Organic, rustic and authentic; natural wines are made with as few artificial processes as possible. Because they are fermented with wild yeasts, each bottle tastes delightfully different. Here are five to get you started.
1. Harkham Windarra Winery (preservative free) Aziza’s Shiraz 2017, Hunter Valley, NSW
A fresh, rich, flavoursome shiraz, filled with brightness and real vibrancy from a perfect vintage. The wine has silky soft tannins with a subtle backdrop of classic hunter valley earthiness that we all love.
“The stone cold classic shiraz from Harkham, and wow, haven’t their wines come a long way since I first tasted them. Has some meatiness and weight but holds great freshness and feels bound in a web of silty tannins. There’s real presence in the palate, richness, but very good balance and a fine, fresh finish. So very nice to drink.”
2. Scarlett Bubbles – $22, Tamburlaine Organic Wines, Hunter Valley, NSW
Named after the winemaker’s granddaughter, this drop is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before – because it’s a sparkling rosé with the sweetness of a moscato! Complete with fresh strawberry and raspberry aromas, Scarlett Bubbles is a bit like grand-daughter Scarlett herself: sweet, one of a kind, a little wild and great fun!
Tamburlaine Organic Wines pride themselves on producing some of the most delicious, preservative-free vinos in Australia – and from what we’ve tried, we tend to concur.
3. Architects of Wine 2017 Lagrein – $32, Adelaide Hills, SA
Lagrein originates for Northern Italy in the Alto-Adige region up near the mountains bordering Austria. What’s a fairly unfamiliar variety in Australia, It’s actually ‘cousins’ genetically with Shiraz so appeals to Shiraz drinkers and people who like Italian styled wines. The Architects of Wine 2017 Lagrein is full of ripe dark plum fruit, earthy minerality, hints of beetroot and a strong acid backbone of structure. What comes across initially as quite a heavy wine is decidedly medium bodied and fresh.
The fruit from Langhorne Creek was handpicked with 30% whole bunches included in the fermenter. Allowed to spontaneously ferment it was hand plunged daily for 2 weeks before being pressed to old French Oak Hogsheads & Barriques. It remained in barrel on its fermentation lees for almost 12 months before being racked to tank for bottling. Unfined and unfiltered with no additions apart from a tiny sulfur addition at bottling.
4. Gentle Folk Wines, Adelaide Hills, SA
Gentle Folk is one of Watkins’s favourite wineries – their wines are clean and refreshing, but also soft. “They make some lovely clean styles of wine,” he says. “Natural wines can sometimes be a bit animalistic, but you can also get a lovely prettiness in them.”
5. Sparrow & Vine Eden Valley Grenache 2017 – $28, Eden Valley, SA
This vintage from Sparrow & Vine is showing the juicy, dark raspberry fruit of previous years but with the spice is in there too, pepper and more deeper Asian and nutmeg notes. Fine textured and svelte mid palate, lots of juicy raspberry and cherry flavours with no overripe jammyness at all. Quite dangerously drinkable.
Notes from Sparrow & Vine:
“The season was particularly kind with cooler temperatures leading to a longer, more even ripening period and later than usual pick on March 27. As with other years the grapes were hand picked and hand sorted through the crusher/ destemmer with some bunches left whole to add some structure and complexity. The natural yeasts were then left to do their thing. It was pressed out to old french oak barrels for ageing.