gospel.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#59 Post by William Kelley » July 31st, 2020, 12:03 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:56 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:26 am
A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:55 am
While I’m sure that there are a few voices that evangelize natural wine as “authentic”, I think it would be unwise to make too much out of those few folks. For the most part, people can enjoy various styles of wine without denigrating others. And in general I’m not sure that most natural wine drinkers think of natural wine as more “authentic”. Most people can enjoy different styles of wine and laugh at examples within the styles that they like.
I don't know, there an awful lot of articles out there mentioning natural wine in connection with authenticity... one of which spawned this thread.
That’s right! There is a reference to authenticity in the article in Vogue - a fashion magazine - and that reference to “authenticity” appears in a quote by someone named Joshua Lachkovic, who is described as “of wine-tasting start-up The Wine List”. So it is a quote in an article in Vogue - a fashion magazine - by a guy at a wine tasting startup. And my point is that I’m not sure we should take this type of thing as gospel.
A
I certainly take your point, but if you search for "natural wine" and "authenticity" or "authentic" you'll find a lot more than the Vogue article.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#60 Post by Adam Frisch » July 31st, 2020, 12:12 pm

I think, if there's one thing the movement has done that's permeated into the more traditional crowd, is a newer acceptance that certain areas, or terroirs, can have value and qualities. I don't think this was the case just 10 years ago. Would people have tried either a Mission/Cab Pfeffer/whatever or even a Lodi wine as a discerning wine drinker then? Probably not. Or a Vin de France? I think we can thank that movement for this newfound curiosity, because that particular movement is not interested in place - they're interested in practices. And I think that's a healthy approach to the sustainability of wine and farming. We should focus less on place and more on practices.

A very direct result of that is more accessible wines. In Lodi, a small winemaker can buy Cabernet Sauvignon for $800/ton. 1.5hrs away, in Napa, the same Cab would cost a minimum of $6000/ton (and if you go to Beckstoffer and the likes, well over $10K/ton). That saving can be passed on to a modern consumer who's less about place. That's a win for all.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#61 Post by Sean S y d n e y » July 31st, 2020, 12:38 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:23 am

I agree but you’re really making a point about the demand side. I’m not sure the people producing natural wine have gone that route because they feel like they are priced out of coche or that they don’t have the economic means to produce wines in a conventional style. I think they are making wines that speak to them and what they want to drink. That’s my sense.
A
That’s definitely part of it, but these winemakers are also working with what they have, too. Either they can’t afford land or a winery and buy grapes and do their work in crush facilities, or they buy land in lesser/unknown regions and do their best to make the most interesting wine they can.

To me, it’s a no-brainer that a millennial on an average millennial income would choose the non traditional wine with a story from an intrepid winemaker who’s accessible and interesting rather than a bottle that costs $200 from a faceless, stuffy winery owned by some patrician-“vigneron“ who inherited his acreage from his 19th-century French robber baron great-great-great-great grandfather.

(I usually opt for the latter. champagne.gif )
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#62 Post by Greg K » July 31st, 2020, 1:20 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 12:12 pm
I think, if there's one thing the movement has done that's permeated into the more traditional crowd, is a newer acceptance that certain areas, or terroirs, can have value and qualities. I don't think this was the case just 10 years ago. Would people have tried either a Mission/Cab Pfeffer/whatever or even a Lodi wine as a discerning wine drinker then? Probably not. I think we can thank that movement for this newfound curiosity, because that particular movement is not interested in place - they're interested in practices. And I think that's a healthy approach to the sustainability of wine and farming. We should focus less on place and more on practices.

A very direct result of that is more accessible wines. In Lodi, a small winemaker can buy Cabernet Sauvignon for $800/ton. 1.5hrs away, in Napa, the same Cab would cost a minimum of $6000/ton (and if you go to Beckstoffer and the likes, well over $10K/ton). That saving can be passed on to a modern consumer who's less about place. That's a win for all.
I actually think that's backwards; it's more about the style than the place. Ooka (La Grande Colline) is very much seen as a "natural" winemaker, is imported by Zev Rovine, yet he make a Cornas and a St. Joseph. Whereas Jamet and Cuilleron, both very traditional producers (i.e. not making wine all that differently), have both been leaders in growing grapes and making wines in the Collines Rhodaniens for some time, which is an attempt to revitalize a region that had stopped producing wine (it was only given AOC status in 2009). But no one thinks of Jamet or Cuilleron as natural wine producers, nor would they ever seek that kind of status.

Similarly, I've had natural wine made in Burgundy, and it tastes more like "natural wine" than it does Burgundy - it's much more about winemaking and farming than terroir. I think there is a correlation with less traditional terroir, because people making natural wine tend to be younger, and can't afford to buy in Clos de la Roche or Margaux. But that's not causation.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#63 Post by Greg K » July 31st, 2020, 1:26 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 9:14 am
This thread is definitely tending in the direction that most debates about natural wine tend to take, which is a sort of circular and more or less acrimonious focus on definitions. I think that's partly because, as Greg observes, natural wine is more of an "aesthetic" than anything else (I once described it as an aesthetic in search of a didactic), and thus inherently hard to pin down ("I know it when I see it" etc). It's also because people sometimes resent the appropriation of the word "natural", and its reduction to a question of sulfites, which does implicitly insinuate that other wines are "unnatural"—and yes, in a sense, inferior.

At the same time, the Vogue article gets it right when it attributes the popularity of natural wines to a pursuit of authenticity, whatever exactly that might mean. And here it's interesting to reflect that we have artisanal bread, artisanal cheese, craft beer etc—but all the wine movement has is "natural wine". Whereas with bread and cheese etc our conception of what an authentic product is makes plenty of space for craft and technique, in wine we have instead a movement that has come to be ideologically premised on the renunciation of technique (even though, in fact, its wines have come to be easily identifiable by two techniques: carbonic maceration and low sulfites).

