Top 10 Natural Wines of 2020

Natural wine selection at Portuguese wine bar

Wines of minimal human-intervention background, with nothing added to or taken away from including orange wines, pet-nats and chillable red wine

Photos & words by Natural Swill’s low-intervention wine expert – Eoghan Neburagho


Pet-Nats

Costadila Vini, ‘280 slm’ — Veneto, Italy

With Glera, Verdiso and Bianchetta grapes which are all indigenous to the region as well as the 25 day maceration on the skins makes the mouth feel creamy and full of tannins! The ‘280 slm’ is orange and fizzy, perfect for celebratory times.

There are no additions in the slightest to the ‘280’ slm and it has a mouth-watering lengthy finish.

Partida Creus, ‘Brutal BB’ — Catalonia, Catalan

This is a certified party starter, trust me, I literally know from experience. The ‘Brutal BB’ by Partida Creus is made from Bobal grapes which are the third highest cultivated grape in Spain, so there’s no denying it’s a fan favourite. What Partida Creus have done with the Bobal grapes in this cuvee is bring it to a whole new level, with a mouthwatering dry fruits-fizz to it. For me, this wine tastes like someone peeled an orange off its skins and mixed them skins in a glass of freshly poured, homemade strawberry-sherbet lemonade!

Anders Fredrick Steen, ‘La Femme a qui?’ — Ardèche, France

Anders is a retired sommelier from Denmark who gave it all up to go and make natural wine in the southeast of France. A rogue non-traditional winemaker, so you can’t be too surprised when you realise this Pet-Nat was co-fermented with apples! Once the picked Merlot and Cabernet grapes are ready to start fermenting @andersfrederiksteen adds harvested apples to the fermentation and that’s where things start to get super interesting!With a rosey peach appearance this hybrid sparkling wine is a fine blend between a rosé and a cider.

Domaine Durrmann, ‘Eden Edel (Zwicker)’ — Alsace, Franc

Anna and Andre Durrmann have been producing some of my favourite wines of 2020, their low-key, terroir-rich wines are suitable for any kind of situation and that goes the same for the ‘Eden Edel (Zwicker)’. This pet-nat is made from Sylvaner and Gewurztraminer grapes and is super fruit focused on the aroma and initial taste, almost like a mildly sour apple juice. As the wine grows it becomes more and more sophisticated in body, with a toned down acidic finish to follow. You can’t go wrong with this bottle of wine considering it’s also a 1 litre bottle!


Red Wines

Les Foulards Rouges, ‘Octobre’ — Languedoc, France

The grapes are 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache in the ‘Octobre’. It has so much integrity with every last mouthful, the aromas of sweet cherries and raspberries blew me away if I’m honest, so fragrant! It makes total sense that this wine comes from the Vin De France appellation as the grapes are bottled straight from harvest with no ageing whatsoever, every last drop packing a delightful punch. The ‘Octobre’ was also the last bottle of wine I drank at a restaurant in March before everything closed down due to COVID-19 so it’s safe to say I have a special bond with this particular bottle.

Bronson/Bouju/Clovis, ‘A La Natural’ — Auvergne, France

Considering Action Bronson was one of my first influences for natural wine a few years ago through his hit show Fuck That’s Delicious on ViceTV, it was a special experience to try a wine made by the Bronsolini man himself. Needless to mention, Patrick Bouju probably did all the hard work, so it’s an even bigger honour to drink such beautiful natural wine from a legendary winemaker like himself. Quite the gentle nose to the ‘A La Natural’. Light coloured red complexion which is just stunning! To taste there’s a very pleasant mineral feel, not too acidic, almost like a toned-down cranberry juice. Goes down a proper treat, tannin profile is present but not overbearing at all, this is an extremely harmonious wine with each element working perfectly together & a lengthy finish!!

Lammidia, ‘Montepulciano 10’ — Abruzzo, Italy

Montepulciano is a dark red grape variety native to Italy used most often in the Adriatic coastal region of Abruzzo where Lammidia is situated. The flavours of rich plums and wild berries are insanely concentrated and in your face which the volatile acidity (surprisingly) balances out very nicely. What felt like an ever-lasting grippy, pleasant aftertaste also showed signs of a well-structured very proper bottle of wine. This was a swaggy, complex, yet very sophisticated low-intervention wine that surprised everyone at the table with its mature, approachable personality. Not sure when you’ll see this vintage on the market so when you do, act QUICK as there will be a very scarce amount available!


Rose Wines

Alex & Maria Koppitsch, ‘Rozsa’ — Burgenland, Austria

A pure glou glou(chuggable), juicy rosé made from some of Austria’s favourite red-skinned grapes — Blaufränkisch, Pinot Noir, St. Laurent, Syrah, and Zweigelt! Very approachable at just 11% abv, almost too easy to drink… Especially enjoyed on sunny days in your (safe and distant) yard/garden. Designed without complications or the help from any chemical substances. Alex and Maria Koppitsch never fail to impress with their fun, juicy cuvees. This isn’t your typical bottle of wine to crack open around the Christmas dinner table , although it could be enjoyed anywhere in any season down to it’s simplicity.

Lammidia, ‘Rosato’ — Abruzzo, Italy

Often quoted as the two guys who produce fruit juice for adults, you can guess how this Rose was tasting right? Also only 10% abv so you know they produced this vino to be drunk young. Made from the region’s favoured dark skin grape, the montepulciano, the Rosato is quite tangy and minerally. Davide and Marco love their wines to be nicely acidic, which the rosato is! It’s aromas are pronounced and send reminders of freshly picked raspberries. I have no doubt you’ll polish this off in less than an hour with friends, or not…


White Wine

Sebastien Riffault, ‘Sancerre 09’ — Sancerre, France

The Sancerre from Sebastian Riffault is so impressive it just defies all odds against your typical Sauvignon Blancs! Should we expect anything less from the certified #natural wine don? There’s a misty, honey-inspired lemon juice appearance to the ’09 Sancerre that has a distinctive overripe fruity smell, almost like a stewed apple vibe… Not too intense but just right! With quite a few angles to the taste profile, it’s not your typical Sauvignon Blanc mouthfeel — a citrusy ripe honey taste, quite minerally and loads of aftertaste of crisp tree fruits which is complex and very long-lasting in the mouth. This is a very well structured, unique Sauvignon Blanc that has aged with nothing but grace from Sebastian Riffault!!

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