You’ve got conventional wine, organic wine, and biodynamic wine, but an even newer face on the scene is the natural wine – those with very little sulphur added, or none at all. This production method has been in the spotlight for a few years now, and is unlikely to have escaped your notice. We decided that a sale of natural wine would be perfect for the start of the summer, since natural wines tend to have a real burst of fruit as part of their overall light profile. A real treat for the summer months.
Our ‘natural’ classification is based on the recent, official natural label accorded to domains and cuvées, in other words wine with less than 30mg of sulphur per litre. Most of these wines are also organic, even without official certification, and an increasing number are a result of biodynamic methods, too.
We want to highlight how our selection of natural wines is made up of well-made cuvées. Natural wines have a reputation for being pretty variable in their quality (often due to the very low-intervention approach to their production), but rest assured that we’ve picked only the best domains that have justly mastered the natural method of growing and vinifying.
Let’s start with the star region for natural wine: Beaujolais! Here, natural vinification is almost an unspoken rule, at least for the best domains. The father of natural wine, Jules Chauvet, is originally from this region where he would produce his own cuvées and train wine makers. The famous Marcel Lapierre, a historic figure of the natural movement, is of course in stock, as are domains like Foillard, Yvon Métras, Descombes, Dutraive, Pierre Cotton, la Grand’ Cour, Mee Godard and Jules Métras. All of these domains count among the safe bets that serve as excellent introductions to what a natural wine can be. Many of these cuvées are light with fantastic fruit that nonetheless have good aging potential.
Another landmark region in the natural movement is the Jura. The most emblematic figure here is undoubtedly Pierre Overnoy, a wine maker greatly influenced by the work of Jules Chauvet. Domaine Ganevat also figures among the movement’s longstanding references. One of the team’s favourites is Domaine Tissot, as well as Bottes Rouges, cuvées from both of which we taste regularly and enjoy immensely.
The Loire is also well-represented in this sale. We have bottles from Alexandre Bain, Roches Neuves, Domaine de Bellivière, Lise et Bertrand Jousset, Catherine et Pierre Breton, Domaine de l’Ecu, Nicolas Réau, Clos de Tue-Bœuf, la Paonnerie and Jo Landron.
In Bordeaux, natural wines are far trickier to come across. The most reputed among them, however, has to be Château Le Puy; the Emilien cuvée is delicious in its youth and Barthélémy is a single-parcel cuvée with amazing aging potential.
From Burgundy, we have several natural domains such as Pacalet and Bizot, both of which have been working in this way for a considerable length of time, such that this is what they’re known and sought for, including at auction. Others are part of the new wave, such as Domaine des Rouges Queues, one of our favourites from the La Dive tasting. There’s also Clos des vignes du Mayne, which we got the chance to taste again very recently – we were blown away by the quality of their wine. Domaine Chandon de Brailles is another estate that we’ve totally fallen for.
Elsewhere in France, these wines are perhaps harder to find, but they certainly have their ambassadors. Thierry Allemand, Jean-Michel Stephan, la Réméjeanne stand out in the Rhône, Henri Milan in Provence, Antoine Arena in Corsica and Ginglinger in Alsace.