French-born sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier of NYC’s Rouge Tomate explains her devotion to unadulterated wines.
First things first: What is natural wine?
It’s a wine made with grapes grown with organic or biodynamic farming, then transformed in the winery without any additives—no chemical intervention. You can have physical intervention—cool it down, pump it from one place to another—but no chemical intervention. So…it’s fermented grape juice. And that’s it.
Is it better than other wines?
In terms of taste? That’s something very personal, taste. I think the interesting thing about natural wine is that it backs away from a whole approach to farming that became the norm after World War II. Wine moved from being something agricultural to something manufactured: a product. That led to wines that are well made but that don’t really express or embody variations in site, in year or in the talents of the craftsmen making them.