Anthony Rose: 'Natural wine polarises opinion'
Stand up the man who complained on the Radio 4 Food Programme about "the sheer profusion of wines available from so many different countries and grape varieties and different takes on winemaking". What's wrong with lots of choice?
Among the classics at this year's London International Wine Fair, we were treated to wines from Turkey, India, Georgia, Russia, Israel, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Canada, Mexico, Lithuania and Brazil. From the Wine Gang stand, we selected our Best in Show (thewinegang.com/reports/detailed/ editorial/2012/6).
If that weren't a sufficient reminder, the LIWF was preceded by two natural wine fairs, the RAW Wine Fair and the Real Wine Fair (RWF). Mixing consumer and trade days, the atmosphere at both RAW at the Truman Brewery and RWF in Holborn was exhilarating.
Natural wine polarises opinion not just because of a vagueness of definition but because the-less-done-to-wine-the-better approach can on occasion lead to vinegary wines. The hit rate at both fairs, though, was higher than many a mainstream wine tasting, even if the handcrafting of natural wines can sometimes make them pricey.
Among many favourites, I enjoyed the 2009 Millton Vineyards Te Arai Chenin Blanc, Gisborne, £13-£14, Harrods, Wholefoods, Quel Vin, Glasgow (01413 373441) for its vouvray-esque stonefruit and honey flavours. The 2010 Matassa, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Blanc, around £29.99, Bottle Apostle (020-8985 1549), Roberson (020-7371 2121) was a superb dry-white blend of grenache gris and maccabeu.
For its damsony-fruit quality, I enjoyed the 2009 Teroldego, Foradori, Vigneti delle Dolomiti, around £18.99, Theatre of Wine (020-8858 6363), Vagabond Wines (020-7381 1717); and I loved Eric Texier's 2009 Brézème, Côtes du Rhône, £15.49, Pont de la Tour Wine Shop, Wine Therapy, Cowes (01983 298222), which mingled black-pepper fragrance with spicy fruitiness. For an in-depth look at RAW and RWF including more than two dozen wines, see anthonyrosewine.com.
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