We both live in tri-state area so it's not surprising that once in a while I run into Alice Feiring at New York wine tastings.
For many years now she has been an advocate of small producers and of natural wines, the type that's not manufactured and chemically balanced.
In her new book Naked Wine (Da Capo Press, September 1, 2011), Alice shares her encounters with natural wine pioneers, the tensions over using sulfur (or not) for some winemakers like Robert Sinskey who uses sustainable methods.
Alice considers most New World and California wines 'over-ripe, over-manipulated and over-blown' .
There are exceptions she notes like Hank Beckmeyer, a musician turned winemaker in the Sierra Foothills. His approach is influenced by Masanobu Fukuoka's farming philosophy of do-little.
In 'Naked Wine', Hank explains his attraction to Fukuoka's ideas with these words:
"It seemed to address the same issues as biodynamics, but without religious overtones"
Many wine drinkers could get a little concerned if they started ready 'U.S approved additives and processes for wine' in the final pages of her book.
Would you be happy to know that amongst the 200 U.S approved ingredients that in the fields or at the winery find their way into a number of wines you might have an essence of ammonium phosphate or a whiff of silica gel?
Some of these ingredients might not be tolerated for long if they were listed on the label as happens with food.
By featuring natural wine actors and showing their passion, she prevents the book from becoming dry and professoral.
Giving 'Naked' a chance for Green Day # 193