So last week turned into War Over Natural Wine Week: in addition to the very spirited discussion that we had here about natural wines, some noteworthy stuff was published elsewhere. The site NonaBrooklyn had a sensational piece in which a handful of Brooklyn wine folk weighed in on the debate (hat tip: Jenny & Francois). Meanwhile, Benjamin Lewin posted an item on his blog looking at the natural fracas and explaining why one’s man “minimal intervention” might not be another’s (hat tip: Lee Newby). In my article last Monday, I was remiss in not including a link to Tom Wark’s piece looking at how denigration of other wines has become so central to the natural movement’s messaging, a point that was also made by Jeremy Parzen in a commentary on his site, Do Bianchi (although perhaps Jeremy shared a little too much information!).
Finally, Keith Levenberg has chimed in with a lengthy critique of the criticism leveled against the natural movement. He accuses me of playing “cheap rhetorical games” in expressing skepticism about the natural idea, which is an interesting indictment coming in an essay that displays an impressive amount of authorial gamesmanship itself. For instance, Levenberg notes that I’ve criticized natural advocates for refusing to define exactly what they mean by “natural wine”, but he then cites a passage in my Slate article about natural wines in which it appears that I provided a “nearly comprehensive” definition. However, I made clear in that passage that I was simply summarizing the general description offered by natural proponents themselves, and it is a little cheeky of Levenberg to try to pass it off as my “definition” (particularly as I went on, in the Slate piece, to point out all of the holes in the natural ethos and how conceptually muddled it is). His post is riddled with this sort of stuff; I think he was laboring mightily to score points and shift the terms of the debate. That said, Levenberg is an excellent writer and one of the keenest observers of the wine scene, and his broadside against yours truly is worth reading.