Natural wines “not for the masses”

23rd January, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

One of the UK’s top natural wine importers has spoken out about the natural wine movement, comparing the wines to the works of Karl Marx.

“Natural wines require a critical approach. They’re a bit like the works of Karl Marx; not intended for the masses,” Giuseppe Mascoli of Aubert & Mascoli told the drinks business.

“Marx was writing for a specific audience with a sufficient level of knowledge to understand and appreciate his work. The same can be said for natural wines,” he added.

Mascoli, who represents over 35 Italian and French natural winemakers in the UK, told db industrial wines are like “cartoon characters” made to please children.

“People are trying to shortcut millions of years of history by manipulating wines with selected yeasts. I’d rather a wine have oddities than be tailor-made,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mascoli’s business partner, Guillaume Aubert, called natural wine “a silent assassin.”

“The more you drink, the less you can drink other wines. You start reacting badly to them, coming out in rashes and swelling up from all the sulphites,” he told db.

Aubert admits he is attracted to the libertarian element of the natural wine movement. “I like the idea of questioning the status quo. It’s very left wing,” he said.

He believes it has gathered momentum so quickly in London because the city is more prone to the effects of trends than the rest of Europe.

“Natural wines have come into fashion due to the rise of the critical drinker. Consumers want to know the origin of everything they eat and drink. There’s more awareness now,” he said.

Mascoil meanwhile, concedes that natural doesn’t necessarily mean good. “There are a lot of really bad natural wines out there. The wines are so delicate, it’s easy to screw them up,” he said.

“That’s the big irony with natural wine. It’s supposed to be all about letting the terroir talk, but make a mistake and it could taste like it was made anywhere in the world.”

Having submitted a work to last year’s Venice Biennale, does Mascoli see parallels with wine and art?

“On the contrary. I see wine as the opposite of art. God, the artist and the poet create out of nothing. The winemaker works with what is already in existence, acting as a pimp for nature, from the fruit he picks to the soil he respects,” he said, adding: “The winemaker is a shaman. He doesn’t create, he cures.”

The full interview with Aubert & Mascoli appears in the February issue of the drinks business.

6 Responses to “Natural wines “not for the masses””

  1. Sean says:

    If I buy a ‘natural’ wine and it doesn’t have a fault, can I send it back??

  2. Wow, the return of the wine snob. Go ahead and tell people they’re not sophisticated enough to enjoy a particular wine. Genius. Just sell your wine and leave the pontificating to somebody else.

  3. Ringo says:

    Comparing natural wine production to the writings of Marx? After how many glasses of Nicholas Joly did this absurdity roll out of his mouth?

    Then there is this piece of political ignorance: Aubert admits he is attracted to the libertarian element of the natural wine movement. “I like the idea of questioning the status quo. It’s very left wing,” he said.

    The terms ‘libertarian’ and ‘left wing’ are hardly synonymous. Using ‘libertarian’ and ‘classically liberal’ or ‘independantly minded’ would at least be consistent. For Aubert to tar the natural wine makers as left wing activist pimps of nature betrays the sloppy thinking that likely resulted after the second bottle of Chappoutier Cotes Rotie was finished. It is insulting to the people he purportedly represents!

  4. Lea says:

    Hi Ringo can I correct you:
    “Such scholars of politics as Noam Chomsky assert that in most countries the terms “libertarian” and “libertarianism” are synonymous with left anarchism.[13] It is only in the United States that the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative positions on economic issues” (for wikipedia). In france Libertarian is left wing anarchism, same in Spain, Italy, Russia, Germany and so on. Maybe next time do not use the expression “political ignorance.”.it is a tricky expression and it might backfire…

  5. Fabio (Vinos Ambiz) says:

    The proof is in the glass. The rest is just words, word, words! Maybe natural wines should be taken with a pinch of salt?

  6. boysie sing says:

    hi im an artificial marxist straightforwardly unnatural wine maker operating on mother europe’s southern left wing borderline piedfranco vineyards. i am investigating about the impact of uselessless in post modern languagelessness,and specializing in the heavyly overused,like NATURAL and such wring wing bred slogans. it sounds interesting,i mean it s very woody allen actually, to label something based on personal monetary interests in order to achieve the kind of comedic climax above what might shade as let s say, political suspicion. although i would have to express myself in a firm, or say unnaturally sharpened manner. that is, i much prefer struggling i mean wrestling with doubts while making wines, than living off what i too could decide to name-label it as. them,wines it is.whether unnatural or artificial – hey, you still following? natural wine is as natural as hitler might have too had in store for similar brand ideas,such as,erm, monster natural uh,impulsive killings seeded from his distorted natural views. that said, “poor giuseppe”as n’day once put it in her mild and forgiving Natural way. lucky her, she, unlike crusty-G, never dared to mention the “masses”. boysie sing, denmark.

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