I would love to see some sort of "artisanal wine" movement come into being, defined perhaps as wines made using techniques validated by a minimum of 150 years of experience. That would retain sulfites, inoculation, chaptalization within reason, and fining; but eliminate enzymes, centrifuges, filters, many oenological additives, and most obnoxious viticultural practices. Producers that would meet such a definition would include Foillard, Richard Leroy, Selosse, DRC, Thierry Allemand, etc etc; and the use of sulfites, instead of being definitional, would become just one aesthetic / technical choice. If the opposite of natural wine is some sort to of hypothetical "unnatural wine", the opposite of artisanal wine would be industrial wine—which seems to me much more coherent. Some producers in France are talking in this sense, such as the Union des Gens de Métier, but the notion hasn't really percolated into Anglophone wine discourse yet. Hopefully that will happen soon.
I really like the "in search of a didactic" line! I also think it's exactly right, and it's just not possible to pin down. Because it's not just about methods, it's also about the story. If tomorrow, Chapoutier started making mousy wine and called themselves a natural winemaker, would anyone actually treat them as one? I can't imagine so, because they'd be viewed as a giant faceless negociant. How could a producer like that make "natural" wine that's authentic? And yet, they've been at the forefront of biodynamics forever!
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#64 Post by Adam Frisch » July 31st, 2020, 1:29 pm

Greg, now we're getting into perception of what tastes like a natural wine. Does it mean flawed? Unpolished? Unfiltered?
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#65 Post by Greg K » July 31st, 2020, 1:35 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 1:29 pm
Greg, now we're getting into perception of what tastes like a natural wine. Does it mean flawed? Unpolished? Unfiltered?
Where in my posts are we getting into that? If you're referring to my "mousy" comment, that was both a somewhat flippant comment and a reference to the likelihood of wines with no sulfur (which is a common "natural" winemaking technique) having a mousy quality.

The point of my posts is that there is no consensus on what natural wine tastes like, because it's more of an aesthetic than a collective set of defined winemaking techniques.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#66 Post by A.Gillette » July 31st, 2020, 3:52 pm

Currently drinking Valentina Passalacqua’s calcarius Rosa. 11% alcohol, easy to drink and delicious. In my view, there is definitely a time and place for wines like this.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#67 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » July 31st, 2020, 4:55 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 3:52 pm
Currently drinking Valentina Passalacqua’s calcarius Rosa. 11% alcohol, easy to drink and delicious. In my view, there is definitely a time and place for wines like this.
A
Not many would argue with that.

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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#68 Post by m. ristev » July 31st, 2020, 5:13 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 3:52 pm
Currently drinking Valentina Passalacqua’s calcarius Rosa. 11% alcohol, easy to drink and delicious. In my view, there is definitely a time and place for wines like this.
A
haven't you heard? she has been cancelled, effective immediately. when the tribe votes you off the island, you are not making natural wine anymore...right???
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#69 Post by A.Gillette » July 31st, 2020, 5:14 pm

Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 4:55 pm
A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 3:52 pm
Currently drinking Valentina Passalacqua’s calcarius Rosa. 11% alcohol, easy to drink and delicious. In my view, there is definitely a time and place for wines like this.
A
Not many would argue with that.
Obviously you haven’t been paying enough attention to Vogue magazine’s wine column.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#70 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » August 1st, 2020, 11:47 am

William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:19 am
I guess what I am trying to convey is not any kind of ideological opposition to change and progress per se, but rather, healthy skepticism about the claims of various technical innovations to genuinely represent progress. And I think that skepticism is justified by the way the viticultural and oenological "progress" of the 1960s, '70s, '80s and 90's has thus far turned out. It may seem to follow that I put the early 20th-century winemaking on an artificial and anachronous pedestal, but beyond thinking that, yes, the red Burgundies (to confine myself to my region) of vintages such as 1919, 1929, 1934 and 1937 are more interesting wines than what was produced in the 1970s and 1980s for example, this isn't really the case. Children do not as a rule end up drinking the same kinds of wines that their parents or grandparents did, and it has always been like that: for example, in the 18th and early 19th century, red Burgundy generally saw a very short maceration, sometimes less than a day; by 1900, up to a month was quite common. Using material and techniques that have been validated by long experience is quite compatible with immense stylistic diversity.
I think a book built around the two perceptions in this paragraph, that 1) "children do not drink the same kinds of wines as their parents" -- wine is constantly changing and "progressing", and 2) what is billed as progress and technical innovation often has a high cost in side effects not appreciated at the time of their introduction, would be a fantastic contribution to the wine literature. If you fleshed it out with real historical detail it would be far richer than most wine books, and would encompass two opposing truths -- that "progress" is inevitable in wine, and that what is billed as progress is often not really progress. That would make it far more conceptually complex than most wine books, which generally fall in one of three rather boring categories -- a) encyclopedic collections of information with no underlying theme but great illustrations, b) starry-eyed tourist guides to the writer's favorite winemaker visits, or c) one note manifestos which are basically internet posts blown up to book length and recite one-sided arguments everyone already knows. (Sometimes the tourist guide and one note manifesto are combined into a single book to pad out the length).

