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Natural Wine — What is it? And why do we love it so much?

If you’ve ever popped into our little temporary bottle shop (two weeks until it turn into a bar!) or you had a look on our webshop when it was online during the Delivery Days, you’ll have noticed our natural wine selection.

Spanning France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, we’ve had natural wines from all over the world on our shelves, from regions that you might never have heard of or drank wine from before. We love that. Finding unusual and amazing wine unexpectedly is a total joy and we will NEVER get bored of it.

But what exactly is natural wine? And why do we love it? Let’s have a bit of a chat about it.

Natural Wine is made with “low intervention”

When we say “low intervention” or even “low intervention wine”, what we mean is wine that’s been made with as little extra fuss and faff as possible.

Natural wine isn’t an official term (although some certifications are available… we’ll maybe talk about that another time) and it’s mainly used as a way to single out wines made a certain way.

Natural wine is essentially the way wine used to be made in the olden days: grow some grapes, squish them, let the juice ferment with it’s own natural yeasts, maybe filter it, store it, bottle it (maybe with a dash of sulphur, maybe not), drink it.

Some winemakers like to go a bit further and use Biodynamic processes to make their wine in connection to the land and things like the moon’s phases. We’ll write about that another time!

What’s “conventional wine”?

Wine you might find in the supermarket can still taste great, but it’s normally what you call “conventional” wine, meaning that it’s not made in a low intervention way. In fact, it can be made with a whole ton of intervention, from using reconstituted concentrated juice, to having additives added in to improve flavour, colour and texture. And that’s not even mentioning additional sugar, preservatives, co2 or the unnatural pesticides and fertilizers used on the grapes as they grow.

We aren’t against conventional wine. In fact we sell some, sometimes. We choose our wine based on how it tastes and how much we can appreciate the care and attention to detail the winemaker has given their wines from vineyard to table. 

What we often say is that we choose mostly natural wine because this way of making wine can prove that the winemaker has thought about every aspect of the winemaking process, and is making the best possible wine from the raw materials at hand — and that’s what really excites us about wine anyway.

Natural wine at Corto

When Corto opens as a bar on Friday 4th June 2021, we’ll be serving natural wine alongside a huge range of natural cider and craft beer. To us, each of these tasty things is just as important as each other.

Natural wine can be a little more expensive compared to mass-produced wine, and so we’ll be selling a range of different wines by the glass (BTG) every week to give you the chance to try them. Making delicious things accessible is something we’re really keen on at Corto and often a whole bottle of something unfamiliar can seem offputting. 

Come in for a glass and see what you think — wine shots will be available too if you can’t make your mind up!

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