It's pretty easy to dismiss natural wines as a hot-pants kind of trend if you forget that it's been a three-decade strong movement that finally went viral. So, dismissiveness is discordant, as discordant as waving by the local and sustainable movement, which while not 100% attainable, is changing the way we eat. And while most of the WAPO piece was thoughtfully written, the underlying message was confusing and contradictory. Was he trying to say, 'natural wine is a powerful force, and while some are great, I don't understand the excitement.' If so, that would have been a useful takeaway for the reader, for his readers. It is another opinion. Another set of tastebuds. We can't all appreciate the same wines and it's important for a reader to know where their wine critic stands. Some might well wonder why I get upset about under reported pieces on the topic? Because for some crazy reason I care deeply about the category of natural wines because of the people who make them, the care and passion that drive their metier and the pleasure they give me and my friends. This world is one I've been committed to for over a decade, have spent an insane amount of time drinking, thinking, walking, talking and visiting and hammering out the issues. And so, it's professional and it's personal. When I used to be a Morris Dance foreman (long story) and the new crop of kids came on to the team, I was equally dismayed that they had no connection to the tradition of the Morris, they looked at the movements as fun or a great way to pick up guys, and lost the connection to the past. But even in that world---in dancing for god's sake--there are the fanatics, the moderates and the humanists. To pick up on the genre of natural wine and dismiss it as a fad, might be an illustration of why critics like A.O Scott have questioned the demise of the critic. History is important. Context is essential. But I digress. Back to second graf: He: 'There's a Gallic defiance of the European Union's standardization of regulations, which is seen as undermining France's strict defense of tradition and quality as the homeland of fine wine. And there's more than a soupcon of resentment against New World (read 'American') wines and their flirty fruitiness that renders them wines of the masses rather than wines of character.' + Me: Anyone in any country under the EU making real wine (or cheese) is anti-EU, and count me amongst their numbers even though I do neither. The movement started before the EU was installed, while the franc was reality and not nostalgia, and before the French were even aware of American wines. The movement started as a local reaction against chemical farming and flavor manipulation through wine school techniques. Natural was a rejection of chemical and manipulative fakery in the vineyard and the winery and started around 1978. the piece continues.. ++ He: 'And there's the rub: The minimalist approach of the natural-wine movement, taken to its extreme, can be an excuse for bad winemaking. Without human intervention, wine naturally turns to vinegar. The most controversial tenet of the natural-wine movement is the rejection or extreme minimalization of the use of sulfur dioxide during fermentation and bottling.' --- Me: Taken as a religion, taken from his highness, big daddy of the movement, Jules Chauvet, the first order of natural wine is that it must be beautifully aromatic. Wine must give pleasure. This would knock out those unstable stink bombs that used to be more prevalent in the natural wine world. Pleasure is Chauvet's golden rule. True, we've seen natural winemakers (and some merchants) defend some very badly made wines claiming terroir and minimal intervention and natural at all costs in the same way that crappy organic produce in the 70's was organic at all costs even though the vegetables were awful. But the question here for me to Dave is why hold natural winemakers to a higher power than conventional winemakers? Isn't he in fact talking about all wines? How many winemakers who make a wine so fruit forward it makes cavities, talks to me about terroir? There are unscrupulous people everywhere. Organic, vegetarian or natural does not give immunity. Neither does the AOC, AOP, or certification. Dave concedes the best of the naturals are exciting, and if these wines make the conventional world rethink their farming and techniques, it's a good thing. Pass the bottle! But the fact that he ends up with .. He: 'But why reject all the winemaking advances of the modern era if they help us avoid the occasional stuck fermentation, correct an acid imbalance and ensure that the wine reaches the consumer in the best possible shape?' Me:...Here is the big point of departure for me. If the best of the wines are exciting and gorgeous, why view conventional means of winemaking at all as 'advances?' Some think that adjusting for nature is okay. Naturalistes deal with the issues by preventing the problems. Matching the best grapes to soil and climate. Adjusting the trellising and positioning of the vine, perhaps using goblet. The idea is to manage your viticulture so you don't have to adjust. But as to why 'reject?' The reason is quite simple, because when it comes down to it, those of us who love wines made with no additives believe they are an unparalleled experience and simply put, most of us arrived to this preference because we think they taste better. To hell with the EU, the trend, the anti-establishment stuff, this is about taste first, philosophy second.