what natural wines are & why they’re important, pt.1
Many thanks to our new friends and neighbors for nearly a year in business! As chef John & I continue to hone our pairings, I’d like to clarify who we are and where we’re headed…
Telegraph celebrates the culture of ‘natural’ wines. We’ve done so from opening day. Defining ‘natural wine’ can be contentious, a “hornet’s nest” (Asimov); for those put on the defensive by it (i.e. those in the corporate pocket), the ‘category’ has been called “a major scam” (Parker), “marketing-by-denigration” (Wark), and “meaningless” (Steinberger), the work of “bio-cons” (Bettane)… Ouch!!!
For us, it’s very simple. Uniquely true to their terroirs, these are wines:
1) made without chemicals in the vineyard or cellar
2) fermented with native yeast
3) bottled with minimal-to-zero sulfur additions.
They’re also incredibly delicious, and delectable with food.
Telegraph is Chicago’s first and only wine bar to focus on these wines. Volumes have been written about the ‘Natural Wine Movement’, yet I’m resistant to brands and labels – these are merely wines that have become what I prefer to drink and share.
We’re grateful to a tiny, growing cadre of winemakers who value transparency over manipulation, and, by opting NOT to employ the dizzying range of additives currently available*, risk losing their vintage for the reward of a pure wine of rare beauty. We’re also happy to work with the handful of importers who have taken a chance on their wines – until very recently, collecting their wines together by the glass & bottle was hardly possible – thanks to them, you can find wines at Telegraph you won’t find elsewhere.
- Jeremy Quinn
PT2: natural wines & vineyard yeast / a few producer profiles
* Cosmetic gelatins and silica gels, juice concentrates, enzymes, acids, gases, laboratory yeasts, sugars, and solid particulates, to name just a few, which stabilize, colorize, clarify & homogenize.