Food and drink

Wine gets natural

Love & Labour have opened a proper shop in Hatch and the shelves are full of natural wine. Owners Katie Scott and James Jensen pick their favourite bottles


Raising the steaks

Natural wine means back-to-basics production, organic farming and no unnecessary additives. Scott and Jensen’s first selection is a Bergerac Blanc Sec from Chateau Barouillet in South-West France (£16) which does all of the above. With easy-drinking flavours of peach and apricot, it’ll go well with chicken, but Jensen says it could even pair with a rib-eye (yep, white with steak is allowed).

Au naturel

“I could imagine sitting out in the sunshine just putting away a couple of glasses (or bottles) of this,” says Jensen of the Blanc plus Rouge Muscadet Nouveau from the Landon Brothers in the Loire Valley (£16). These natural methods are standard practice in France – which is why so many of Labour & Love’s selected wines are French.

Kiss from a rosé

“We have a real soft spot for Austrian natural wines,” explains Scott. “They’re producing really flavoursome, interesting wine that’s still very beautiful and clean.” Jerry & Barry Rosée (£18) comes from organic producer Markus Altenburger and is packed with red fruit flavours like strawberry and cherry. “This is a lovely light style for summer,” says Jensen.

A summer red

“We’re big fans of this one,” says Jensen of the Gorge Sèche (£25), while Scott nods vigorously in the background. Made by American Brendan Tracey, who spent several years in punk bands before turning his hand to wine production, it’s “made from a quite temperamental French grape – pineau d’aunis – that gives a lovely bright, red, summer fruits flavour with white pepper hints.” Best served slightly chilled.

Red red wine

Sulphur occurs naturally in wine production, so when a label declares it’s “sulphite free” this usually just means they haven’t added any extras. Still, going without can lead to a sensational drop – Chateau Barouillet’s 2014 Pécharmant (£15) is one example. “It’s beautifully soft and velvety and easy-drinking with flavours of bramble fruits,” says Jensen.

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