I think critics have done a terrible job, almost amounting to malpractice, at helping wine hobbyists understand and be in dialogue with the constant flow of technical and stylistic change in winemaking and how it affects what is in the glass. The days when collectors really needed endless critical tasting notes to tell us "is this wine worth buying or not" are mostly over, except for occasionally breaking obscure producers. I want to understand what I am drinking and why it is the way it is. Over 20 years of collecting I have seen multiple dramatic stylistic changes in each region I follow, changes that are very obvious based on what is in the glass. I am sure these are connected to significant changes in winemaking practices and viticulture. Yet except at the vaguest and most general level ("extraction", "Parkerization") I have no real understanding of what exactly is driving those changes. Shouldn't it be the critics job to help me understand that?
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#71 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » August 1st, 2020, 11:54 am

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:28 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 11:36 am
This is all thinking aloud, but my aspiration is to come up with some formulation that is on the one hand pragmatically open to refinement and evolution, but which is also very cautious about outright revolutions in practice that represent a departure from approaches known to produce very high quality wines. People have been doing this for thousands of years, at a very high level (try a perfectly preserved 1919 red Burgundy and one wonders how much those guys had to learn!), and my contention is that we should be more interested in the results of their experiments over time than in trying to reinvent the wheel.
I can’t help but think that you are sort of missing the point of why many people like natural wine. When you talk about “approaches known to produce very high quality wines”, you are just talking about a fundamentally different system of evaluation. I think part of this goes to what some find so threatening about natural wines: It’s the idea that an accumulated body of knowledge about what makes wine good developed over many years of tasting might be fundamentally wrong.

A
This is a very interesting take. What you seem to be pointing to is an approach to wine where you don't judge wine by whether you actually like what you taste, but by whether it conforms to a set of "virtuous" practices in the making of wine. You train your palate to enjoy whatever is created according to those "virtuous"/"natural" practices.

It sounds a bit crazy put like that, but it makes a kind of sense -- industrial food production is fantastic at creating big obvious flavors that the human palate has evolved to enjoy. So if you want maximal distance from it, you abandon your palate as a standard and instead try to teach yourself to appreciate products made in the most non-industrial ways you can think of.

But the problem, as often repeated in these threads, is that one is so irreducibly a craft product that except at the extremes there is really no clear line dividing virtuous/natural from unnatural/bad practices in winemaking, it is a bit game-like and arbitrary.

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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#72 Post by Marc Hauser » August 1st, 2020, 12:01 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 12:12 pm
I think, if there's one thing the movement has done that's permeated into the more traditional crowd, is a newer acceptance that certain areas, or terroirs, can have value and qualities. I don't think this was the case just 10 years ago. Would people have tried either a Mission/Cab Pfeffer/whatever or even a Lodi wine as a discerning wine drinker then? Probably not. Or a Vin de France? I think we can thank that movement for this newfound curiosity, because that particular movement is not interested in place - they're interested in practices. And I think that's a healthy approach to the sustainability of wine and farming. We should focus less on place and more on practices.

A very direct result of that is more accessible wines. In Lodi, a small winemaker can buy Cabernet Sauvignon for $800/ton. 1.5hrs away, in Napa, the same Cab would cost a minimum of $6000/ton (and if you go to Beckstoffer and the likes, well over $10K/ton). That saving can be passed on to a modern consumer who's less about place. That's a win for all.
Is that Cab really the “same”? If so, that would seem to fly into the face of a lot of the assumptions and ideas thrown out on this board and beyond. Like terroir.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#73 Post by Greg K » August 1st, 2020, 12:39 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:55 am
William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 10:35 am
A.Gillette wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 9:28 am


I can’t help but think that you are sort of missing the point of why many people like natural wine. When you talk about “approaches known to produce very high quality wines”, you are just talking about a fundamentally different system of evaluation. I think part of this goes to what some find so threatening about natural wines: It’s the idea that an accumulated body of knowledge about what makes wine good developed over many years of tasting might be fundamentally wrong.

A
Well, my point was not so much to persuade naturalistas that they should be drinking Coche; but rather to suggest that the wine world could be doing a better job of articulating compelling options beyond merely natural wine to new wine drinkers who are looking for "authentic" products (and let's reserve defining whatever authentic might mean for another occasion). It would be a pity, to my mind, if the natural wine movement were allowed to monopolize the concept of vinous authenticity.
While I’m sure that there are a few voices that evangelize natural wine as “authentic”, I think it would be unwise to make too much out of those few folks. For the most part, people can enjoy various styles of wine without denigrating others. And in general I’m not sure that most natural wine drinkers think of natural wine as more “authentic”. Most people can enjoy different styles of wine and laugh at examples within the styles that they like.
I don't think this is correct. I have a number of friends who're very into natural wine (which causes endless amusing arguments over a years long running text thread) and authenticity is very much an issue. Yesterday, I met up for a drink with one of these friends and another younger couple who also really like natural wine. Thinking of this thread, I asked one of them why she liked natural wine. Her response was "it's all about the soil, the agriculture - it's about the winemaker using low intervention methods, allowing the grapes to express their terroir, not adding anything into the wine that detracts from the authentic* nature of the wine, allowing the grapes to grow in harmony with the soil and the environment, using natural yeasts, spontaneous fermentation, low sulfur - the entire package." The implication here is that most wine is not made this way. (Otherwise there would be no need for such a designation.)

I responded that by the above standard, the vast majority of the wines I drink are also "natural wines" too, with the easiest example being Fourrier. However, that argument never works (which I knew and expected) because the responses is that I drink "boring expensive Burgundy", which just isn't natural wine. Which to me, makes no sense from a logical perspective, but makes complete sense from an aesthetic perspective - if you want to feel like you're drinking wine made from producers who're rebelling against traditional stuffy old school manufactured wine which you're certain is created in traditional industrial ways, then natural wine makes sense, and by its definition that wine is closer to the soil, less adulterated, and, yes, more AUTHENTIC. And therefore expensive wines become industrial by default, because a lot of people assume they must be done in a nameless corporate way, but it's also a self-reinforcing loop, because younger people don't have the money to drink them, so they don't learn about them (and I can't blame them). Why bother learning what Roumier did with farming practices in Burgundy in the 80s, when you can't buy his wines anyway? (This was a bog standard natural wine discussion too - it proceeded along the lines it usually does.)

To put it another way, both Neal Rosenthal and Zev Rovine import wines across similar regions. Given their stylistic preferences, I expect quite a few of the producers they import farm and make wine very similarly. However, whereas Zev leans into the natural wine designation very hard, I strongly suspect Neal would run away from it as hard as possible. (I'm not making a judgment of the overall quality of the portfolios, mind.) If Fourrier were imported by Zev and Jean-Marie called himself a natural winemaker, Fourrier would be called a natural wine. Yet the wine wouldn't change.

