Natural wine is a term that once caused a lot of controversy. Does it still? The principles of natural wine are clear, but applying the term to specific bottles becomes problematic. A natural wine becomes not a natural wine exactly when? With the addition of SO2 in the tank? That would leave out a lot of obviously natural wines. There just isn’t a prescription.
This does not invalidate the term. Natural wine is related to not natural wine – or spoof – in that it is farmed, fermented and aged within a relatively more thriving and diverse ecosystem. This means both macro and microbiological. And it matters because natural wines are more interesting and more pleasurable to drink than spoof.
So why spoof? Spoof is a good way to eliminate the risk of wine flaws. Also spoof appeals to short attention spans.
Spoof and natural wine are expressions of fashion in wine. In a world of weird natural wine with flaws, spoof might be a welcome correction. The reverse is certainly true too.
Next we have to talk about specific treatments and how they affect the flavor of wine. We can make this interesting by using illustrations. Get ready.