The first day of FENAVIN started with an interesting trending topic, Natural Wines, which are those wines made by following the most ancestral wine growing tradition. Under the title of "Natural Wines, the True Wines of the Terroir", Julián Ruiz Villanueva, founding member of the Spanish Association of Producers of Natural Wines (PVN), along with Jørgen Ljøstad, producer of natural wines in the Italian Piedmont, Álvaro Marcos senior sommelier at the restaurant Home House Londres and Manuel Villanueva of the winery Bodegas Barranco Oscuro, revealed all the characteristics and the situation of these types of wine in Spain to all those attending the conference. The activity has been sponsored by Esencia Rural.
Julián Ruiz explained what is understood as a natural wine, which is any wine that is produced with the minimum possible intervention. The result is a true reflection of the soil in which the wine is born. The difference with regards to organic wines is that these are even more orthodox in that pertaining to the prohibition to use chemical and mineral products. "Our mission is to insist on simplicity and not use any type of product that distorts the product that is obtained from the crop."
Manuel Valenzuela of the winery Bodega Barranco Oscuro, also commented his experiences as a pioneer in the production of these types of wines. "We must recuperate the traditions that have been lost and add new conditions, without of course losing sight of nature."
Jørgen Ljøstad, producer of natural wines in the Italian Piedmont, then explained his experience as a Norwegian producer and importer, contributing with a more international approach. In the opinion of Ljøstad "it is important to explain what these types of wine are all about, because the consumer does actually like this wine. In this sense it is very promising in Spain, because there is an international trend leading to proliferation of these types of products."
The senior sommelier of the restaurant Home House de Londres underscored this trend, adding that "there are more and more natural wines all the time, as growth in the last five or six years has been spectacular and although drinking them for the first time is perhaps rather difficult, they can be paired with food quite easily."
About thirty wineries in Spain
According to the Decalogue of the Spanish Association of Producers of Natural Wines, currently formed by thirty wineries, these wines must comply with the following requirements: cultivation that is respectful with the environment; commitment with the natural surroundings; the vine grower is the author of the entire process andcontrolling the vineyard. In addition, all the work executed and taking all decisions; authenticity and singularity, referring to the prohibition to buy bulk wine and the defense of manual and artisan work, and finally, total sulfur dioxide (SO2) used cannot exceed 20 mg/l.
Julián Ruiz, founder of the winery Bodega Ecológica Bruno Ruiz, first winery to produce organic wines in the province of Toledo; founding member of the PVN Association and Director General of the Esencia Rural Group, which is specialized in the production of artisan products, advanced the market tendency to produce natural wines and food products. Ruiz affirmed that we are somewhat delayed in Spain in comparison with other producer countries such as France or Italy, despite which in La Mancha we could indeed obtain natural wines with more structure, elegant in mouth and nose and exceptional in quality.
"There is no doubt that Spain is a winegrowing country with great possibilities and potential, however, we are lacking in experience." In as far as consumption is concerned, we are currently seeing a trend, in which Europe seems to have a lead over us, towards organic, natural and biodynamic wines, all based on similar parameters, with some nuances, in their desire to obtain wine that develops the personality of its terroir and varietal, with all these producers likewise sharing a common criticism of the uniformity and 'industrial' treatment of wines.