8. Alternative wines
And by this we mean ‘orange wines’, ‘artisan wines’, ‘natural wines’ or ‘RAW wines’ – an attempt at elucidating the concept(s) can be found in the chapter on Sustainability. For we as yet have no precise definitions of these new – or in fact, old – styles of wine.
They share the tendency to forego added sulphur as much as possible, and the ‘winemaker’ interferes very little as the grape-must ferments into wine. Another salient element in common is the sturdy tannic structure, the result of either long periods of maceration or oxidative élevage techniques. And it is exactly these mouth-filling textures, in combination with fresh acidity and earthy fruit flavours, that often make these wines outstanding companions for modern culinary stylings. It’s not just the perceived need to follow fashion that causes these alternative wines to be recommended by many sommeliers in the most highly lauded restaurants and wine bars. True, that any generally applicable rule of thumb remains as allusive as does a unifying determination of concept, but it is certainly worthwhile to check in here once in a while to see what’s developing.