All that said, one of the wines we had yesterday was Ganevat. Is Ganevat natural wine? Who cares? It was good. :) [cheers.gif]


*emphasis added
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#74 Post by A.Gillette » August 1st, 2020, 1:01 pm

^ just tell your friend that Alice Feiring is a big Fourrier fan (despite the occasional chapitalization I suppose - not aware of any other practice that Fourrier follows that would upset people who prefer natural wine), and if it’s natural enough for Alice it should be natural enough for anyone else.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#75 Post by Adam Frisch » August 1st, 2020, 1:20 pm

Marc Hauser wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 12:01 pm

Is that Cab really the “same”? If so, that would seem to fly into the face of a lot of the assumptions and ideas thrown out on this board and beyond. Like terroir.
No, I meant the same variety, not same in any other way. It's however up to producers and consumers alike to decide if it's 10x better...? [cheers.gif]
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#76 Post by Greg K » August 1st, 2020, 1:26 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:01 pm
^ just tell your friend that Alice Feiring is a big Fourrier fan (despite the occasional chapitalization I suppose - not aware of any other practice that Fourrier follows that would upset people who prefer natural wine), and if it’s natural enough for Alice it should be natural enough for anyone else.
But that's my point - it doesn't fall under the umbrella of "natural wine" for most people solely because it doesn't have the right signifiers. I know both Alice and Pascaline like Fourrier, but they're not what the conversation is about.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#77 Post by William Kelley » August 1st, 2020, 1:28 pm

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 11:47 am

I think a book built around the two perceptions in this paragraph, that 1) "children do not drink the same kinds of wines as their parents" -- wine is constantly changing and "progressing", and 2) what is billed as progress and technical innovation often has a high cost in side effects not appreciated at the time of their introduction, would be a fantastic contribution to the wine literature. If you fleshed it out with real historical detail it would be far richer than most wine books, and would encompass two opposing truths -- that "progress" is inevitable in wine, and that what is billed as progress is often not really progress. That would make it far more conceptually complex than most wine books, which generally fall in one of three rather boring categories -- a) encyclopedic collections of information with no underlying theme but great illustrations, b) starry-eyed tourist guides to the writer's favorite winemaker visits, or c) one note manifestos which are basically internet posts blown up to book length and recite one-sided arguments everyone already knows. (Sometimes the tourist guide and one note manifesto are combined into a single book to pad out the length).

I think critics have done a terrible job, almost amounting to malpractice, at helping wine hobbyists understand and be in dialogue with the constant flow of technical and stylistic change in winemaking and how it affects what is in the glass. The days when collectors really needed endless critical tasting notes to tell us "is this wine worth buying or not" are mostly over, except for occasionally breaking obscure producers. I want to understand what I am drinking and why it is the way it is. Over 20 years of collecting I have seen multiple dramatic stylistic changes in each region I follow, changes that are very obvious based on what is in the glass. I am sure these are connected to significant changes in winemaking practices and viticulture. Yet except at the vaguest and most general level ("extraction", "Parkerization") I have no real understanding of what exactly is driving those changes. Shouldn't it be the critics job to help me understand that?
Don't worry, I have that project in mind (with regard to Burgundy). Exchanging about it here is a great way to flesh out concepts and encounter counterarguments.

Your summation of the state of wine literature is quite good, I must say. Thankfully there are some exceptions, but...
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#78 Post by A.Gillette » August 1st, 2020, 1:30 pm

Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:26 pm
A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:01 pm
^ just tell your friend that Alice Feiring is a big Fourrier fan (despite the occasional chapitalization I suppose - not aware of any other practice that Fourrier follows that would upset people who prefer natural wine), and if it’s natural enough for Alice it should be natural enough for anyone else.
But that's my point - it doesn't fall under the umbrella of "natural wine" for most people solely because it doesn't have the right signifiers. I know both Alice and Pascaline like Fourrier, but they're not what the conversation is about.
But that’s my point - for lots of people it falls under the umbrella of natural wine even though it doesn’t have every one of the right signifiers. I know that you have a friend that doesn’t consider Fourrier to be natural wine, but she’s not what the conversation is about.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#79 Post by William Kelley » August 1st, 2020, 1:33 pm

Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 12:39 pm

I don't think this is correct. I have a number of friends who're very into natural wine (which causes endless amusing arguments over a years long running text thread) and authenticity is very much an issue. Yesterday, I met up for a drink with one of these friends and another younger couple who also really like natural wine. Thinking of this thread, I asked one of them why she liked natural wine. Her response was "it's all about the soil, the agriculture - it's about the winemaker using low intervention methods, allowing the grapes to express their terroir, not adding anything into the wine that detracts from the authentic* nature of the wine, allowing the grapes to grow in harmony with the soil and the environment, using natural yeasts, spontaneous fermentation, low sulfur - the entire package." The implication here is that most wine is not made this way. (Otherwise there would be no need for such a designation.)
This has certainly been my experience. And the fact is that the number of producers making really characterful, artisanal wine is actually really pretty small (imagine, for example, what would happen to the wine style if an insurance company, investment bank, or luxury goods conglomerate bought the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or Coche-Dury, and installed a highly qualified oenology school graduate—who might have previously made wine in one of their estates in the Rhône or Tuscany—as winemaker?). So that's why I increasingly feel that this approach requires some sort of defense or at least advocacy.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#80 Post by G. D y e r » August 1st, 2020, 1:40 pm

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 11:54 am
This is a very interesting take. What you seem to be pointing to is an approach to wine where you don't judge wine by whether you actually like what you taste, but by whether it conforms to a set of "virtuous" practices in the making of wine. You train your palate to enjoy whatever is created according to those "virtuous"/"natural" practices.

It sounds a bit crazy put like that, but it makes a kind of sense -- industrial food production is fantastic at creating big obvious flavors that the human palate has evolved to enjoy. So if you want maximal distance from it, you abandon your palate as a standard and instead try to teach yourself to appreciate products made in the most non-industrial ways you can think of.

But the problem, as often repeated in these threads, is that one is so irreducibly a craft product that except at the extremes there is really no clear line dividing virtuous/natural from unnatural/bad practices in winemaking, it is a bit game-like and arbitrary.
The phenomena you describe is very much in the vein of how art, music, and theater are viewed by the cognoscenti.

Perhaps the closest analogue I could draw is serialism and atonality, in contrast to 'standard' Western tonal art music. Yes, atonal music is likely in some way pure, crafted from the strictest set of rules and intellectually rigorous, honest. I'm sure it appeals to those with expertise and training in composition, musicology, etc. It is certainly the antithesis of heavily produced pop music filled with autotune, following a IV-V-I chord progression in C major.

But there is no such black and white dichotomy otherwise. Well crafted original music that is also commercially viable is not the opposite of either of the extremes. It's something else altogether.

And so that is how it goes in the authentic/natural wine vs industrial wine false dichotomy. There is an orthogonal characteristic separate from natural vs unnatural (industrial), which I'd describe as established craftsmanship and expertise, that separates the quality from the crap.

While there are oceans of manufactured wine that is 'autotuned' for mass appeal (RS, bizarre oak treatments, mega-purple), quite separate from that is qualitatively good to excellent wine that is hand crafted, yet pragmatic where necessary. Wine made based on dogma is generally going to be flawed, whether that dogma is one of maximal marketability/unit margins or minimal intervention.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#81 Post by Greg K » August 1st, 2020, 2:01 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:30 pm
Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:26 pm
A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:01 pm
^ just tell your friend that Alice Feiring is a big Fourrier fan (despite the occasional chapitalization I suppose - not aware of any other practice that Fourrier follows that would upset people who prefer natural wine), and if it’s natural enough for Alice it should be natural enough for anyone else.
But that's my point - it doesn't fall under the umbrella of "natural wine" for most people solely because it doesn't have the right signifiers. I know both Alice and Pascaline like Fourrier, but they're not what the conversation is about.
But that’s my point - for lots of people it falls under the umbrella of natural wine even though it doesn’t have every one of the right signifiers. I know that you have a friend that doesn’t consider Fourrier to be natural wine, but she’s not what the conversation is about.
This isn’t about “my friend” - it’s about what is part of the natural wine movement and what is not. Jean-Marie does not consider himself part of the natural wine movement. Restaurants and bars that have natural only lists don’t generally carry his wines.

Thus your failure to engage other than “oh, Fourrier is natural wine”! Funny, neither he nor his importer would claim that!
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#82 Post by Greg K » August 1st, 2020, 2:26 pm

William Kelley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:33 pm
Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 12:39 pm

I don't think this is correct. I have a number of friends who're very into natural wine (which causes endless amusing arguments over a years long running text thread) and authenticity is very much an issue. Yesterday, I met up for a drink with one of these friends and another younger couple who also really like natural wine. Thinking of this thread, I asked one of them why she liked natural wine. Her response was "it's all about the soil, the agriculture - it's about the winemaker using low intervention methods, allowing the grapes to express their terroir, not adding anything into the wine that detracts from the authentic* nature of the wine, allowing the grapes to grow in harmony with the soil and the environment, using natural yeasts, spontaneous fermentation, low sulfur - the entire package." The implication here is that most wine is not made this way. (Otherwise there would be no need for such a designation.)
This has certainly been my experience. And the fact is that the number of producers making really characterful, artisanal wine is actually really pretty small (imagine, for example, what would happen to the wine style if an insurance company, investment bank, or luxury goods conglomerate bought the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or Coche-Dury, and installed a highly qualified oenology school graduate—who might have previously made wine in one of their estates in the Rhône or Tuscany—as winemaker?). So that's why I increasingly feel that this approach requires some sort of defense or at least advocacy.
Agreed. I think that a lot of the "natural wine" movement is driven by the high prices traditional winemaking commands, so younger wine drinkers reject those expensive traditional brands and so the implication that those wines are not "natural". Which creates a separation based on self-identification; I can only imagine the reaction from a lot of natural wine fans at the suggestion that DRC is "natural wine".

But I completely sympathize with them; a lot of wines that were affordable 20 years ago simply aren't anymore. And "natural wine" offers an easy path to cheaper wine that can be good (and certainly seems cooler than staid old [insert French region here].
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#83 Post by William Kelley » August 1st, 2020, 2:30 pm

Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 2:26 pm
William Kelley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:33 pm
Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 12:39 pm

I don't think this is correct. I have a number of friends who're very into natural wine (which causes endless amusing arguments over a years long running text thread) and authenticity is very much an issue. Yesterday, I met up for a drink with one of these friends and another younger couple who also really like natural wine. Thinking of this thread, I asked one of them why she liked natural wine. Her response was "it's all about the soil, the agriculture - it's about the winemaker using low intervention methods, allowing the grapes to express their terroir, not adding anything into the wine that detracts from the authentic* nature of the wine, allowing the grapes to grow in harmony with the soil and the environment, using natural yeasts, spontaneous fermentation, low sulfur - the entire package." The implication here is that most wine is not made this way. (Otherwise there would be no need for such a designation.)
This has certainly been my experience. And the fact is that the number of producers making really characterful, artisanal wine is actually really pretty small (imagine, for example, what would happen to the wine style if an insurance company, investment bank, or luxury goods conglomerate bought the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or Coche-Dury, and installed a highly qualified oenology school graduate—who might have previously made wine in one of their estates in the Rhône or Tuscany—as winemaker?). So that's why I increasingly feel that this approach requires some sort of defense or at least advocacy.
Agreed. I think that a lot of the "natural wine" movement is driven by the high prices traditional winemaking commands, so younger wine drinkers reject those expensive traditional brands and so the implication that those wines are not "natural". Which creates a separation based on self-identification; I can only imagine the reaction from a lot of natural wine fans at the suggestion that DRC is "natural wine".

