Joly: Natural wine means nothing

22nd May, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Biodynamic pioneer Nicolas Joly has blasted natural wines as “meaningless”.

Speaking at the RAW wine fair in London yesterday organised by Isabelle Legeron MW, Joly told the drinks business: “The term natural wine is nothing more than a drawer in which to put all the winemakers who didn’t make enough effort to convert to organics and biodynamics.”

“Those naming themselves as ‘natural’ wines are going to have a huge problem in five years and are going to find it extremely difficult to sell their wines,” he added.

Joly feels that now organic and biodynamic wines have become trendy, everyone is trying to jump on the band wagon.

“Natural wine is an empty concept devised for capturing a market.

“What is ‘natural’? All wines are natural. If you do nothing in the cellar you will have a natural wine but it won’t necessarily be a good wine to drink.”

Joly believes the subject of sulphur use – crucial to the natural wine movement – has been over discussed and incorrectly communicated.

“It all depends which sulphur you use. A small amount of volcanic sulphur is actually a good thing for a wine.

“Wines destined to be shipped abroad that want any kind of life span need sulphur to protect against oxidation – they can’t survive without it,” he said.

“It’s pointless trying to fight the sulphur issue – you just have to find the right one,” he added.

Explaining how biodynamics works, Joly, who runs biodynamic property La Coulee de Serrant in the Loire where he makes three wines from 100% Chenin Blanc told db:

“At a physical level, biodynamics can’t work. It works in tiny quantities as a receiver on an energetic level like using a phone to connect to a friend. Being biodynamic connects a vine to that which it needs to express its full potential,” he said.

Joly revealed to db that he believes sound frequencies have a positive effect on stimulating yeast during fermentation.

“I play a specific note to my wines in a specific spot of the cellar at a specific time during fermentation. Sounds dominate matter and stimulate life but very little is understood about it at the moment,” he explained.

He also believes shape is more important than material when it comes to fermenting and ageing wines, citing amphora, which are still used in Georgia, as the best shape for maturing wine.

4 Responses to “Joly: Natural wine means nothing”

  1. John Radford says:

    Some years ago I was given a CD by the late José Estévez of Bodegas Marqués del Real Tesoro in Jerez. He had hired a geneticist to unravel the genome of his yeast, and then a composer to write music using the genetic map as an inspiration. He then went on to play the music to the fermenting wines. His argument was that if you talk to plants it improves their growth, so playing music to the yeast might have the same effect. “And if it doesn’t” he finished, philosophically, “at least the winery staff have something pleasant to listen to.”

  2. Mike Tommasi says:

    Nicolas Joly postures as a guru and criticizes natural wines, yet his own Coulee de Serrant is like roulette, sometimes you win big, but you often end up disappointed … when you open a bottle of the Coulée, it can be astoundingly good, or it may end up in the sink.

    Joly writes and says loads of ridiculous things. Here is a good example from his website (my translation):
    “By reducing water to H2O one totally obscures the complex, beautiful, subtle system which created a special affinity between two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen. Why is water not H4 O6 ou H O4 for example, what are the forces at work behind this system of “sympathy / antipathy” that regulates our chemistry? ”
    Mr. Joly, your questions are answered in any ordinary physics textbook…

    Another screamer:
    “Seriously, if a few grams of quartz can make your watch work for over a year, then why would biodynamic preparations based on quartz not accelerate photosynthesis, which produces sugars, colors, flavors?”

    Sensitive crystallzations are another example of pseudoscience spouted by Joly that is totally unfounded…

    The concept of natural wines is not immune to criticism, but Joly is just chiding the movement for not joining his apostles.

  3. Si fuera verdad que solo es para vender, que hacía allí mezclado con los vinos naturales? regalarlos!!!

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