Risqué or wholesome fun? In our journey of mindful wine discovery, we love exploring alternative wine styles. While you will likely be aware of organic and biodynamic wines, are you familiar with natural, minimal intervention, lo-fi, orange and skin-contact wines? If you’re uncertain about what these actually mean, you’re not alone! Below we explain these more natural winemaking styles and why less can sometimes be more. Because who doesn’t love going au naturale every once in a while?
Going Au Naturale: Natural Wine
Natural wines use grapes that are farmed organically and many growers are also biodynamic in the vineyard. At the harvest stage, the grapes are handpicked and the wine is made without adding or removing anything during winemaking. Natural wines are unfiltered but don’t be put off by a little sediment and cloudiness at the bottom of the bottle! If the fruit is good, you can expect a fresh, honest and interesting wine that is uniquely individual. And because they do not include preservatives or additives, it’s best to drink them young.
Can’t Touch This: Minimal Intervention Wine
Minimal intervention wines are produced by mainstream, conventional wineries so they are not organic or biodynamic per se. Like natural wine, minimal intervention follows a process that aims for no additions with nothing taken away, but some sulphur dioxide is still added at the time of bottling for the purposes of preservation. The easiest way to understand minimal intervention wines is to think of mainstream winemaking that has adopted a ‘less is more’ approach.
Thinking small but acting big: lo-fi or small-batch wines
True to its name, we’ll keep this explanation short and sweet! Small batch or lo-fi wines are in the same realm as minimal intervention wines but tend to be made by smaller, boutique or family-run wineries that create handcrafted wines with honesty and care. These wineries may be organic or conventional and use minimal sulphites.
Orange and skin contact wines—not as weird as they look!
Although some may believe this is a new trend, the process is one of the oldest winemaking style dating back several hundred years to Slovenia and Italy. Skin contact and orange wines are actually the same and are made from white wine grapes. Just like how red wines get their colour from staying on their skins for longer, skin contact wines get their colour from keeping their skins on during the fermentation process. In mainstream white wine production, the juice is quickly moved off the skins when it goes into the fermentation vessel to ensure colour from the skins is minimal. With skin contact wines, the skin can stay in contact with the juice for days or even weeks. This causes the wine to achieve an orange hue which gives them their name. These wines come in a wide variety of flavours. Some can be quite mouth-filling, heavy and tannic, but the best examples show beautiful aromatics and elegant tannins.
Interested in exploring mindful wine?