One of the best trends in the wine world over the past decade has been the emergence of bespoke wine bars. These innovative establishments are attracting a younger clientele and offering their talented owners and sommeliers an opportunity to introduce drinkers to an exciting array of new, innovative wines rarely encountered in your average bottle shop.

Certainly the growing interest in natural wines is due in part to the proliferation of wine bars in the trend-setting capitals of Paris, London and New York. In each of these cities, you will now find several wine bars which focus almost exclusively on natural wines.

In Sydney, Fix St James sommelier and owner Stuart Knox has created a high quality, eclectic wine list, which includes a a good number of international and Australian natural wines.

Not that the labels on the wines necessarily announce the wines as ‘natural’. As far as I can tell, no-one has come up with a precise definition for natural wine. Rather, the term tends to signal boutique wines made with minimum intervention (eg. fermentation with wild yeasts and only a minimal amount of sulphur dioxide added just prior to bottling).



DOMAINE_SIMHA_RANI_grandeLast week Knox introduced members of Sommeliers Australia to some of his top natural wine picks. His choices ranged from the crisp aromatic, medium-bodied Coal River Valley Domaine Simha Rani Riesling 2013 – a delightful biodynamic Tasmanian wine made by Burgundy trained vigneron Nav Singh, to the bone dry Casa Coste Piane Valdobbiadene Prosecco  – cloudy in appearance because it’s one of the few Proseccos made in the traditional Champagne method where the second fermentation happens naturally in the bottle, but in this case with no disgorgement prior to release.

While natural wine makers may eschew the use of additives and sophisticated technological manipulation of … Read the rest