Sunday, September 1, 2013
Wine Naturally is back!
You might well have wondered if I’d given up on natural wine since it’s been a year since I last posted. The answer is no - I’ve quietly carried on drinking it, every so often thinking I must write about it but getting side-tracked by other projects and commitments. Let’s call it an unannounced sabbatical.
The commitments (mainly my website) still exist so why restart a blog that had quietly died the death? I do ask myself that and shall probably live to regret it over the coming weeks but here are the reasons:
* The debate over natural wine hasn’t died down. It’s still resented and vilified, caricatured as faulty and undrinkable. Some is, of course but that is true of conventional wine. There are wines on supermarket shelves I wouldn’t drink if you paid me. (Well, perhaps if you paid me enough and I could spit it out.)
* Natural winemakers - and organic and biodynamic ones - need the public support of those who drink and enjoy their wines. As one Chablis winemaker, Thomas Pico told me the other day. “You do feel at times as if you’re the only one out there.” If this blog goes some small way to make them feel there are wine critics who appreciate what they do I’ll have done my job.
* I think there’s an audience for it. OK, a small one but a passionate one. A couple of people I respect have asked plaintively what’s happened to the blog. I couldn’t give them a reason - other than lack of time - for not keeping it up.
* Natural wines are growing in popularity, despite the naysayers. The three very good restaurants* we ate at on our way back from Languedoc last month all had natural wine lists. Natural wine has become the 'talk of the town' in Sydney and 'mainstream' in Tokyo, according to bloggers I'm in touch with on Twitter.
* I still find the subject fascinating. I was in Germany last week looking at organic and biodynamic vineyards and talking to the world’s only professor of organic viticulture at Geisenheim university. There’s no danger of running out of things to write about.
* My husband Trevor says he will post too. I’m holding him to this. It’s the only reason I’ve started the blog again, T.
So here we go with a bright - OK, garish - new look which I’ll try and do something about if I can find someone to apply one of the more stylish Blogger themes. Any offers?
Next posts coming up on the extraordinary Jean-Pierre Robinot, Pico, this year's Chassignolles wine fair, the German organic wine scene, yeasts and Trevor’s review of Clark Smith’s Postmodern Winemaking. He promises . . .
* the Auberge de Chassignolles though that is closing for the summer, hopefully not for good, the brilliant Les Grès at Lindry which I’ve reviewed on my website and La Cour de Rémi at Bermicourt, a great stop-off before taking the Channel Tunnel.
Oh, and the photo at the top? Not me but a striking picture I found in Johan Reyneke's tasting room in Stellenbosch. That's another great domain to write up.