Natural Wine

Oxidized wines

The September 2009 issue of Imbibe Magazine features an interesting article about the growing interest in oxidized wines. Co-owner of New York City restaurant L’Artusi Joe Campanale is quoted saying:

These are not ‘in-between’ wines… All the fresh fruit aromas and tastes diminish, making way for cooked or candied fruit; nutty, yeasty flavors; and a ton of complexity. Fans of these wines find their individuality and character is unsurpassed and, because of that, they are some of the most fascinating and compelling wines in the world.

Not surprisingly, the story starts off with the most famous oxidized fortified wine known to man: sherry. But it also discusses lesser known non-fortified (mildly) oxidized wines such as the classical Rioja wines from Spain, a tradition that is still kept alive by patient producers such as López de Heredia. The prime example of non-fortified wine is of course Vin Jaune, the “yellow wine” from the Jura region in France. The Imbibe article mentions some other developments and producers that would have been appropriate in that context such as the natural whites made in the Friuli region in Italy by winemakers such as Damijan, Gravner, and Radikon.

Interestingly enough, the article features Portland’s Liner & Elsen, a wine store with a decent selection of Jura wines, Cabernet Francs from the Loire, and sherrys, indicating that Portland is not just a good city to purchase traditional lambics, but also to locate oxidized and “wild” wines as well.

Expect more coverage of Jura wines in 2010 after the author has visited Château-Chalon and Arbois in France.