To producers and wine geeks, natural wine defies precise definition: it can indicate an absence of additives and pesticides; a gentle handling of grapes and soil; or even the ancient methods of the biodynamic approach. But consumers only need to know this: many natural wines exhibit rich and unique character, as well as a strong sense of terroir. If you’re on the hunt for a memorable bottle, there’s a good chance that a naturally produced wine will fit the bill.
To get some recommendations for affordable natural pours, we turned to Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & François Selections, which specializes in naturally made European wines.
Domaine Binner Saveurs 2009 (biodynamic/$18)
"This floral and fruity white is light and versatile. Enjoy it with seafood, grilled chicken, and even mildly spicy Asian dishes."
Château Haut Lavigne Côtes de Duras Blanc 2010 (biodynamic/$15)
"Winemaker Nadia Lusseau belongs to a young generation of skilled female producers in Southern France who produce outstanding wines. This creamy white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion grapes complements light pasta dishes and young cheeses."
Chemins de Bassac Côtes de Thongue Pinot Noir 2009 (certified organic/$17)
"A great pairing for roasted pork and chicken dishes, this approachable, easygoing red boasts strawberry and cherry aromas."
Colombaia Toscano Blanco 2009 (certified organic and biodynamic/$22)
"Brief skin contact imparts a rare golden hue to this Italian white. Drink with hearty salads and casseroles."
Flos de Pinoso Monastrell 2009 (certified organic/$13)
"This powerfully fruity Spanish red is produced via strict organic methods. It’s a natural match for game meats, duck, and stews."
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2011 issue of JBF Notes, the James Beard Foundation member newsletter. Don't miss out on future articles; become a member today!