Au Naturel

Earthy, affordable, all-natural wines are no longer just for purists

Astor Wines & Spirits in New York City is an old hand at arranging those free, in-house tastings that have become so common around the country. Earlier this year, the proprietors rented 500 glasses for a three-hour event. On the basis of past experience, that should have been plenty. But within just an hour, all the glasses had been used. Were they giving away the latest 90+-rated wine or the rare, cult Cabernet Screaming Eagle? Nothing of the kind. They were pouring reasonably priced natural wine.

Until recently, those wines, grown without pesticides and fermented with natural yeast, were a niche...

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