There are five specific categories in the makeup of natural wine that have helped the movement achieve such widespread popularity. If you are a wine drinker (or not) who is just getting started with natural wine and doesn’t know where exactly to start, we highly recommend you take the time in getting to know these five important categories of natural wine; Orange wine, Glou Glou, Pét-Nat, Piquette and Amphora made wine.
All sound like jargon?
Don’t worry, continue to read on and we will introduce each of these five styles, as well as provide you with an example and a description of what to expect from the five most popular natural wine styles.
Orange wine is a white wine that’s made like red wine. How so? Well, the grapes are left in contact with their skins during fermentation. Winemakers can leave their grapes in contact with the skins from a few hours to months. This process is identical to the red winemaking process, the only difference is that orange wine requires white grapes and red wine requires red grapes. Check out the different styles here on our website. When drinking an orange wine you should expect color, tannins similar to red wine, a mineral-like texture and numerous concentrated flavours.
A French noun-turned-adjective that mimics the word “glug-glug”, Aaron Ayscough from Wine.Sprudge.com describes the term as “representing both the sound of liquid leaving a bottleneck and of the rapid gulping of said liquid”. Glou-glou described wines are easily chuggable, impossible to put the glass down, and seductively delicious! They tend to be young and fresh, designed to be drunk early with an average ABV of around 10%. Check out different styles or glou glou natural wine here on our site.
Pétillant Naturel's i.e Pét-Nat’s have been produced for centuries in a very particular method, the méthode ancestral to be exact, a process that requires the producer to bottle the wine before the fermentation has finished. Carbon dioxide is then produced in the bottle from the leftover sugars on the grapes, leaving you with a deliciously light sparkling wine! From a Pét-Nat you should expect different flavours from different grape varieties, although you can be assured to come across a delightfully elegant sparkle from any bottle of Pét-Nat you decide to pick up. Check out all the sparkling options here on our site.
Piquette comes from the French word ‘Piquer’ meaning ‘to prickle’ which stems down to it making your tongue tingle from its ever-so-slight fizz. Like most great wine-related ideas, Piquette originated in France when winery workers during the harvest season would finish their day pressing and were allowed to bring the remaining grape pomace home. At home, they would repress the grape pomace, then add some water to re-ferment the remaining grape juice, resulting in low alcohol, diluted wine. Piquette has a famously low alcohol percentage, with a very discrete sparkle, the rest of the flavors will depend on what grape pomace the winemaker decided to use. Check out the different piquette options here on our site.
Put simply, amphora wines are aged and fermented in a large, egg-shaped clay vessel as opposed to the more commonly used concrete or metal vessels. There is a lot of history to Amphora’s as they were one of the first ageing vessels to grace the wine industry almost 8,000 years ago in Georgia. During fermentation amphora’s pull out acidity, allow oxygen exchange, and provide superior insulation...all factors that contribute to a much more well-rounded, smooth-finishing wine! Check out the different styles of amphora wines here on our site.
If you are ever feeling daunted by natural wine and what comes with it, we would suggest most of all that you start working your way through these five main categories first.
Because the natural wine movement has become so much more than just a ‘hipster trend’ you would read about on the back pages of Bon Appétit magazine. Natural wine is now one of the most popular drink trends of the last decade, that is not going anywhere, any time soon!
Holly Berrigan is the Founder of MYSA Natural Wine. She has a WSET Level 3 certification with Distinction, is a member and writer for the Porto Protocol and Slow Food USA, and is a student in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge.