We all know that “transparency” is a big buzz word in the financial world, but I certainly never expected to hear it in the context of the wine world.
It seems obvious now, but wine bottles don’t have ingredients labels-something I hadn’t realized until Alice Feiring, author of "Naked Wine," brought it to my attention earlier this week. Truth is, I never thought wine bottles needed them. It’s just grape juice, right?
Apparently not. Sometimes sugar, sulfites, yeast or even flavor additives are thrown in, and you wouldn’t even know.
So there has been a move toward transparency. And as a result, “natural” wines are on the rise. A natu6ral wine is made with very few chemicals and very little technological intervention -- basically – just crush the grapes and let them sit.
Now, just because a wine is natural, doesn’t mean it’s organic. Organic wine has been produced from organically-grown grapes, but may be subject to some chemical and physical manipulation in the wine-making process.
But since I’m not such a purist, for me, it comes down to how it makes me feel, and Feiring says the taste has “more authenticity.” In addition, she adds people who drink natural wine have “fewer extreme hangovers, fewer allergic reactions.”
Well now you’ve caught my attention.
OK. I’m willing to go au naturale once in a while. I’ll give it a shot.
You do the same and let me know.
Questions for Our Wine Pro
What is your death row wine?
1937 La Tache. From a pristine cellar.
What region produces the best wine?
If I had to choose one wine region to drink for the rest of my life, and one only, it would be the Loire.
What is the best wine and food pairing you’ve ever had?
Twenty-year-old Barolo (Bartolo Mascarello) and fonduta with white truffles.
What will the U.S. wine industry look like in 10 years?
Depending on what happens with the economy, but we’ll see more of the farm to table movement happening in wine. More farmers will grow their own grapes and make their own wine. Napa will decline as the premier region in California. The Finger Lakes will rise again. Alcohol levels will decrease. More natural wines will rise. Irrigation will be questioned. There will be more alternatives to the bottle. Because of climate change we'll be looking at great wines from Canada, England and even Denmark. Australia and the United States will start to find their identity. Alaskan wine will be in its infancy. The competition for Burgundy at the top end will drive prices even higher forcing most drinkers to look elsewhere for pleasure. Overall, there will be great wines made in surprising places and a greater return to organic farming.