The quality of “Made in Italy” wine is constantly growing thanks to the numerous certified labels that place Italy at the top of the European ranking. This is also demonstrated by the important Italian wine event, Vinitaly, now in its 54th edition. In Italy there is a great variety of vineyards from which wines with unique characteristics are produced, respecting the environment. Let’s find out what natural wines are and what characteristics they have.
What are natural wines
Italy has the largest variety of grapes in the world. Since 1986 the production of Italian wine has focused on quality and not quantity. Most of the Italian vineyards have been converted to organic. But what are natural wines? It is difficult to give a univocal definition of natural wine. The basis of natural wines is the knowledge handed down by artisan skills that vary according to the territory, which are difficult to replicate. Natural wines, unlike organic ones, have not yet obtained an official certification. A natural wine is made from organic grapes without the addition of other chemicals such as sulphites and does not contemplate the invasive processes used in the production of conventional and organic wine. The alcoholic fermentation process naturally produces small amounts of sulphites, without the need to add them. The only additive allowed in natural wine is sulfur: a preservative that stabilizes wine even in small quantities.
The characteristics of natural wines
At the end of the 1970s, the producers realized that, due to industrial production that chased the tastes of the public, wine had lost its character and was becoming a sweet and standardized drink. For this reason they decided to convert the vineyards to organic, to rediscover the character of the territory in the wine. The taste of natural wine, produced from organic grapes and without additives, is decisive, lively and vibrant. Natural wines are easily recognizable by their olfactory characteristics, with fruity and aromatic notes that vary according to the type of territory and production techniques. They have different colors, are more or less cloudy because they are often unfiltered, and have various levels of acidity with slight oxidations.
A natural vineyard is recognized for the biodiversity of the vegetation it hosts: flowers, plants and wild herbs. The winemakers protect the local varieties, in this way the plants are in balance and the vineyard is able to protect itself without the aid of treatments with great gains for the environment and for the palates of those who taste them.