While most will agree to really get to know a wine you’ve got to drink it, consume it, let it fill you. But, sometimes the perfect pairing experiences are small sips with tiny bites of food. Such was the case in a wonderful lesson in what are called “Natural Wines.” I learned a lot.
The Wine: Three very delightful, distinctly different wines made in the “Natural” way.
The Food: Tiny bites to contrast and compliment.
The Place: Astor Center, NY City’s pre-eminent forum for experiencing wine, liquors, beer and food, and the beautiful people who make them.
The event Natural Wines 101 was a part of Astor Wines 10th Annual Natural Wine Week. Natural is a word that has been stretched and abused to the point where it has very little true meaning. It was great to get to know what it really means in the context of wine.
Presented by the entertaining, exciting and enlightening Andrew Fisher, president of Astor Wines, and son of Astor Wines founder, Edwin Fisher, we traveled through the world of “Organic” and Biodynamic” in Andrew’s words “down the rabbit hole” and back out again. We learned a lot.
Once all wines were “Natural”, there was no other way. But, as Andrew explained in clear detail, then came along the age of “better living through chemistry” which in the end destroyed the natural essence of the land.
Our first wine Etrah Bianco Toscana, Poggiosecco, a beauty of San Colombano and Trebbiano, is a delight that was paired with a bite of roasted Yukon potaoes in a lemon vinagrette. With flavors of citrus and orchard fruits it would pair with young cheese, cured fish and other antipasti. The wine maker Poggiosecco is among the founding members of Biodynamic Toscani. Which lead to a discussion of biodynamic farming, which of course had to begin with organic. Unfortunately in attempts to regulate organic has become a term that is defined differently from place to place.
Biodynamic, a term I’ve heard, but did not know what it really meant, goes back to the work in Biodynamic agriculture of Rudolf Steiner in the 1800’s which embraced "a holistic understanding of agricultural processes.” Very interesting approach.
Next we tasted “La Mule”, Dom. Chahut et Prodiges, from winemaker Gregory Leclerc. It has” delicate, medium-bodied Gamay with flavors of strawberries, blackberries, musk, and spice. The finish is long and soft with a lightness that dances on the tongue.”
Paired with a sweet Sopressata from Beretta. So tasty.
Lastly we enjoyed "Carignator 3", by Jean-Marie Rimbert, a "powerful yet elegant Carignan with dried red fruits and stony minerality" with a black olive tapenade. Domaine Rimbert
All these wines had remarkably crisp and lively characteristics which is the very essence of “Natural” wines. Why, because they are created by enabling nature, through organics and/or biodynamic farming, and doing as little as possible to the wine during production, letting nature speak.
Wines like this vary from year to year as does nature which makes them perpetually interesting and exciting to explore.
Astor is very committed to this special wines and takes great care to bring them to you . Astor Wines
At Astor Center there are great classes and tasting events every week, learn more here: Astor Center
Learn more about Natural Wines here jennyandfrancois.com