Bert Celce has an excellent new post on a debate between the French Parker, Michel Bettane and one of the old guard vin naturel folk, Marcel Richaud. I've been struggling to understand the French recording but Celce did a lovely interpolation for us. Give it a read. Bettane has been quite vocal over the past few years about the dangers of natural winemaking. He denies the category and seems to fear it. You can read the L'express article for yourself. This is a deeply complex debate. Recently many wines made naturally and are true wines of terroir have been rejected from AOC status because judged atypical. They might not have the density or the intense artificial aromas of what is considered typical or standard. This has resulted in a slew of wines being bottled with VDP or VDT (or now called IGP) status instead of carrying the name of the town and region they are from. By opting to make wine outside of the 'standard,' these winemakers have spearheaded the debate and even a breakdown of the status quo. In other words, revolution. It's no surprise that the beginnings of natural wine as a movement is connected to soixante-huit. As with any revolution, emotions tame, hormones stop raging, the rough edges mellow and those who crash the gates and the change becomes the establishment. That might be exactly the reason people like Bettane are getting so emotional about natural wines. They are threatening their life and their pocket, because there is no doubt about it, the vin naturel is changing wine and wine thought. On the podium Bettane spouted the 'dirty hippie' rhetoric, portraying natural winemakers as the great unwashed, their wines are dirty, the wines unstable and might as well carry typhus. There is something primal in this rift. If we can solve the issues here, I swear we can achieve world peace. The way Mr. Parker is a lovely man, I hear the same thing about Mr. Bettane, as long as politics aren't discussed. Two years ago at VinExpo I attended the Bettane 'best' wine tasting. All were top rated, to my palate, fruit foward wines that held no interest and were controlled within a centimeter of their life. There were no thinkers there, they were all made by large companies or by people who had plenty of marketers and money behind them. There wasn't one exception. (I just threw out my tasting notes, so sorry. But you know, Cheval Blanc, Valandraud, etc.etc.) This fall I met Pierre Overnoy at his home in Pupillon and it was there he said to me with great and passionate gentility, "The problem with wine isn't politics, it is business."