Pollution, Pornography and “Natural Wine”
As everyone knows, “natural wine” is the same as pornography. You can’t define it, but you know it when you see it. But if you are searching to find the smallest difference between pornography and natural wine, it’s this: Where movies are concerned, no pornography can be a truly great film. However, only “natural” wine can be truly great wine.
This according Isabelle Legeron, a leader of the “Natural Wine” movement and author of the coming book, “Natural Wine”, as reported at Wine Searcher. WineSearcher.com reports that in Ms. Legeron’s new book, she proclaims that only “Natural” wine can be truly great. The irony, as you’ve already guessed, is that we have no definition of “natural wine”.
You see the conundrum, I’m sure.
“Natural wine” is an idea, not a thing. Misunderstanding this fundamental distinction is the first mistake that Ms. Legeron and other proponents of “natural wine” make. “Natural wine” is an idea that has possessed artisan winemakers for decades, if not centuries: that wine can be special and even indicative of a unique time and place when a winemaker makes a conscientious effort to farm grapes and craft a wine into a lens.
It is as a result of missing this important distinction between idea and thing that leads Ms. Legeron to the absurd claim that only “natural wine” could be truly great.
Ms. Legeron second big mistake is that she appears to believe that only in the past few years has this idea of wine as a lens ever been pursued; that for the past 30 or so years, wine has been nothing more than a chemical soup and not reflective of the soils and place where the grapes were cultivated. She is making the amateur and youthful mistake of believing she and her cohorts have stumbled upon something new, something to which her elders were oblivious. As it always has, youth breeds hubris and Ms. Legeron’s inexperience allows her to miss entirely the hundreds of winemakers across the globe who observe her claims that the pursuit of terroir-driven wine is the holy grail and reply, “happy you could join the party, young lady.”
The third big mistake that Ms. Legeron and other champions of “Natural Wine” make is not demonstrating their most important claim: Only “natural wines” can be reflective of terroir, let alone “truly great”. But we can forgive them for making this mistake since, again, we have no definition of “natural wine”.
The ongoing promotion of the claim, piled upon claim, piled upon more claims for this idea called “natural wine” has become truly pornographic and a source of pollution within the wine world because it causes even more confusion and misinformation among consumers and the trade. If Ms. Legeron and her fellow travelers truly want to do the wine world and wine consumers a favor then the chimera that is this thing called “natural wine” needs to be expunged from the wine lexicon.
“Artisan Wine”, “Vins Minimals”, “Wines of Terroir”…These and any number of other phrases would more aptly describe the decades-old terroir bandwagon upon which Ms. Legeron and others have hopped and tried to rename using a deceptive marketing term.
Until then, the only thing that the champions of “natural wine” are qualified to dub “truly great” is the deception they are attempting to carry out.