As most of us start the new year feeling a little more health conscious, Sean Millar of Pruno Wines embraces the world of natural wine…
MADE FROM ORGANICALLY GROWN grapes and free from chemical preservatives, natural wine is fermented with minimal intervention in the cellar to produce wine in its purest form. The lack of additives even makes natural wine less likely to cause a hangover.
Although natural wine is one of the fastest growing wine trends, small artisanal producers have been using the same process for thousands of years.
One of the most amazing natural wineries I have come across is Castell D’Encus, situated high in the Catalan Pyrenees, at 3,900ft. The wines at Castell D’Encus are fermented in three different types of neutral vessels – wooden, stainless steel and natural stone.
The stone vats, which are still used today, were carved into the rocks by the monks of the Hospitaller order in the 12th Century.
Clay soil with low organic content and the extreme temperature contrast between day and night allows this winery to make extremely high quality natural wines.
In my view, some of the best natural wines are emerging from Spain, with 3.10 Celler in Mallorca leading the way. The winery, which boasts more than 16 hectares of ecologically cultivated vineyards, is named after the Bible verses from 3 to 10, the chapter of the gospel of Saint John, where Jesus turns water into wine.
Once relatively niche, the resurgence of natural wine feels more like a return to authenticity, often tasting fresher and more characteristic of the area where it has been produced. It’s growing popularity is hardly surprising given the rise of similar food trends such as plant based diets, clean eating and fresh, seasonal cooking.
There are some excellent natural wines around with many of the world’s best restaurants choosing only to serve wines made from organic or biodynamic grapes.
3.10 CELLER RUC
A red wine for any occasion. Ten months in oak gives this delightful wine a beautiful toasted intense aroma with hints of wild berries and an elegant pomegranate colour. Named after a mythical Mallorcan animal, the Ruc is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, a combination that isn’t commonly associated with Spain.
3.10 CELLER SITRA
An unusual blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Prensal Blanc and a tiny bit of sweet Giro. This white wine, which takes its name from the Mallorcan word for ‘bicycle’, has a beautiful pale straw colour with just the right amount of citrus and a powerful burst of fruit, helped out by the Viognier.
Quite simply, a stunning white wine. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, this wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels to give it real body and a complex character. It also has a slight acidity, which being a natural wine, helps it to age well. Like all natural wines, this one must be stored under suitable conditions and temperatures.
3.10 CELLER ESTEL ROSADO
A beautiful dry, pale Mallorcan rosé. Light and crisp with aromas of the citrus fruits that grow on the island. This wine is made predominantly from the Syrah grape but blended with a small amount of the Mallorcan Callet grape, which brings delightful aromas.
MELIS CELLER PETIT SAURI
A perfect aperitif, this wonderful Spanish white is a blend of the Macabeo grape and the Xarello grape. The Macabeo grape brings a mild acidity to the wine, which also has hints of subtle Mediterranean white flowers with rich ripe peach and apricot flavours.
MELIS CELLER SAURI RED
A wonderful intense purple coloured wine with notes of plum jam and red fruit. The ripe tannins provide a pleasant silkiness. Primarily made from the popular Garnacha grape, grown on 80 year old vines.