Naked Wine by Alice Feiring
Naked Wine is a book from natural wine guru Alice Feiring continuing her campaign to highlight the need to return to natural methods of making wine. The subtitle "Letting grapes do what comes naturally" says it all really!
Her stories of trips to famous vineyards only to find dead soil and vines damaged through overuse of chemicals made her first book an international best seller.
In this book she explores the world of natural winemaking from a personal perspective and chronicles the highs and lows of her journey.
Click on the Amazon link above to order this book.
The Dirty Guide to Wine: Following Flavor from Ground to Glass
The Dirty Guide to Wine is essentally a guide to rocks, soil and grapes and how wine changes with soils and rocks. Alice tackles the thorny topic of the sensation of minerality in wine in this book as well. We have written about this at some length over the past ten years as we know that it is impossible for geological minerals such as calcite, feldspar, mica or quartz to actually be absorbed through the roots of the vine and on into the grapes. As an example, some feldspars in granite are four or five centimetres long!
However the work done by bacteria in breaking down rocks and forming soluble salts is worth exploring when looking for the explanation of why tasters can identify different mineral-like flavours in wine.
If you want to know more you need to read this book!
Jura wine by Wink Lorch
Wink Lorch is an expert on the Jura region and her new book is packed full of information about the people and places in this fascinating wine region that we never tire of visiting. All the favourites are there whether it be Jean-Francois Ganevat, Philippe Bornard, Michel Gahier, Domaine de l’Octavin, Jacques Puffeney, Domaine Rolet, Renaud Bruyere and, of course, Maison Pierre Overnoy.
She also describes the history of wine in the Jura, the grape varieties (tackling the issue of Melon le Queue Rouge versus Chardonnay), the geology of the area and the differences in soil from one village to the next. She also lists her favourite places to stay and places to eat and drink.
She includes some of our favourites such as Bistro des Claquets in Arbois which we always head to for lunch or a drink in the evening. Les Jardins de St-Vincent (now closed) which was a shop and wine bar that had an excellent selection of natural wines from throughout France, Essencia in Poligny which is one of the best places to buy Comté cheese in France as well as dozens more places for you to explore.
This is a must-have book for anyone interested in these jewels of the French wine scene or who is planning on visiting the region.
Follow the link above to order the book.
Authentic Wine: Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking by Jamie Goode & Sam Harrop
Authentic Wine: Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking by Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop is an interesting book exploring important topics in the realm of natural wine.
Chapters are devoted to topics such as Terroir, Grafted
Vines, Biodynamics and Organics, Chemical and Physical
Manipulation, the Natural Wine Movement, Yeasts, Wild and
Cultured, Wine faults, the Carbon Footprint of Wine and
Marketing Authentic Wine.
This is not a polemic and it does not set out to convert people to drinking natural wines. Rather as the authors say in the introduction:
"this is a practical book, driven by curiosity and a passion for interesting wine. By coining the term authentic wine, we aim to differentiate between wines that are headed in the direction of homogenization, and wines whose origins have their roots in terroir, which are made from appropriately right fruit, free from faults and made sustainably. We believe the future of the global wine industry depends on a push towards more authentic wine.."
We enjoyed the section on the Natural Wine Movement a discussion of which rightly starts off in the vineyards and wine bars of France. The authors summary of what is regarded as a natural wine mirrors our own check points with sulphur being the one area where proponents vary in their approach. But the authors do at least understand that there is such a movement and that the vast majority of participants in the movement are striving to achieve the same ends. The authors rightly point to the pivotal role played by Jules Chauvet in this movement.
The only chapter that jarred on us was their chapter on commercial versus natural yeast. We see commercial yeast stamping indelible flavours totally unassociated with the flavour of the grape or the terroir of the vineyard on the wine that is subjected to this treatment. We will not call a wine made with commercial yeast natural. We understand that in the New World winemakers have come to depend on the consistency and convenience of commercial yeasts. That is fine if that is what they want to do - but don't call the wine natural.
But there is still lots to enjoy in this book and the authors have been relatively even-handed in picking their way through the delicate politics of natural versus industrial winemaking. However we like the fact that they don't talk down to the reader and if a concept is difficult they still present it and provide good explanations to help the reader through.
This is well worth reading to get an understanding of why so many people are moving to natural or authentic wines.
You can click on the link below to order the book.
Land and Wine: The French Terroir by Charles Frankel
This book is a good introduction to the terroir and wine styles of the main French wine regions. The regions covered, in order, are Savennières and the broader Anjou region, Beaujolais, Alsace, the Mâconnais and Pouilly- Fuissé, Corton and other Burgundy regions, Sancerre and the Upper Loire, the central Loire including Bourgueil, Chinon and Saumur, Provence, Languedoc, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Rhône valley.
Now you might think it odd for a book about French wine
regions should start with Savennières (even though it is an
amazingly beautiful place producing wonderful Chenin Blanc wines). However there
is a reason.
The author concentrates in the book on the geology of the regions and how this contributes to the terroir, so he starts with the oldest rocks of all, the ancient Silurian schists, basalts and rhyolites that form outcrops in this stunning area and date back almost 450 million years.
For each of the appellations covered there is not only a description of the geology and other elements of the terroir such as aspect, vegetation, climate and soils, but he also includes a handy table with a summary of wine types and production details and even other information such as best serving temperature and the ageing potential of the wines. Some sections of the book are particularly interesting.
For example in the section on the Languedoc there is a fascinating account of the life of Saint Benoit d’Aniane and his contribution to the growth of the vineyards in that area in the late 8th Century. There is also an excellent section on the terroir of Saint Chinian (with its ancient slate which is so conducive to the production of great Carignan wines) and the dinosaur skeletons that have been found here. (We think he may have a dinosaur fetish because he also writes about dinosaur eggs in the Marseille area in his section on Provence).
The section on Provence is also interesting because he covers some of the lesser known areas such as the Cassis appellation where we have often tried some beautiful white wines that go so well with the local seafood dishes such as bourride. He also points out that this appellation covers less area than Central Park in New York! This is a highly readable book and well worth adding to your library.
Follow the link above to order the book.
Real Wine: The Rediscovery of Natural Winemaking by Patrick Matthews
This is an interesting book that tackles some of the big issues about the way in which modern farmers treat their vineyards and the grapes produced by those vineyards during the winemaking process. It is a yearning to return to less destructive methods of farming that drives the issues raised in the book.
In fact, in the Introduction Matthews references the Georgics - poems written by Virgil during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus, which plea for a return to the virtues of their ancestors in their agricultural pursuits including winemaking.
It is also a plea to stop the use of agri-chemicals in vineyards to ensure that the most precious part of the process, that of healthy soil, is reestablished.
This book is well worth a read.
Tasmanian Licence No: 58292
Under the Liquor Licensing Act 1990 it is an offence:
for alcohol to be delivered to a person under the age of 18 years.
Penalty: Fine not exceeding 20 penalty units ($3,080 as at, July 2015)
for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase liquor.
Penalty: Fine not exceeding 10 penalty units ($1,540 as at, July 2015)