Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just because a wine is natural doesn't mean it's good

I've noticed that some people get quite aggressive when you say you like natural wine. What they tend to do is to think of the most bizarre example they've come across - if indeed they've tasted any - and conclude that you have no taste. But of course there are good and bad natural wines - or at least wines that appeal more or less to one's personal palate - just as there are with conventionally made wines.

So here, for the record, is one that didn't do it for me: Le P’tit Scarabée 2009
from Isabelle Frère, in Sorède down in the Roussillon.

I wouldn't say it was bad, just unbalanced. It's a curious colour for a start - almost as pale as a Poulsard (though it's made from old Carignan, Grenache Gris and Syrah) and oddly sweet - a bit like drinking blackberry juice. It's not typical of other Roussillon wines I've tasted (which I tend to like) so it doesn't strike me as particularly expressive of the Roussillon terroir either.

I bought it from my local wine shop for about a tenner but it sells for more than that on everywine.co.uk where it's £99 for six bottles. So while not expensive, it doesn't strike me as particularly good value for money.

Could be that it hadn't been transported or stored in ideal conditions but I wasn't impressed. My husband on the other hand quite liked it so there you go . . .


  1. According to Régis Picon in my village unsulphured red needs to be stored at 14 deg. As I mentioned before, his wine goes off to climatically controlled storage in Montpellier. Most UK wine shops are probably at 21 plus for 60 hours a week. Some wines seem to be tougher than others.

    Sometimes the sweetness goes with violent swirling or shaking in a decanter - it seems to bring out other elements that balance the wine on the palate.

  2. Helpful comment, Graham. I'm aware of the temperature issue you point out (will do a longer post on this sometime soon) although to be fair many of the natural wines I've tasted must have endured similar temperatures.

    Interesting solution too. I tend to decant for funkiness, will now try it for excessive sweetness too!

  3. you should try "sur un nuage" from the same vigneronne. (blue label instead of the orange one)
    very, very good wine.