Do Natural Wines Age?
All myths have their start with some truth. And the roots of the “natural wines don’t age” myth took hold back in 1999. That’s when new naturals—mostly zero SO2 additions—started to ship out of France. Many were unstable to begin with. Adding insult upon injury, they ended up on warm sunny shelves which is death to most wines, natural or not. But in this case corks soon went popping. By 2003, transport and winemaking got better, but the reputation of wines that went bacterial and met early death stuck like Velcro on wool. I asked vigneron Thierry Puzelat, who was importing to the States in those days, what his memories of the wines back then were. “Back in the early days (90s),” he confessed, “wines died fast (includes some of mine) because they weren’t well-made. So many were made with a form of quick carbonic and quick into the bottle, and those had the reputation of an inability to age.”