Because of bitchiness between Italian natural wine factions-- ViniVeri and VinNatur-- many unhappy winemakers defected to the corporate side. This meant that they actually crossed the threshold and showed their wines at ViVit. This was the Vin Italy's (the huge Italian trade show's) attempt at relevance. They aimed to give some space to wines that are natural and organic.
The verdict from those who went? Thumbs up.
Drama followed. Sunday, when the likes of Arianna Occhipinti and Alesandra Bera were pouring for tasters, suits walked in and tried to catch a thief. These guys were the same fraud squad that snagged the Bulzoni wine shop in Rome back in June. The authorities demanded proof of farming and practice just to be sure there was no fraud perpetrated on the public.
Meanwhile, over in Spain, no squad has trained natural wine in their crosshairs--yet. But the unnaturals are taking advantage of the natural-free- for- all. It could well be the basis of a Luis Buñuel film.
Case in point? Two wine events. Coming right up in Spain, one real, one pretend. Both embody the fight for the sole of wine that just won't quit. Let's start with the fake. Part Two: Talk about burying the lede! When in Italy, Vincent Poussin linked me up with this abortion of justice. May 13th is the day for Vinum Nature - Barcelona.
VN-bcn is a must for everybody who wants to enjoy organic, natural and biodynamic wines from out nearest wine appellations. A gathering space where wineries and its people bring us closer together with a glass filled with sceneries, land and the soul of its wines.
I'm the first person to say that I don't mind the word natural, there's no other word that really works as well and no word is iron clad. But to see the names like Condonui and Paris Balta included and only one biodynamic producer (and a very conventional one at that)?
Forget about natural wine. This is natural travesty.
All is not lost.
A few years back I was held hostage in Ribiera Sacre by the "golden nose. " I was not happy having spent the day with a spoof wine instead of my original plan. But the bonus was, at the end of the day, I found out that my fellow hostage was one of the brothers of Can Roca in Girona and we shared similar palates. Some bond was forged. And yesterday I received this email from Josep Roca of Can Roca in Girona.
The world of wine in Spain evolves, and day by day is closer to the grape and further from the systemic products. I wanted to tell you about this slow by persistent progress in the sensitivity of many producers of our country. Little by little, that conversation you and I had driving on the way back to Santiago, is meaning to me the germ of a new hopeful reality to spanish wines: more pure, fresher, more daring, without any make-up, more sincere and authentic."
So, two tastings, side by side in Spain, one real one fake. Which side will win? I have my hunches. Do you?