It’s the latest trend to hit the wine world, and with venues in Leeds and across the country starting to offer more and more extensive selections of this funky, flavoursome grape juice, it sure looks like natural wine is here to stay.
Made using natural techniques and with no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides in the fermentation process, natural wines come from organically or biodynamically grown grapes and usually boast a richer, more complex palate – perhaps even a slight cloudiness. Also known as ‘low intervention’, ‘naked’ or ‘raw’ wine, natural vino basically eschews artificial processes. Think handpicking, native yeast, zero additives and much, much lower levels of sulphites.
But where in Leeds can you find this magic stuff? Lucky for you, the list of bars and restaurants pouring and selling natural tipples is growing – and you can read about some of the best right here.
Widely considered to be the North’s natural wine pioneer, Steve Nuttall opened this pint-sized bottle shop-come-bar in Chapel Allerton back in 2017, having been listing some crazy bottles over at the Reliance for several years. He’s all about challenging the notion that natural wine is a fad – with a down to earth offer and an array of directly imported wines from all over the world. Head in to peruse the selection, join them to drink in on Fridays and Saturdays between 12 and 10pm, or order a bottle from the website to have something funky delivered right to your door.
You’ll find some of the city’s best wine experts at Latitude, the Calls-based importers of wine and liquor. Find them in the railway arches towards the south of the city centre, and head in to browse the vast range of unusual and innovative vintages. There’s something for every price range here, and with everything from organic tipples to the ripest of natural bouquets on the shelves, you’ll find something for every taste too.
Once Upon a Vine
Head over to Horsforth to check out the shop, bar and tasting room that is Once Upon a Vine. Alongside a stunning variety of ‘normal’ wines, you’ll find a carefully chosen selection of natural varieties – all available to drink in, take away or even form a great accompaniment to the venue’s charcuterie offer.
After serving up artisan coffee from Headingley’s Fika North for 12 months, Gemma and Eli Williams decided to evolve their offer into natural wine in March 2020. Bottle Chop is a wine and beer shop, micro deli and bar serving a range of organic and naturally fermented vinos from the keg and by the glass – with refills and great advice available as and when you need.
Whether you’re dining here for a special occasion or just a spontaneous blowout feast, the wine list certainly won’t disappoint. With a range of low intervention wines upholding the venue’s commitment to high quality ingredients and artisan making techniques, HOME is constantly expanding and evolving its vino repertoire, serving up options from iconic wineries from all over the world.
They say pasta’s best enjoyed with a large glass of wine (or we do, anyway), and that’s very much the ethos at Sarto, the Munro-house based pasta restaurant boasting an ever-changing wine menu to accompany its delicious range of Italian-inspired dishes. Sourcing many of its tipples from Latitude and Wayward, Sarto offers everything from red and white to orange, fizz and rosé – all at reasonable prices and in the perfect atmosphere for sipping something new.
Purveyors of local ingredients and freshly made dishes that pack a punch on flavour, OWT, have been serving up a delicious range of biodynamic wines since 2020, when it became the UK’s first importer of Château Gasqui. François Miglio, Gasqui’s winemaker, just happens to be the father of Esther, one of OWT’s owners, making this the perfect pairing. Boasting a varied palate from peaches and jasmine to jam and red fruit, the Gasqui range is a perfect, poetic entry to the world of natural wine.