Elin McCoy: Romancing the Grape

I’ve always regarded Elin McCoy as a pretty formulaic wine writer. I seldom learn much from her screed and find them rather quotidian (“It’s November…time for an article on Beaujolais and what to drink w/ Thanksgiving turkey”).

But her recent article in TheWorld of FineWine on “Romancing the Grape: The Origins of the Natural Wine Movement” was particularly good & informative. Nothing earth-shattering, but interesting and written pretty objectively & w/o the vitriolic polemics w/ which SweetAlice writes.



A very interesting article, though not really about “natural” wines per se. Rather, a thought provoking piece about how we relate to the wines we care for. And it does add some fuel to my desire to learn more about natural wines, if only I could get comfortable with a definition that makes sense. Thanks for posting this link.

Cool article. Thanks for sharing!!!

It is a very pretty article. And I wouldn’t want to cloud Elin’s story of falling in love with wine at Mayacamas. But to tie that visit into an article about “natural wine” quite frankly gives the wrong impression.

In Robert Benson’s book “Great Winemakers of California” from 1977, Bob Travers describes his winemaking at Mayacamas this way, " Bladder press, 160 gallons per ton (that would mean using the press wine), 60-100ppm of sulfur in tank after pressing, concrete block fermenting tanks, always adding a cultured yeast (usually Montrachet), cool ferments (70 degrees for Cab), press at dryness or close to it, pumpovers primarily, often adjusts acid levels, rack out of fermenting tank, rack again a week later, rack again a month later, rack annually after that. Two years in large American oak tanks and then a year in small barrels (half Nevers, half Saone) filtering before bottling. "

Many of us, who are not “natural winemakers” also believe that wine has a deeper cultural and spiritual significance. For us, it is the marriage of nature and humanity. To rely fully on nature (which is often not benevolent and, if one were to truly rely on it, would turn your wine into vinegar, which is the point of stability) or to rely fully on humanity is to miss out on the beauty of the marriage. In the Catholic Church wine is described as “the fruit of the vine, the work of human hands.” I’ve always liked that.

Adam Lee
Siduri Wines