This is an accompanying feature to our in-depth interview with Isabelle Legeron, founder of the RAW Fair natural wine events and a lover of delicious specialty coffee. It's not enough just to talk about lovely natural wines—we want to give you some recommendations as well. In her excellent book Natural Wine, Isabelle Legeron includes several suggestions to seek out if you're looking to taste some natural wines at home. Here's a lucky seven we're fond of, with quotes adapted from Legeron's must-read book.
Each wine is listed first by winemaker, then by label name & year, region & nation, and grape variety.
Henri Milan, Cuvée Sans Soufre 2010—Provence, France—Grenache, syrah, cinsault
“A hugely popular, very-easy-drinking, no-sulfite red…pure and fragrant.”
Shobbrook Wines, Mourvédre Nouveau 2011—Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia—Mourvédre
One of Australia's leading natural wine producers, this wine is “bottled with some residual natural CO2, which gives it a dash of spritz and keeps it young, fun, and fresh.”
Our Wine, Rkatsiteli 2012—Kakheti, Georgia—Rkatsiteli
The nation of Georgia's winemaking tradition is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, and is a huge inspiration for natural winemakers around the world. This wine is made “following a very ancient recipe, dating back thousands of years, which sees skins, pips, stems, and juice left for six months in a qvevri (or kvevri)—a large clay jar that is buried underground. The result is both intensely floral and tannic.”
Radikon, Ribolla Gialla 2007—Friuli, Oslavje, Italy—Ribolla gialla
A remarkable orange wine from Italy, its color and texture the result of extended grape skin contact in the winemaking process. “This is a wine of brutal complexity, and a depth of flavor that is both cold and bold, almost stoic in character.”
AmByth Estate, Priscus 2011—Paso Robles, California, United States—Grenache blanc, roussanne, marsanne, viognier
Legeron calls this “a wholesome, herbal wine that is utterly delicious.” AmByth produces 100% estate wines, meaning they grow everything they crush. The degree of care and authenticity found in AmByth's wines make them stars in the small, growing North American natural wine world.
Donkey and Goat, Untended Chardonnay 2012—Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge, El Dorado (California)—Chardonnay
Urban winemaking is hot right now in America. Donkey And Goat buy grapes from across California and make memorable, unfiltered wines at their warehouse in Berkeley. This is not your mom's easy-sipping chardonnay; Legeron calls it “almost spritzy, and a little waxy.” Donkey And Goat's Claim Jumper unfiltered rosé is similarly marvelous.
Domaine Julien Meyer, Nature 2012—Alsace, France—Sylvaner, pinot blanc
“Nature is one of the most accessibly priced natural whites,” says Legeron, “light and fragrant, its texture is almost honeyed, though bone-dry.”
Jordan Michelman is the co-founder of Sprudge.com. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge.
Quotes and suggested wines adapted with permission from Natural Wine by Isabelle Legeron, published by CICO Books.