As winemaking styles converge and indigenous grape varieties give way to international ones, it seems sometimes that the very element we prize most in wine – its irreproducible individuality – is giving way to homogenisation (writes Isabelle Legeron MW). Not so with Les Caves de Pyrene's Real Wine last month. This organoleptic extravaganza, which essentially featured wines from France and Italy (the European hotbeds of the natural wine movement), rekindled taste buds by showcasing 300-plus 'weird and wonderful' wines that have personality to say the least. This yearly trade event is the largest natural wine tasting in the UK, and given the killer combination of wines made using organic and/or biodynamic practices in the vineyard, low-intervention in the cellar, and a good number of unusual grape varieties, you know you're about to embark on a remarkable tasting adventure the minute you see the wine list. However, be warned, some won't be like anything you tasted before and may well challenge your perceptions about what a wine ought to taste like. Natural wines are anything but conventional. They're made without adding yeast during fermentation, have very low levels of Sulphur Dioxide, and are neither fined nor filtered. These are Les Enfants Terribles of the wine world. They're so thrillingly different that choosing my 10 best was a challenge. So, my top tip, keep an open mind and enjoy!
Written by Decanter