We are here to talk all about natural wines! As they grow and grow in popularity we thought we’d explore what they are and showcase our wonderful selection on the wine list.
Natural wines, while seeming like a brand new concept, are all about bringing back old traditions of making wine involving fewer chemicals, and using as eco-friendly as possible techniques. It is believed that the movement began with Beaujolais winemakers in the 60s wanting to go back to making wine like their ancestors, as agriculture was increasingly becoming dependent on pesticides.
Natural wine boasts simplicity at its heart, with ancient techniques refined to produce surprising new twists on old staple wines.
From our wine list we’ll start with “No es Pituko” – meaning “it ain’t fancy”. From the Echeverría vineyard in Chile, this wonderful collection of natural wines has been on our shelves the longest. As the aptly named wine suggests the wine-making process is stripped to the basics: the grapes are handpicked, then immediately pressed and cooled and then fermented with natural yeast from 5 to 25 days depending on the wine. No sulphates are added and no stabilisation or filtration processes are used. This gives a slightly cloudy wine and that rustic, no ‘fancy stuff here’ feel. From the range, we offer the Viognier, a white, with its tropical fruits aroma and buttery characteristics and the Carignan, a red, with its rich plum notes and spicy hints of cinnamon. Both are great accompanied by strong flavours like our pork pie, a slice of Stilton or our spicy ‘Nduja Board!
Next we have quite a popular new, yet not so new, wine: Orange Wine. It doesn’t in fact have anything to do with oranges but with its orange hue. It is actually a white wine, but the skin of the grape is left during the wine-making process, called skin contact, resulting in the distinct colour. It is believed to be one of the oldest and most traditional ways of making wine, which is what makes this wine not so new at all!
From our list we have “Sciccu'” – “swanky/elegant” in the Calabrian dialect. Quite the opposite of “No es Pituko”. The wine is a blend of Guarnaccia 33%, Guardavalle 33%, Mantonico 33% all local grapes of Calabria, Italy. The process begins with spontaneous fermentation and maceration for 1 day on skin and is followed by ageing 6 months in a concrete tank.
The Gretapaglia vineyard, led by Anotonello Canonico has brought back to life three hectares of abandoned vines and is very much invested in rediscovering local varieties, and ancient methods while reintroducing biodiversity in the area. Producing only 2000 bottles of Sciccu per year, with its smooth tannins, thyme and clementine notes, this orange wine is a truly elegant affair.
Last, but most definitely not least, we would like to introduce our latest addition to our natural wine selection. Also from Italy, this Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is a rare find.
The Ruvido vineyard, based in Chieti, Abruzzo, is run by Matias Di Marco and Alessio D’Onofrio. Both passionate about representing their region and balancing traditional techniques, very little intervention and rigorous fruit selection.
The “Ruvido Rosso” is a Montepulciano D’Abrruzzo through and through. To achieve this in as natural a way possible some experimentation was involved. As with all natural wine grapes are handpicked. This is followed by 8 days skin maceration and spontaneous fermentation, 50% in fibreglass and 50% in barriques (toasted oak barrels). It was found that by separating the process into barriques, it helped smooth out the tannins and create a much better rounded wine. As is also very common with natural wines the fermentation process then continues once the wine is bottled. Another great aspect of these processes, the wine will keep maturing and changing offering different tasting experiences as the wine ages. Producing only 5000 bottles per year the Ruvido Rosso offers juicy black fruit aromas, herbal notes and fine tannins. Pair this wonderful wine with our exceptional Charcuterie Board or our lovely Dambuster cheese.
We hope to have enticed you to try something new, or well, quite ancient in fact, next time you visit us!