But I completely sympathize with them; a lot of wines that were affordable 20 years ago simply aren't anymore. And "natural wine" offers an easy path to cheaper wine that can be good (and certainly seems cooler than staid old [insert French region here].
Yeah, and this is definitely an issue that Burgundy is going increasingly to face over the coming decades...
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#84 Post by A.Gillette » August 1st, 2020, 3:00 pm

Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 2:26 pm
William Kelley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:33 pm
Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 12:39 pm

I don't think this is correct. I have a number of friends who're very into natural wine (which causes endless amusing arguments over a years long running text thread) and authenticity is very much an issue. Yesterday, I met up for a drink with one of these friends and another younger couple who also really like natural wine. Thinking of this thread, I asked one of them why she liked natural wine. Her response was "it's all about the soil, the agriculture - it's about the winemaker using low intervention methods, allowing the grapes to express their terroir, not adding anything into the wine that detracts from the authentic* nature of the wine, allowing the grapes to grow in harmony with the soil and the environment, using natural yeasts, spontaneous fermentation, low sulfur - the entire package." The implication here is that most wine is not made this way. (Otherwise there would be no need for such a designation.)
This has certainly been my experience. And the fact is that the number of producers making really characterful, artisanal wine is actually really pretty small (imagine, for example, what would happen to the wine style if an insurance company, investment bank, or luxury goods conglomerate bought the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or Coche-Dury, and installed a highly qualified oenology school graduate—who might have previously made wine in one of their estates in the Rhône or Tuscany—as winemaker?). So that's why I increasingly feel that this approach requires some sort of defense or at least advocacy.
Agreed. I think that a lot of the "natural wine" movement is driven by the high prices traditional winemaking commands, so younger wine drinkers reject those expensive traditional brands and so the implication that those wines are not "natural". Which creates a separation based on self-identification; I can only imagine the reaction from a lot of natural wine fans at the suggestion that DRC is "natural wine".

But I completely sympathize with them; a lot of wines that were affordable 20 years ago simply aren't anymore. And "natural wine" offers an easy path to cheaper wine that can be good (and certainly seems cooler than staid old [insert French region here].
I don’t know. I buy quite a bit of expensive natural wine (Fourrier for example).
A
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#85 Post by Greg K » August 1st, 2020, 3:08 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:00 pm
Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 2:26 pm
William Kelley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:33 pm


This has certainly been my experience. And the fact is that the number of producers making really characterful, artisanal wine is actually really pretty small (imagine, for example, what would happen to the wine style if an insurance company, investment bank, or luxury goods conglomerate bought the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or Coche-Dury, and installed a highly qualified oenology school graduate—who might have previously made wine in one of their estates in the Rhône or Tuscany—as winemaker?). So that's why I increasingly feel that this approach requires some sort of defense or at least advocacy.
Agreed. I think that a lot of the "natural wine" movement is driven by the high prices traditional winemaking commands, so younger wine drinkers reject those expensive traditional brands and so the implication that those wines are not "natural". Which creates a separation based on self-identification; I can only imagine the reaction from a lot of natural wine fans at the suggestion that DRC is "natural wine".

But I completely sympathize with them; a lot of wines that were affordable 20 years ago simply aren't anymore. And "natural wine" offers an easy path to cheaper wine that can be good (and certainly seems cooler than staid old [insert French region here].
I don’t know. I buy quite a bit of expensive natural wine (Fourrier for example).
A
LOL, nice troll.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#86 Post by A.Gillette » August 1st, 2020, 3:23 pm

William Kelley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 2:30 pm
Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 2:26 pm
William Kelley wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:33 pm


This has certainly been my experience. And the fact is that the number of producers making really characterful, artisanal wine is actually really pretty small (imagine, for example, what would happen to the wine style if an insurance company, investment bank, or luxury goods conglomerate bought the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, or Coche-Dury, and installed a highly qualified oenology school graduate—who might have previously made wine in one of their estates in the Rhône or Tuscany—as winemaker?). So that's why I increasingly feel that this approach requires some sort of defense or at least advocacy.
Agreed. I think that a lot of the "natural wine" movement is driven by the high prices traditional winemaking commands, so younger wine drinkers reject those expensive traditional brands and so the implication that those wines are not "natural". Which creates a separation based on self-identification; I can only imagine the reaction from a lot of natural wine fans at the suggestion that DRC is "natural wine".

But I completely sympathize with them; a lot of wines that were affordable 20 years ago simply aren't anymore. And "natural wine" offers an easy path to cheaper wine that can be good (and certainly seems cooler than staid old [insert French region here].
Yeah, and this is definitely an issue that Burgundy is going increasingly to face over the coming decades...
Have you tried any of Yann Durieux’s burgundies? I find them to be particularly awful - the kind of thing that could ruin a meal. I imagine they are what the primordial soup would taste like if one could go back and taste it, prehistoric microbes and all, but they are also frightfully expensive. So maybe that is the solution to the coming Burgundian problem.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#87 Post by Sean S y d n e y » August 1st, 2020, 3:30 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:23 pm


Have you tried any of Yann Durieux’s burgundies? I find them to be particularly awful - the kind of thing that could ruin a meal. I imagine they are what the primordial soup would taste like if one could go back and taste it, prehistoric microbes and all, but they are also frightfully expensive. So maybe that is the solution to the coming Burgundian problem.
I've only had his Love and Pif Aligoté and for the price, I...didn't "get it".
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#88 Post by A.Gillette » August 1st, 2020, 3:33 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:30 pm
A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:23 pm


Have you tried any of Yann Durieux’s burgundies? I find them to be particularly awful - the kind of thing that could ruin a meal. I imagine they are what the primordial soup would taste like if one could go back and taste it, prehistoric microbes and all, but they are also frightfully expensive. So maybe that is the solution to the coming Burgundian problem.
I've only had his Love and Pif Aligoté and for the price, I...didn't "get it".
Was it flawed? If not, then you should try another bottle because there was likely something wrong with yours.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#89 Post by Otto Forsberg » August 1st, 2020, 3:56 pm

I've had that Love and Pif as well.

