These days on social media and also around events there is a lot of talk about natural wines. I myself have just returned from the 'I Drink Like This' which was held last week in Milan. So, tasting two wines from Caruso & Minini, a winery I have already had the opportunity to appreciate for a marvellous sparkling wine that I put in my 500 Bubbles in 500 Sparkling Wine Guide, I decided to take the opportunity to write this article. Then, when the controversy is over, I will also tell you about these two wonderful 'Naturally Organic' wines that I am tasting as I write! ?

Last night a post appeared on the Sommelier Facebook group by a 'phantom prophet' telling us that so-called non-natural wines will disappear within three years because wine lovers will only drink natural wines within that time. No more than a week ago, I read an article by a lawyer-blogger condemning so-called non-natural wines with a series of jibes that would make any person who loves and understands something about how wine is made revolt. Then there's me, who I normally make my own caps and I am neither with natural wines nor with traditional wines. So I really want to write my opinion about it and doing so while tasting this Catarratto DOC 'Naturally Organic' by Caruso & Minini is even more enjoyable!

First of all, what is meant by natural wines? I take the definition of the French Association at face value:

 "obtained from organically or biodynamically grown grapes, also self-certified, harvested by hand (the producer, by signing this Charter, accepts analyses for possible pesticide residues and sulphur dioxide levels); solely from spontaneous fermentation (without added yeasts or bacteria) with a total sulphur dioxide content at bottling of max. 40 mg/l for all wines, regardless of residual sugar content; without the addition of any additives or oenological aids during vinification, maturation and ageing; without brutal and invasive physical treatments (reverse osmosis, tangential filtration, pasteurisation, cryovinification or thermovinification, sterilising filtration, etc.).)".

The same Vinnatur says that a natural wine is: 'true, sincere, organic, biodynamic, passionate, authentic, simple, rich, human'. The prophet advocate of natural wines last night, for example, said that a non-natural wine is like a singer lip-synching, and that he likes the off-key tones if they are true. Oh my God! But why does a wine lover like me have to read such rubbish? Why? Then we are talking about people who maybe buy biscuits, pasta or other industrial foods at the supermarket eh! Dear natural wine Taliban, you have broken three quarters of a barrel with your lucubrations in a defence of natural wines that, in my opinion, only ends up devaluing them. Let me explain: if you start with the assumption that in a natural wine there are faults but, being natural, it is justified, I, for example, if I were the producer of this natural wine that I am drinking now, would be very upset. Because I am drinking a good wine that has no faults because in the vineyard and in the cellar they have worked hard to make a good product. The supporters of natural wines who say that the passion is in that peasant wine stench that makes my nose wrinkle don't really like wine!

Let it be clear that I am absolutely against illegal chemical practices... but they are ILLEGAL! And then I want to make a shocking revelation to all the Taliban of natural wines who fear chemistry: even water is the result of a chemical formula! Ssssssh don't tell anyone, please....

As I anticipated as I write this I am drinking a glass of Catarratto DOC 'Naturalmente Bio' by Caruso & Minini. Now, that I have a soft spot for Sicilian wines is a well-known fact, and also that I have a soft spot for Catarratto and Nero d'Avola. But these two wines are really good and don't stink! When I hear these speeches, I imagine the Romanaccio saying: '.A man, to be a man, to stink". Translated to wine, what does it mean? That "the wine, to be wine, to 'dda stink'? But also NO! Wine must be made well, in the vineyard first and in the cellar afterwards. I don't want to hear about defects. Then I don't support wines made from a mould, far from it: I really like to feel the work of the winemaker who has interpreted the grapes he has carefully cultivated. And if a good wine is also an organic or natural wine, let it be clear: I am even more satisfied! I love Nature (don't give me jewellery, give me wine and orchids!), but I hate the Taliban, whatever 'creed' they support.

Having come out in favour of good wines, I will also take the opportunity to tell you about these two wines that I am drinking right now and which, together with the Facebook genius (and lawyer blogger), inspired me to write this article:

Caruso & Minini 'Naturalmente Bio' Catarratto DOC 2017

Cryomaceration, temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel. Maturation in stainless steel on the lees, and a further 2 months before release. Pale straw yellow and brilliant. The nose is fragrant, with the typical scents of Catarratto. Ripe exotic fruit dominates the nose: mango, papaya, pineapple and an increasingly intense passion fruit. In the mouth, it is soft, very fresh, with a distinct and very pleasant acidity. Persistent and endowed with a structure and a persistence and power of flavour that makes it suitable for multiple pairings. The first that comes to mind is with langoustines, but I assure you that I made an aperitif with round Sicilian chillies stuffed with tuna and anchovies and it was a real treat!

Caruso & Minini 'Naturalmente Bio' Nero D'Avola DOC 2016

Maceration on the skins for 20 days at a controlled temperature of 25°C. Malolactic fermentation in stainless steel. The 50% matures in 225-litre barriques for 2 months. Then a further 2 months in bottle before release. A beautiful, transparent ruby red with purple highlights. On the nose, at first, there is a lot of barrel for my taste, but after an hour or so that it was open, it was enriched with lovely fruity notes. In the mouth it is really pleasant: soft, nice tannin, great acidity, easy drinking and good persistence. I would pair it with a nice barbecued fatty fish! I have a craving for eel....

natural wines

Here for me the only flaw is the label, which I appreciate being in Sugar Cane instead of paper, but it did not hold the moisture perfectly. In my defence, however, I must say that these two poor wines wandered around with GLS for a week since they insisted that my address did not exist or I was not at home... blessed couriers!

After tasting them I went on the Caruso & Minini website to take a look at the pecunia: these natural wines both cost €12 and shipping is free above €99. Well, if you're in the mood for Sicily, I'd give it a thought: but only if you add the Delia Nivolelli Spumante that I put in my wonderful Sparkling Wine Guide 500 Bubbles in 500! This sparkling wine costs only 13 € and if you try it, I promise you will be really enthusiastic... even if it is not 'Naturally Bio' like the other two! By the way, from the director's office Andrea of Caruso & Minini tells me that there is a coupon code with the 10% discount for new customers: WELCOME18 ... and it also works with traditional wines!!! ?

No whatever, but I'm a bit of a controversial person, but you know and love me anyway, don't you?



PS If you do not immediately buy your copy of my Sparkling Wine Guide 500 Bubbles in 500 the onion you have in the fridge could get offended and release penzotrombone, which is a very dangerous CHEMICAL substance... mamma mia if I think of penzotrombone... I get the shivers... I once had a friend who offended an onion and I won't tell you what happened to him... (if you really want to know, I'll tell you in a comment!) Do you know Chef Germidi who plays Crozza?

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