Natural Wine Recommendations? Does that mean organic, without additives, low intervention? Well, Doug Webster is the Glasgow based entrepreneur who has recently launched a totally au naturale wine company and is definitely the expert to ask. Having once been a chef and restaurant manager in Paris, Doug is now living la aqua vitae!
I looove wine. But I love nice wine. That doesn’t mean pricey and pretentious. I like what I like. And you other vino appasionati will have specific characteristics that attract you to wine; bold, unadulterated tannin rich chianti or charming, rounded, oaked white Burgundy. More recently the trend in the wine market has even included an extension to the middle ground. No longer do we only have a gentle crisp rose for lunch, there is the choice of orange wines too. And then there’s traditionally produced or more natural. It’s a minefield, or rather a complex heady vineyard…
Fear not dear Westender. Your Christmas table SHALL have the best wines Glasgow has to offer! But don’t take my word for it. Baregrape Wine is a brand-new company selling fully natural wine. The brainchild of Baregrape director Doug Webster, his previous experience having lived and worked in France sets him in good stead to know a thing or two. So what brought him to natural wines?
Doug says, ‘I have been a natural wine lover for years and having visited many small vineyards throughout France whilst living there, I knew that I wanted to bring the wide-ranging variety of options available in places like London and Paris to Scotland.’
So, what IS natural wine? A completely different experience from the norm, no chemical interventions are allowed during the full process of wine making literally from vine to bottle. With little or no additives during the fermentation process, the end product is quite different in flavour from the “normal” wine we are familiar with. Ethical too, natural wine production promotes biodynamic farming practices and is a strong proponent of small independent vineyards and winemakers. Doug explains.
‘Natural wine, for me, is the only way to enjoy wine as what you have in the glass is wine in its purest form. Untampered with fermented grape juice… Natural wine has boomed in popularity in the past few years, and I am very excited to be showcasing some of France’s more unusual grapes.’
The grape he has chosen for his first 4 varieties of wine come from the Pepin Vineyard, Alsace on the French/German border.
Doug says ‘Whilst working as a chef in Paris I spent most of my time off travelling to the French wine regions to meet natural winemakers, Alsace being my favourite. I stumbled across Pepin quite early in their project and loved their wines and philosophy – to make natural wine accessible for everyone.’
And this Doug has succeeded in doing. His first 4 wines are a big hit already with the likes of the West End’s Sylvan and Crabshakk restaurants. In red, white, orange and Pét-Nat varieties, we can easily work our way through them during the festivities! Doug adds “Orange wine is simply white wine made in the same style as red wine. So instead of pressing the grapes and taking the juice directly, as you do with white wine, the skins stay in with the juice and macerate anywhere from 1 day to months at a time (mine is 10 days).
What this does is adds tannin, texture and colour to the wines resulting in a unique more full-bodied wine.
Pét-Nat comes from the French term petillant naturel (naturally sparkling). It is made differently from other sparkling wines as there is only one fermentation which takes place in the bottle. This leaves sediment in the bottle which helps the wine develop interesting textures and flavours. It’s one of the oldest methods of making sparkling wines and is called “method ancestral.”
As an aficionado of vino of the bubbly variety, I can imagine this might be one to sample. For research purposes, of course…
It’s clear with his passion and enthusiasm for natural winemaking Baregrape will become bigger and bolder. And his love for this artisanal method is clear . ‘What you have is a true expression of the winemaker and the terroir, creating juicy, complex drinkable wines’ says Doug. ‘The French call it ‘glou glou’ – to describe wines so refreshing and quaffable, they spend less time in the bottle and more time poured into your glass!”
And on that note Santé!
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