Not the end of the natural wine affair

What is wine to you? Is it the Masnavi of Hafiz or the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam or a Bacchanalian frenzy or an altogether more intellectual affair? Does it bring you together or set you apart? Nowadays, wine seems to provoke ardent philosophical extremism. I thought it was about grapes, but as often as not it is about sour grapes. As soldiers cling with white knuckles to their battle standards so do writers, critics and drinkers firmly hold on to their contentious opinions, reasoning not the need and needing not the reasons, although one may on occasion encounter beacons of reasonableness and engaging humility. Outside the coterie of wine commentators talking unto wine commentators (and I’m as guilty here as anyone) there is a real world where people don’t always have preconceived ideas and display a willingness to treat each wine on its own merits.

les caves de pyrene

Rather than paint people into a corner for their opinions one should look at what wine is, where the people who make it are coming from and where the wine is eventually ending up. There are wines for all occasions, all pockets and all perceptions and somewhere in this vast ocean of wine there is a quiet lagoon of vins natures. I say quiet in spite that it generates more critical froth than a million spontaneous secondary fermentations. Perversely, it is the critics of natural wine that give it the oxygen (or should that be cultured yeast?) not only to survive but to grow stronger and more certain; they romanticise the struggle between good and bad practice and suggest that our tastes are being corrupted or that we had no taste in the first place. The straw man will return to haunt them with their prophecies; such tiny flames are nurtured by constant critical hot air.

To be continued… 

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