The 10 Best Natural Wines to Drink in 2021

Explore the raw taste of untamed wine

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Our Top Picks

Best Red: Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot at

"Sustainability is the focus of Broadside, and the winery produces a light, juicy merlot."

Best White: Vandal Gonzo Militia White Wine at

"Wild fermentation and seven grape varietals produce a deliciously wild white wine."

Best Sparkling: German Gilabert Brut Nature Cava at

"A dry organic wine with fine bubbles and citrus notes, it's perfect for food."

Best Rosé: Meinklang Pinot Noir Frizzante Rosé at

"Pink, gently bubbly, and affordable, this Austrian rosé embodies biodiversity."

Best Orange Wine: Bosman Fides Grenache Blanc at

"This South African bottle is a brilliant introduction to an ancient style of natural wine."

Best Sweet: Can Sumoi Perfum at

"Crisp, perfumy, and perfectly sweet, this Spanish wine is a lovely and pure moscato."

Best Dry: Frey Vineyards Organic Cabernet Sauvignon at

"This biodynamic winery produces a cab sav that rivals any other California red."

Best Italian: Tre Monti Anabla Vino Frizzante Pet-Nat at

"A bubbly Italian wine that is so natural, yeast sediment is left in the bottle."

Best French: Mas de Gourgonnier Le Baux de Provence Rouge at

"A delicious Provençal red wine from a winery that went organic before it was trendy."

Best American: Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay at

"Among California’s chardonnays, this wild yeast-fermented wine offers a beautiful complexity."

Wild, raw, and often organic, there is a growing interest in natural wines. The loosely defined term is used to describe a broad range of wines, the majority of which are made with minimal intervention from grapes grown in sustainable ways. Some use wild yeast, and many do not include the sulfites typically used in modern wine to stabilize and prevent further fermentation after bottling.

Also referred to as "raw" wine, it can be difficult to know which bottles to choose, and it’s not always clear on the label which wines fall into this category. Today, there are many exceptional natural wines available that encompass the various styles of wine. Here, some of the best natural wines you can buy.

Best Red: Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot

Broadside Margarita Vineyard Merlot 2018
 Courtesy of Drizly

If you're a fan of merlot, the natural wine scene is limited in options. It's not the most popular red grape in this style of winemaking, though it can be found. The solar-powered California winery Broadside is focused on maintaining a low-impact carbon footprint and offers a rather unique take on the famous red. 

Though it’s labeled a merlot, a small portion of the grapes are cabernet sauvignon. Both varietals are sustainably grown at the Santa Margarita Ranch in California’s famed Paso Robles area. This red is almost juicy and much lighter than you might expect from the style. That makes it a great pick for any meal, even the most robust and hearty. Adding to its appeal, this wine is budget-friendly so it can easily become a staple in any home.

Good to Know

One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to cellar natural wines. Given their wild nature, most are designed to be enjoyed right away, which gives you plenty of opportunities to continue exploring this fascinating category.

Best White: Vandal Gonzo Militia White Wine

Vandal Gonzo Militia Natural White Wine
 Courtsey of Drizly

When in doubt, look to New Zealand and Australia for impressive untamed wines. Among the adventurous winemakers you’ll find there is the trio behind Vandal. Working in New Zealand’s winemaking haven of Marlborough, this label is a collaboration and “side project” that has resulted in some fabulous natural wines.

Vandal Gonzo Militia is a white wine blend of seven grape varietals. As if that’s not bold enough, the grapes are harvested and pressed within a day and—following a practice normally reserved for reds and rosés—the skin is left intact for 24 hours. Fermented with wild yeast and left unfined and unfiltered, this white showcases the best aspects of raw wine. It holds delicious notes of apricot, pear, and peach with hints of spice, and has a subtle sweetness that makes it an easy drinker. The price is reasonable considering the skill that goes into making it, and the sleek bottle looks stunning on the table.

Best Sparkling: German Gilabert Brut Nature Cava

German Gilabert Brut Nature Cava
 Courtesy of Drizly

Sparkling wines are not off the table in the natural wine scene. In fact, many winemakers from Europe’s most famous regions never stopped using the traditional, minimalistic techniques that are rare in modern wines. Cava is Spain’s bubbly answer to Champagne, and the majority of it comes from Catalonia’s Penedés area, including this lively offering from German Gilabert.

This organic Spanish wine uses Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada grapes grown in the Mediterranean climate at high elevations. Employing the méthode champenoise method of secondary fermentation in the bottle, it’s a bright, fresh, and dry wine with captivating citrus notes and fine bubbles. Like most cavas, it’s affordable, and it makes an excellent pairing with nearly any food, particularly tapas.

Best Rosé: Meinklang Pinot Noir Frizzante Rosé

Meinklang Frizzante Rose
Courtesy of Drizly 

In the U.S., this bottle is labeled Frizzante Rosé, and in other markets, you'll find it as Prosa. Whatever you call it, you're going to love the sparkling pink wine from Meinklang. It is straight out of the weingarten (German for “wine garden”) where the grapes are grown alongside other produce and native plants that promote biodiversity.

