Let's talk about natural wine
photograph above by Chelsea Laine Francis
It's been our pleasure over the past year to cultivate what I think is a truly wonderful and pretty unique wine list that focuses exclusively on what the French have taken to calling "vin naturel". Vin Naturel, or natural wine, is a broad category that describes an approach that limits specifically chemical intervention in both the agricultural and fermentation/production phases of wine making, as the wine makers seek to emphasize the full possibilities of their specific geography (terroir) and the grape varietals they use.
While there are no specific rules for Vin Naturel wines, most wine makers start with organically or biodynamically raised grapes which they harvest by hand and process without the use of additional sulfites. In contrast, most contemporary commercial wine makers use a variety of chemicals - particularly sulfur - to stabilize wines and achieve consistency in their product. I believe Ralph Waldo hit it on the nose when he said, "consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." Natural wine makers, as a group, are exploring what all that chemically induced consistency has been covering up - for the curious, the results can be quite rewarding.
We've all really enjoyed growing and developing our wine list - I've tended to focus on defining the approach, while our general manager Hall makes the specific wine choices. *Update, our new beverage director, Betty Cole, has been curating the wine list so Hall's focus can on management!
I hope you'll come see us this weekend, and if you're feeling adventurous, let us suggest something fun and maybe even a little offbeat from our wine list. We love sharing what we've been up to.