It is only natural that after years of supplying, distributing, and selling wine, I would eventually find my way to the natural wine scene. Surprisingly, my first natural wine found me, in a bottle of Guthrie Family Wines Heirloom Carbonic Grenache. It occurred in a chance meeting after a challenging day of the week. The label looked at me as if to say, “Hey, let’s go chill out and let it be.” That chance meeting would bring me here, to write to you — about Natural Wines to love from Sonoma.
What is Natural Wine Anyway?
The definition of natural wine is eloquently summed up best by RAW WINE founder, Isabelle Legeron MW. Here is an excerpt from Isabelle’s book ‘Natural Wine: An Introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally’:
“Natural wine is a continuum, like ripples on a pond. At the epicentre of these ripples, are growers who produce wines absolutely naturally – nothing added and nothing removed. As you move away from this centre, the additions and manipulations begin, making the wine less and less natural, the further out you go. Eventually, the ripples disappear entirely, blending into the waters of the rest of the pond. At this point the term ‘natural wine’ no longer applies. You have moved into the realm of the conventional.“
My Attraction to Natural Wines.
Currently, I am on the sensory journey to learn more about natural wines. Here are a few key points about why I am attracted to being educated about it:
The simpler, cleaner way of winemaking combined with a kiss of kindness to the Earth’s farmland through organic style farming.
Natural wine reflects values similar to caring about the food we eat, the environment we live in, and the pollution we inhale. This is because the natural way of winemaking encourages minimal intervention from grape to bottle. Firstly, little to no additions or processing aids are used throughout the winemaking process. Secondly, the fermentation process is allowed to occur naturally. This is achieved through the use of indigenous or wild yeasts naturally occurring on the grapes’ skins. Thirdly, the wines do not go through the fining and filtration process. As a result, all of this, combined with kinder farming practices nurture the environment and our bodies. This scenario makes natural wine a win-win.
The aesthetically appealing artwork on the wine labels.
The creative prowess of genuine, playful, and eye-catching wine labels begin the sensory journey of sight. As a result, this ignites an excitement in me to open the bottle! In short, I love the design element.
The flavor collage of mouth-watering truth manifests authentically in my wine glass, making the sensory journey mysterious and unknown.
Above all, being that natural wine is made with indigenous yeast and very little additions, it is wine that is an authentic representation of where it’s from. Drinking natural wine, or low-intervention wines, manifests a unique, transparent, and genuine impression in my wine glass.
Sonoma Natural Wines that I Have Tasted so Far.
I hope you enjoy your own sensory journey in the natural wine world! Share your thoughts with the community and comment below about the natural wines that you have experienced. Here are a few of the natural wines that I have tasted so far – Natural Wines to Love from Sonoma..
Guthrie Family Wines Heirloom Carbonic Grenache
I love red wine. However, at the time of my discovery of Guthrie Family Wines Heirloom Carbonic Grenache, we were experiencing a week of 110+ weather in Sonoma. It was too hot for me to drink red wine. In this situation, I figured it was a perfect time to venture out and explore the “chillable reds” category. Chillable reds are a subcategory in the natural wine category playing alongside its neighbors: Pét-Nat, Orange Wine, and quality Beaujolais.
The main goal of that particular evening was to indefinitely chill out. We reminisced about being a kid loving on cold strawberry and cherry Jello, as consequently, this was the memory brought up to me on the nose. Furthermore, I couldn’t stop raving about the bright, juicy, red fruits on my palate that quenched my soul with a smooth, gentle acidity. I’m loving on lower-alcohol wines right now so that was another talking point — this wine is 12.5%. We paired the wine along with tunes from Otis Redding “A Change is Gonna Come”. Most importantly, we appreciated the moment and the blessings of chillable reds in this world.
Check out guthriefamilywines.com to learn more about the family that makes the stunning organically grown Guthrie Family Wines Heirloom Carbonic Grenache. The Guthrie’s website is witty, playful, and informative, you’ll be hooked! We look forward to exploring more wines from Guthrie Family Wines.
Oeno Skin Contact
An orange, natural wine with 93% skin-fermented Chardonnay and 7% direct press Pinot Noir grown in the Russian River Valley, California. Oeno Skin Contact wine is produced by @amyatwoodselections who is also a California based importer, distributor and producer of Natural Wines from California and the New World. Her philosophy: start with pristine fruit, use only native yeasts, no additives, and neutral oak.
This golden orange skin-contact wine is rich and intriguing. For starters, the gentle, floral aromatics delicately laced with sheer honey and mineralistic notes are the key to opening the door to the palate. In turn, the palate is greeted by a bright, edgy acidity. The almost tannic-like texture leans in towards a beautiful, curvaceous body on the mouthfeel. This wine is a combination of grace AND grit. Actually, it took me awhile to really get to know it, yet once I did, I appreciated the bright fruits I was experiencing — pear, guava, grapefruit, citrus, green melon, contrasted with a mineralistic backbone. Ultimately, this wine is one you will want to enjoy immediately. I would suggest pairing a bottle or two of Oeno Skin Contact with sushi and the ultimate best friend chats! P.S. Oeno is the ancient Greek word for wine.
FRES.CO Sparkling Rosé of Primitivo
In my ongoing quest to savor a collage of the natural wine category on my palate, I found @fres.co.wine Sparkling Rosé of Primitivo! All I can say is LOVELY, LOVELY, and more LOVELY! With a flirtatious sparkle in my glass — this low alcohol, bright, fruit forward pét-nat was as if I was tasting sunset in a glass. To illustrate, I imagined myself holding a bouquet of flowers, while turning around with my lover’s kisses lingering on my palate. Undoubtedly, the romantic and intelligent FRES.CO Sparkling Rosé of Primitivo, is a Sonoma natural wine to love.
In addition to natural winemaking, FRES.CO is all about regenerative viticulture and reducing the carbon footprint. The wines are made at Magnolia Wine Services, a collective of low-intervention winemakers in Sonoma, California.
Check out fresh.wine to learn more about regenerative viticulture, natural winemaking, and the community behind this Sonoma Valley wine farmed by R. Canard.