Authenticity is a popular buzzword globally right now, appearing everywhere from terroir in vineyards and flavours in wine to pop psychology and novels about friendship. It's also the name of a book about wine, written by Master of Wine Sam Harrop and wine writer Dr Jamie Goode and published in 2013.
It's timely to re-explore this book and the elusive concept of authenticity in wine because the natural wine movement has gained significant ground in the past eight years and here at Regional, we are often asked to recommend natural wines.
So, what is an authentic wine and is it more natural than other wines?
What sets natural and authentic wines apart from other wines? Does the concept of authentic wine mean there are wines that are inauthentic?
These questions are addressed to an extent in the book, Authentic Wine.
The taste of authenticity
They really come into play, however, when drinking a wine that has a sense of place. It's an elusive concept to grasp, until you encounter a wine with a taste that's like no other. This could come across as an impeccable balance of body and acidity, aligned with depth of flavour, freshness and length. Or it could simply taste so deliciously different that it seems to express a sense of place, which makes it so transparently authentic.
If authenticity seems like an elusive concept, then reading Authentic Wine might just put it all in perspective as its authors attempt to pin down the meaning of naturalness in the wine world. Harrop and Goode explore the diversity of wine and how this is, in their words, currently under threat from increasingly homogenized commercial wines that lack a sense of place. Their book examines the complex concepts of terroir, biodynamic winemaking and sustainability. They explore the meaning of the word natural and its use as a marketing term, among many other aspects of authenticity and naturalness in the world of wine.
In the meantime, here are three top wines in store that are all authentic. And they taste it.
If authenticity is important to you, try one or all of these out for size (and taste).
Three authentic wines
2020 Wittman Dry Riesling RRP $38.99
2018 Greystone Vineyard Ferment RRP $66.99
2018 Podere San Cristoforo Ameri Governo Toscana RRP $112.99