Natural wine is booming in popularity. Not just great for the environment, these minimal intervention wines are delicious and bring new flavours to the table. Australian winemaker Fourth Wave Wines has recognised the appetite for new and exciting wines in the market, and have been working with Australian brands like Little Giant, Wild Folk and Cowpunk to showcase drops that sate the demand.
So, what is natural wine? Typically, natural wine is made with organically or biodynamically farmed grapes, meaning they are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals. The grapes are hand-picked and then naturally fermented without the use of additives. Overall, natural wine can generally be defined as wine made with as little human intervention as possible, so it’s as natural as possible.
There’s a lot of history in natural wine, as it’s how many varietals were made before science got involved and perfected the art of winemaking. While many modern interventions have fine-tuned the art of winemaking, there’s something quite special about the imperfections of natural wine. They add interesting and exciting twists to the flavour palette of the bottle, making for a great discussion as you enjoy a bottle with friends.
One of my favourite varietals of natural wine is Petillant-Naturel, more commonly known as Pet-Nat. I once heard a rumour Pet-Nat is the OG Champagne, created on accident back in ye-olde-times when winemakers didn’t understand the relationship between fermentation and temperature. The best way I can describe Pet-Nat to those who haven’t tried it is like alcoholic kombucha – absolutely delicious. Perfect for enjoying on a sunny day with friends is the Cowpunk Pet-Nat, filled with fruity flavours and plenty of energy. It’s the embodiment of natty wine, being organic, vegan, preservative-free and, of course, 100% natural.
For a cold wintery night, look no further than the Little Giant Free 2021 Grenache. Smelling of raspberry jam and tasting of red fruit and subtle spice, it’s the perfect thing to warm you up without being too heavy. This drop has been hand-crafted with minimal intervention, ensuring it’s natural, organic, biodynamic and certified sustainable.
Is it even an article on Australian wine without a Barossa Valley Shiraz? One of Australia’s most iconic varietals, Wild Folk have taken this wine list staple and given it a natty twist. Wild yeast fermented, vegan-friendly, preservative-free and unfiltered – it’s nothing but pure Barossa Shiraz grapes at their finest. Dark berries, spice and soft tannins fill each mouthful of this wine, just waiting to be paired with a charcuterie board or chargrilled meat and veg.
Not just delicious, natural wines are also very approachable for those new to the wine world. These three wines are all under $30, proving you don’t need to spend loads of money to get a great bottle of wine. You can pick them up at leading and independent liquor stores Australia-wide.