On the other hand you could taste it was surprisingly serious and impressive Aligoté with a wonderful touch of reductive flint smoke to complement the fruit notes.

However, it showed quite elevated levels of VA as well. I normally don't mind VA that much, but this wine was not just showing enjoyably lifted qualities, but also some rather pronounced nail polish notes and quite unpleasant acetic roughness.

I can imagine the naturalist geeks can love such a wine (in the tasting where we had it was one such person going crazy over the wine) since it was quite impressive for an Aligoté. However, while I could taste the quality there, it was just way too volatile for my taste. With noticeably lower levels of VA it would've been a great wine - and perhaps worth its price. Not in this condition, though.

I've no idea how the other Durieux wines are. Flawed, yes, that much I've understood now, but how? Are they all just excessively volatile and acetic, or are the other wines different?

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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#90 Post by Sean S y d n e y » August 1st, 2020, 3:58 pm

A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:33 pm
Sean S y d n e y wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:30 pm
A.Gillette wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:23 pm


Have you tried any of Yann Durieux’s burgundies? I find them to be particularly awful - the kind of thing that could ruin a meal. I imagine they are what the primordial soup would taste like if one could go back and taste it, prehistoric microbes and all, but they are also frightfully expensive. So maybe that is the solution to the coming Burgundian problem.
I've only had his Love and Pif Aligoté and for the price, I...didn't "get it".
Was it flawed? If not, then you should try another bottle because there was likely something wrong with yours.
Like Otto said, it was shrill - I don't remember if was VA specifically, but I remember it being "anonymously natural" if that makes sense. It could have been a natty-type wine of any origin, not Aligoté and not Burgundy, IMO.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#91 Post by A.Gillette » August 1st, 2020, 4:09 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:58 pm
but I remember it being "anonymously natural" if that makes sense.
It makes sense. I know exactly what you mean, and I call it “the Parkerization of Natural Wine.” Everything in the category begins to taste the same. That’s my phrase by the way. Please don’t use it without attribution.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#92 Post by Marc Hauser » August 1st, 2020, 4:28 pm

Adam Frisch wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 1:20 pm
Marc Hauser wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 12:01 pm

Is that Cab really the “same”? If so, that would seem to fly into the face of a lot of the assumptions and ideas thrown out on this board and beyond. Like terroir.
No, I meant the same variety, not same in any other way. It's however up to producers and consumers alike to decide if it's 10x better...? [cheers.gif]
I guess I don’t understand how that fits into your point. How many Lodi cabs being drank (not ironically) by discerning wine drinkers can you name? I see how that works with more obscure varieties, or rediscovered heritage vineyards. But cheap cab?
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#93 Post by Wes Barton » August 1st, 2020, 5:10 pm

William Kelley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:19 am
Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 7:55 am

With that said, doesn't your own sharp sense of the constant flow of changes in winemaking and their sometimes transformational impact lead you away from the idea of defining any fixed set of practices as a definition of artisanal winemaking? The difficulty is that it is really about the spirit in which winemaking is approached. Is Randy Dunn not an artisanal winemaker because he used reverse osmosis machines? Would you really want to exclude a winemaker you respected from an artisanal definition because they tried an unprecedented approach? The difficulty of defining a spirit or approach and actually have it be meaningful instead of vaporous generalizations is why these efforts and manifestos often break down.
Thanks for the kind words, and for this thoughtful riposte. I guess my priorities in talking about "artisanal wine" are simply to try on the one hand to make a case that intention and technique are not incompatible with "authenticity"; and on the other hand, to make a strong case for the just how powerful a filter two thousands years experience of making wine has been. I am not so much interested in making lists of producers to include and exclude, or writing rules—I am not, by nature, an ideologue or tractarian in these matters. In fact, what I am arguing for is not so much a "fixed set of practices" as a heuristic for establishing which practices it might be interesting to adopt and which it might be wise to be skeptical about.

I guess what I am trying to convey is not any kind of ideological opposition to change and progress per se, but rather, healthy skepticism about the claims of various technical innovations to genuinely represent progress. And I think that skepticism is justified by the way the viticultural and oenological "progress" of the 1960s, '70s, '80s and 90's has thus far turned out. It may seem to follow that I put the early 20th-century winemaking on an artificial and anachronous pedestal, but beyond thinking that, yes, the red Burgundies (to confine myself to my region) of vintages such as 1919, 1929, 1934 and 1937 are more interesting wines than what was produced in the 1970s and 1980s for example, this isn't really the case. Children do not as a rule end up drinking the same kinds of wines that their parents or grandparents did, and it has always been like that: for example, in the 18th and early 19th century, red Burgundy generally saw a very short maceration, sometimes less than a day; by 1900, up to a month was quite common. Using material and techniques that have been validated by long experience is quite compatible with immense stylistic diversity.

That said, to respond to your specific example: I do think Randy's aspiration to keep his wines below 14% abv could be better accomplished (and here I agree with Mike FWIW) but just picking a little earlier—or even by leaving the wines a year longer in his humid cellar, where they loose 1% abv give or take each year (thanks to a natural osmotic pressure gradient - no need to reinvent this particular wheel). The flippant answer, of course, would be that if 117 years from now—counting from the 1987 vintage when Léoville-Las Cases first used RO, for want of a better starting point—serious winemakers are still using RO and can look back at a long track record of it making wines better, then I will consider it an artisanal technique. [snort.gif]
What do you think of Jamie Goode's book "Authentic Wine"?

