FROM THE VINE
What is Lo-Fi wine?
We've all heard of the natural wine movement, which has interchangeable terms such as Lo-Fi and naked. There is certainly a growing presence of wines with a cloudy appearance and amber orangy hue, dressed in clear bottles with a skull or skeleton adorning the label and spruiked by a cool, bearded, tattooed waiter. I may exaggerate, but how do we make sense of the tumultuous offerings that stem from a philosophical movement that has become muddied by diverse and confusing trends?
A friend of mine has clearly defined what a natural wine should be: the grapes must be from an unirrigated organic or biodynamic vineyard; harvested by hand and fermented with their indigenous yeasts; no new oak; no additives except for small amounts of sulphites; no fining or filtration–and that's it. Simple, no? Well, with no legal definition, everyone has their own interpretation of what a natural wine should be.
The movement has been thriving in Europe for decades and that definition could fit many wines made before World War II. Fast forward and there is now a plethora of styles, including wines using trends to produce weird and faulty wines, which is where I draw the line. However, I also draw tremendous pleasure from drinking wines that are made using a natural philosophy, that have no faults, and which display a sense of fun and vivacity. In fact, the best natural wines are the ones I have drunk without knowing they were natural.
RACV Club Sommelier Christian Maier