It's amazing how hot under the collar people get about the subject of natural wine. My post in the Guardian today has attracted a huge number of comments as has my tweet flagging it up on Twitter.
What prompted it was the fact that two Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi of Hibiscus had launched a wine list this week about 90% of which is composed of wines that could be referred to as natural. A significant step for a chef of that standing.
The list was put together by Isabelle Legeron a French Master of Wine, a firm believer in natural wines for personal reasons. Her father, a vigneron in the Cognac region died 10 years ago from lung cancer. He didn't smoke and Legeron attributes his death to the extensive spraying of vineyards in the area. A number of his fellow vignerons have died prematurely as did Yannick Chenet in the report I highlighted here.
This is an emotive subject. Winegrowers who take care with their crops but who are not organic or biodynamic feel understandably aggrieved that their wines could be regarded as 'unnatural'. Biodynamics to be honest does sound like a lot of mumbo-jumbo. If you come across a wine described as natural that tastes more like cider you may feel inclined to dismiss them in general. There are good and bad winemakers in the natural wine world just as there are in conventional winemaking.
But surely it can only be a good thing to raise the bar? For all producers to use fewer chemicals and less sulphur? If the natural wine movement means that more people respond to this demand all to the good.