In a comprehensive and landmark tasting, Decanter’s expert panel blind tasted 122 natural wines from all corners of the globe. Here they each name their 10 favourites...
Natural wine is here to stay as a small but significant niche; the logical development of a back-to-the-roots movement that began with organic agriculture’s popularisation in the 1970s. It’s a term of convenience; two simple words to describe a complex, sprawling ideology that includes organic and biodynamic viticulture, minimal intervention in the winery, and sometimes radical views on sulphur dioxide.
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Simon Woolf: “I was delighted at the overall high quality of winemaking evident, and the lack of obvious faults. While I’m a strong proponent of minimal intervention, organics and biodynamics, I’m no lover of excess brettanomyces, volatile acidity or unintended oxidation. Only two of 122 wines tasted had a hint of mousiness.”
Andrew Jefford: “It’s impossible to ignore the extent to which this line of experimental enquiry is stimulating and intriguing even ‘conventional’ producers, so I’m convinced we will see more wine made in this way in future; I’m also convinced that the success rate of natural wines will steadily improve.”
Sarah Jane Evans MW: “Given the often heated, divisive debate around these wines, I was pleased to find plenty to recommend, scoring 32 wines 90 points or more. My top wines were full of energy and freshness. I was hoping to assess the effects of the containers used for winemaking, however there were not enough concrete egg or amphora examples to draw conclusions.”