I’m tasting more and more wines that could loosely be grouped as ‘natural’, alternative or non-interventionist, and they include quite a few skin-contacted whites. These are the hipster wines, beloved of sommeliers in the high-end restaurants.
Some of these wines are just plain dirty, with brettanomyces, aldehydes, oxidation and other off-notes; some are delicious.
My most recently uploaded tasting of 95 chardonnays included one from BK Wines (tastings), in the Basket Range, Adelaide Hills, the winery of Brendon and Kirstyn Keys. This is a relatively new producer, established in 2007. Their mission statement:
“Our main objective is to produce super-natural low-tech wines with amplification!”
These wines, both red and white, are at the low-interventionist end of things but invariably high quality. The 2015 One Ball Chardonnay, from the Kenton Valley (tasting), is a beaut. It’s slightly funky, with the funk adding to the wine’s complexity rather than compromising it, with relatively low alcohol and expressing a ‘mineral’ character at least as much as fruitiness. I liked the 2015 Swaby Chardonnay (tasting) even more: a slightly dearer single-vineyard bottling from the Piccadilly Valley – while also noting the positive contribution of sulfide-related funk, refreshing low-alcohol qualities and mineral nuances.
BK Wines also makes a white blend (mostly savagnin – tasting) and a pinot noir (tastings) both with the brand-name Skin & Bones, which refers to skins in the white ferment and stems in the red. There are also several BK pinots, and the theme is relatively low alcohol, light colour and body, and a high proportion of whole-bunch ferment. These are interesting wines that tick the low-interventionist boxes. They’re well worth hunting down.