What is not: a simpler manifesto for Natural Wine?

Last night, as Tracie P and I were sitting on our living room couch, watching our Sunday night TV (gangsters and zombies, please), munching on an excellent potato and leek torte that she made, and sipping Cornelissen’s 2007/2008 Rosso Munjebel 5, it occurred to me that one of the most tormented aspects of the tortuous quest to define “Natural Wine” is the fact that its definition is, by its very nature, a definition of what is not.

In many ways, the art and science of producing Natural Wine are defined by what the winemaker does not do: no chemicals in the vineyard, no pharmaceutical yeast in the cellar, and no manipulation of the vinified must (or as little as humanly possible, because human intervention is required on some level).

The Natural Wine Authorities seem to agree that Cornelissen’s wines are impeccably Natural (and I certainly do not want to descend into the abyss of the Natural Wine debate here). I’m sure even the Grouchy One would agree that Cornelissen’s wines are Natural (even though he’s probably pissed that he doesn’t import them).

In any case, Cornelissen’s “Natural Wine” credo, as published on his label (above), seemed to me a succinct and excellent way to define what Natural Wine is by describing what it is not. (Check out Cornelissen’s site here.)

O, and the wine?

For however difficult they are to track down and buy, Cornelissen’s wines are not prohibitively expensive.

Although the wine was slightly “hot” on the nose (as we say in the biz, denoting high alcohol content), we loved it: bright fruit, bright acidity, light in body, and a rich grapey meatiness that was fantastic with Tracie P’s torte.

Is it a wonderful wine? Yes. Is it a life-changing wine? I’d have to say no. Tracie P noted that it reminded her of the vino paesano that she used to drink when she lived in Ischia.

We enjoyed it thoroughly with our gangsters and zombies and we remembered that sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.

4 thoughts on “What is not: a simpler manifesto for Natural Wine?

  1. wow 2B, that was a fun wine. it certainly did take me back to vino paesano, except for the 14% alcohol. it had all of the hallmarks–that almost mustard acidity and lip-smacking fruit. on top of the whimsy though, there were some serious tannins. thanks for bringin’ in to texas :)

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