The Austrian farm boasts sustainable growing practices that are apparent in the crisp, clean taste of this particular rosé. It’s made from pinot noir grapes that are aged in concrete eggs, which only adds to the intriguing story of this winemaker. The wine is mildly effervescent with soft fruit touched by a lovely acidity that will appeal to both red and white wine lovers. Surprisingly, it’s not too difficult to find, and, at under $20, it's perfect for any occasion.

Best Orange Wine: Bosman Fides Grenache Blanc

Bosman Fides Grenache Blanc
 Courtesy of Drizly

Orange wine is unique to natural wines, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the citrus fruit. Instead, this style mashes white grapes and allows them to ferment with the skins and seeds for anywhere from a few days to a full year. It’s generally free of additives and may not include yeast. The completely natural process results in a sour, slightly nutty, gold-colored wine.

One fantastic example of orange wine is Bosman Fides. The family-owned vineyard in South Africa makes wine in a centuries-old cellar. Celebrating the 6,000-year-old tradition of orange wine, it uses grenache blanc grapes of a single vineyard. The taste holds delicious dried orange peel and honey flavors with lovely floral and oak notes that lead into the savory, dry finish. Serve it slightly warmer than a white wine and alongside complex foods like dim sum.

Best Sweet: Can Sumoi Perfum

Can Sumoi Perfum
 Courtesy of Drizly

If you have a proclivity for sweet wines, moscato is an excellent choice. Though not numerous in the natural wine scene, it is available, and Can Sumoi Perfum is a great place to begin your adventure. A joint project of two winemakers from Spain’s Catalonia region, the grapevines are certified organic and biodynamically farmed. 

This particular offering from the Penedés estate of Can Sumoi is a blend of Moscatel, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes. Using spontaneous fermentation, the white wine is left naked—without additives like sulfur and unfined and unfiltered—offering a taste of pure moscato. It’s perfumy, delicate, and has inviting fruit notes against a floral body. While it is sweet, it’s not cloying and even has a crisp dryness that’s very enjoyable.

Best Dry: Frey Vineyards Organic Cabernet Sauvignon

Frey Vineyards Natural Organic Cabernet Sauvignon
 Courtesy of Drizly

Cabernet sauvignon is an iconic style of dry red wine. This highly rated cab from Frey Vineyards represents it perfectly and it just happens to be natural as well. From California’s Redwood Valley, Frey lays claim as the first organic and biodynamic winery in the United States. The brand has had over 40 years of practice in perfecting true natural wines, and that experience shows in every bottle.

This organic cabernet sauvignon is as graceful as it is bold. The balance of tannins, smokiness, and blackberry accented with black pepper and nutmeg offers a smooth drinking experience that rivals any California red. Be sure to enjoy it with big, bold foods like steaks, stews, and game, and follow the winemaker’s suggestion of a mushroom risotto.

Best Italian: Tre Monti Anabla Vino Frizzante Pet-Nat

Tre Monti Anabla Vino Frizzante Pet-Nat
 Courtesy of Drizly

Pétillant natural (“pét-nat,” for short) is another style unique to natural wines. It’s an Italian specialty that can match any Prosecco. Similar to the Champagne method, it uses an old technique (sometimes called the "Ancestral Method") to make sparkling wine. Fermentation is finished in the bottle and traps carbon dioxide inside to naturally carbonate the wine.

Tre Monti employs the technique in each bottle of Anabla Vino Frizzante. Located in the historical Romagna region (Emilia-Romagna today) of northern Italy, the winery uses only Albana grapes in this organic, bubbly white. There’s no mistaking its raw qualities, either. Like some beer, the straw-colored wine is cloudy due to the yeast sediment left in the bottle. This also means that it should be drunk while still fresh. A fantastic addition to any Italian meal, it also makes a fine aperitif.

Best French: Mas de Gourgonnier Le Baux de Provence Rouge

Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence Rouge
Courtesy of Drizly 

Natural wines are nothing new. Rather, the wine industry as a whole changed to incorporate less-than-natural methods that often made the process easier and more convenient. Mas de Gourgonnier did not follow the modern trends and was among the first French wineries to reach organic certification in 1975. The winemakers remain true to those roots, from the estate-made compost to hand harvesting and leaving the wines unfined and unfiltered.

Among the selection, Les Baux de Provence Rouge is a nice choice. A blend of grenache, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and Carignan grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged in both tanks and previously used French barrels. This red has the flavor of spice, cherry, and plum rolled into one delicious sip. And, though it contains a minute amount of sulfur during fermentation, the “Cuvee Sans Soufre” bottling does not, and it’s nearly identical.

Best American: Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
 Courtesy of Drizly

Chardonnay is taken seriously in California, and there is a lot of competition. Among the vast selection, a growing number of natural wines of varying degrees can be found. One that stands out in a rather unassuming way is Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay. The Sandhi winery prides itself on a “collaboration between man, earth, and vine” and it’s apparent in the estate wines.

While this winery produces pinot noir as well, chardonnay is its specialty. Fermented with wild yeast and without additives of any kind, the winemakers also take advantage of lees (leftover yeast particles that impart a creamy mouthfeel) to create complex flavors. Each sip enjoys rich custard and smoke notes with a beautiful balance of acidity and minerality leading to an enduring finish.

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Colleen Graham is a food and beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails, beer, and wine. She is the author of two books, including “Rosé Made Me Do It.”

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