As trends go, the natural wine scene in Los Angeles is mellowing — seeping into the fabric of the city’s dining scene like a sort of slow infusion. (And natural-wine fans do love themselves some infusions.) “Natural,” as a catchall term, is used to describe wines typically grown by organic or biodynamic means, and made relatively little intervention — employing native yeast strains and eschewing additions, some preservatives, and manipulations that would otherwise alter a wine’s elemental expression.
Ever since their debut in the wine scene here, natty wines have been embraced for their own sake, mainly because they’re fun: juicy, gluggable, immediate flavor bombs. But also because they are virtuous, or purport to be: Angelenos loved them for the would-be purity of their intent as much as their flavors.
Today, though, natural wines now increasingly serve the menu — the edgy, ever-expanding universe of Los Angeles taste. Chefs here are creating menus that are bolder, more jangly, more unrestrained; they’re exploring new corners of the world, new techniques, and new levels of complexity by way of fermentation and smoke, the sharp tang of vinegar, or the hot pulse of spice. And natural wines have found their place alongside, the ideal foil to go in tandem with a new world of flavors.
Here’s where to get your fix around town this very moment.