Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/55305

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Page 73 of 159

NATURAL SELECTIONS Naked Wine What's in a name? That's something natural and organic winemakers in California and the Pacific Northwest are pondering as they strip their wines of excess chemicals and let the grapes do what comes naturally. BY JULIE BESONEN A food product labeled "natural" is more ambiguous than helpful in most instances, with no third-party certi- fication to give the term solid ground. Yet natural does have meaning for winemakers, boutique retailers and oenophiles thirsty for authenticity in California and the Pacific Northwest. But what, exactly? Mark Ellenbogen, who oversees the organic and biodynamic wine list at the farm-to-table restaurant Bar Agricole in San Francisco, puts it bluntly: "I take the word natural seriously. It means don't put a bunch of crap in it." Natural wines are made with minimal "Nothing added, nothing taken intervention. away," says Alice Feiring, the author of the recently released Naked Wine (Da Capo Press). They are often subtler in flavor (not fruit bombs) and lower in alcohol. "When you're talking to one of these farmers—the French call them vigneron—it's clear it's his artwork, it's his soul," Feiring explains. "They love to drink and hang out. They work with the soil and have dirt under their nails." Feiring would welcome people echoing the title of her book—naked meaning an exposed, vulnerable yet true style of winemaking—in describing these stripped-down wines. 72 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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