Importers and Producers

Importer Spotlight: Jenny & Francois Selections

March 15, 2015 | Brian Freedman

There have been few more ground-shaking developments in recent years than the widespread acceptance and popularity of natural wines. A statement like that is a bit misleading, of course, since natural wine, as the name implies, is arguably the ancestor of all wines anyway: The first winemakers of the ancient world weren’t exactly adding sulfites to their amphorae, chemical herbicides and pesticides to their vineyards, inoculating with purchased yeasts. So, really, natural wine has been around for infinitely longer than most consumers ever knew about it…by thousands of years

But its rise in more recent ones has been something of a shock to the wine world at large, coming, as it does, right on the heels of an era when larger-production, more commodity-like wine was garnering the lion’s share of praise and attention.

Natural wine is the opposite of that, and few importers have done more to change perceptions of it, and introduce it to a wider swath of the wine world, than Jenny & Francois Selections.

Based in New York yet with their influence felt around the globe, this remarkable team is guided by a fairly simple set of principles: To “present the wines of small vineyards in this competitive worldwide market, in order to defend an endangered species—winemakers who work like artisans, crafting a different wine each year,” they explain on their web site. “They do not impose a preconceived taste on their wines, but look to be surprised by what nature gives them—natural wines.”

In order to accomplish this lofty goal, the visionaries at Jenny & Francois—including the passionate founder Jenny Lefcourt and the remarkable team she has assembled—work to constantly seek out and bring to market wines from artisans who share their beliefs: That “low-tech and no-tech” wines are as closely tied to their terroir, and therefore to that place’s history and culture and inherent expressiveness, as any wines available

Their bottlings, which come from Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA, may be from wildly divergent parts of the planet, but they all share one thing in common: Honesty. Which is pretty much all that anyone could ask for from a bottle of great wine, natural or otherwise.