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The term ‘vin naturel’ was revived in France in the 1980s to describe wines that use ‘natural’ fermentation with little intervention in the winemaking process – often with unpredictable results. Critics have described so-called ‘natural wines’ as tasting sour, farmyardy, like stale cider, or just faulty; and that there is no certification. But there are also enthusiasts who like their distinctively different character. Organic wines are different – they use no pesticides or artificial fertilisers. Biodynamic wines are different again - they are usually (though not always) organic, but incorporate mystical beliefs together with the ecological practices; many growers really do plant cow horns, stags’ bladders, and more besides.
Whatever your opinion on the rationale, there is a consensus that many biodynamic wines are of good quality, well–made, and often characterful. If you're in the market for a glass of plonk with a twist, here are the best natural wine bars in London.