Around here, not so long ago, the term "artisanal" was so over-played it became cliche. In wine and everything else. It was seen as marketing folks trying too hard, apparently realized, as it just sort of went away. I think it implies a sort of snotty superficiality from how it was applied, so has that stigma. "Craft" seems to have replaced it, which implies hands-on, expertise, dedication to quality, and continuing exploration and evolution. (Thinking about it, seeing "artisanal wine" one would expect something around 14.5% with a decent amount of obvious new oak.)
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#94 Post by William Kelley » August 1st, 2020, 5:22 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 5:10 pm
What do you think of Jamie Goode's book "Authentic Wine"?

Around here, not so long ago, the term "artisanal" was so over-played it became cliche. In wine and everything else. It was seen as marketing folks trying too hard, apparently realized, as it just sort of went away. I think it implies a sort of snotty superficiality from how it was applied, so has that stigma. "Craft" seems to have replaced it, which implies hands-on, expertise, dedication to quality, and continuing exploration and evolution. (Thinking about it, seeing "artisanal wine" one would expect something around 14.5% with a decent amount of obvious new oak.)
Mea culpa, I haven't read it...

And that's for sure: any term of approbation will be appropriated, devalued, and thereby abased in short order, unless the average consumer is sufficiently informed to laugh in the face of such misinformation (and as we can see with "clean wine", that isn't the case). Beyond that, however, it's interesting that it's hard to escape French terms, and that many of the debates in the Anglophone wine conversation could in fact be ascribed to things being lost in translation. In France, if a foodstuff or beverage is "nature", that means it's unseasoned / unmixed / uncooked / unadulterated: not so much that it's "natural", per se. Taken in this sense, it's easy to see why the natural wine movement should define itself by it opposition to sulfur: "vin nature", taken literally, is wine without additives of any kind, and that is where the term suggests the line in the sand be drawn. Equally, in French, "artisanale" doesn't really have pretensions connotations: what in the US might be called an "industrial park" or in the UK an "industrial estate" is, in France, a "zone artisanale"—meaning quite simply a place where skilled people make things, skillfully. It is a classless term, and a carpenter or baker will be proud to embrace it if they are serious about what they do. Transliterated into the English "artisanal" it immediately acquires pompous connotations. Which may, in itself, say something about how the Atlantic world has, beyond the upper-middle classes, lost touch with skillfully made bread, cheese, etc.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#95 Post by Alan Rath » August 1st, 2020, 5:38 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
July 31st, 2020, 11:08 am
I made this point elsewhere, but natural wine is, above all else, affordable. It's a way to get into wine, develop an aesthetic, and stake a claim in a world where the classic regions and standard bearers are becoming increasingly out of reach. Most naturalistas - and most other sane people - can't afford 1er crus, much less Coche; it's almost impossible to get a comprehensive wine education and develop an extensive palate nowadays on anything resembling a reasonable budget for most people.

It's no surprise it appeals to a generation that also values individualism and rejecting the need for gatekeepers.
I’m going to disagree with this point quite strongly. There is no lack of affordable, delicious, brilliantly made wines from excellent terroir that aren’t in the “natural” camp. It’s fine to be a fan of natural wines (though I’m not one), but their appeal to someone who “values individualism” has nothing to do with being “natural” or not.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#96 Post by Sean S y d n e y » August 1st, 2020, 7:20 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 5:38 pm

I’m going to disagree with this point quite strongly. There is no lack of affordable, delicious, brilliantly made wines from excellent terroir that aren’t in the “natural” camp. It’s fine to be a fan of natural wines (though I’m not one), but their appeal to someone who “values individualism” has nothing to do with being “natural” or not.
I agree, but that's not necessarily the goal of the target audience of natural wine. Nobody age 22 to 35-ish who's casually into wine and an admirer of the natural movement is searching for the best QPR Bordeaux on the list when they go out to a restaurant regardless of that Château's viticultural practices. It's about aesthetic, attitude, and a good connection/story. To a certain segment of the population, a funky cloudy Australian Pét-Nat from a husband-and-wife team or a winery in Slovenia working with Blauer Portugieser is far more compelling than anything from the Mosel.

I'm not saying all natty wine is cheap, either, but rarely is it genuinely unaffordable.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#97 Post by A.Gillette » August 1st, 2020, 7:43 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 7:20 pm
To a certain segment of the population, a funky cloudy Australian Pét-Nat from a husband-and-wife team or a winery in Slovenia working with Blauer Portugieser is far more compelling than anything from the Mosel.
I tasted both of these at the Ten Bells. The pet nat was so alive. The Blauer Portugieser was fire.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#98 Post by Alan Rath » August 1st, 2020, 8:24 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 7:20 pm
To a certain segment of the population, a funky cloudy Australian Pét-Nat from a husband-and-wife team or a winery in Slovenia working with Blauer Portugieser is far more compelling than anything from the Mosel.
Well, I guess I should be thankful that hipsters (or whatever has taken their place now) aren’t chasing the classically great wines that are still relatively affordable. Because that would definitely make them less affordable. Compelling to me is wine made well, from good terroir, that tastes like good wine. I like a good story as much as anyone, but that is secondary to the wine itself.
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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#99 Post by David Glasser » August 2nd, 2020, 1:39 pm

We’ve become our parents. [swoon.gif]

Kids these days. I just don’t understand their taste in music wine.

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Re: Natty Wine: A Millennial Con?

#100 Post by tcavallo » August 2nd, 2020, 8:07 pm

Greg K wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 2:26 pm

Agreed. I think that a lot of the "natural wine" movement is driven by the high prices traditional winemaking commands, so younger wine drinkers reject those expensive traditional brands and so the implication that those wines are not "natural". Which creates a separation based on self-identification; I can only imagine the reaction from a lot of natural wine fans at the suggestion that DRC is "natural wine".
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