I was recently provided with an advanced copy of Alice Feiring's forthcoming book, Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally. In case the name is unfamiliar to you, Ms. Feiring is an important fixture in the world of wine criticism, having written about wine, food, and travel for the New York Times, Time, Conde Naste Traveler and more.
natural wine, Feiring's work is a testament to those farmers, winemakers, domaines, and drinkers who have struggled to produce wine in a natural state Wine that is produced first and foremost by farmers, not technology-bearing consultants. Wine that is made by risk-takers willing to shun modernity in the production of wine that actually tastes like wine.
Feriring's strength in this writing is that she has spent years advocating for natural wine. She's also ticked off a few people in the process, but I'm not going to rehash that argument here. Feiring's contacts in the wine production business on multiple continents allow her access to the producers who have been on the cutting edge (strange choice of words, perhaps, considering that the naturalists advocate for a type of winemaking that is thousands of years old) of the natural wine movement for years. A good part of the book is dedicated to several producers of the Beaujolais region who have for years stressed natural wine production. If you read this blog, you know I am a fan of Beaujolais, and reading Feiring's work only strengthens my commitment to supporting producers such as Lapierre, Foillard and Ducroux.
The book is perhaps not for the nascent wine enthusiast; it is chock full of hard core, pedantic information on biodynamics, farming, and wine production. However, Feiring also has a deft hand as a storyteller and the book is an engaging read for anyone interested in wine, organic farming, agribusiness, labor standards, and even philosophy. Feiring gets extra points from me for weaving one my favorite French philosophers, Guy Debord-a notorious heavy drinker, into her book.