Lately it seems all we hear about is orange wine. The newest rage in wine has been referred to as a wine geek’s wine, a freaky wine and just plain weird. Huh. Considering this so-called novelty is really the traditional method of white wine making, I can hardly agree with these descriptions. Is it that different than the more familiar methods? Yes, but not freaky.
Nowadays, you know that white wine is made through harvest, crush and the immediate move of the juice to the fermentation vessel. The juice spends absolutely no time on the skins so as to not impart any tannins or astringency to the wine. This is all in the pursuit of the perfect white wine.
To us, it is more interesting to read about winemakers turning their backs on innovation (making technically perfect wines) in favor of experimentation. Before the modern style of wine making came to be, wine was left to macerate with the skins to provide color, phenols, and tannins. The color ranged from pink, yellow to a vivid orange.
The term orange wine is a bit of a misnomer, by the way. It really should be referred to as skin-contact whites because the term doesn’t necessarily describe the color of the wine but more of a winemaking process/style. The result is a white wine of a silkier, emollient texture with a more exotic flavor profile. If you are looking for another white wine other the Gewürztraminer to accompany your spicy fare than this wine style is for you. Think any umami foods like mushrooms, garlic, aged cheese and fish sauce. Because these wines command attention, I wouldn’t say orange wines are meant for casual drinking. Stick to the more familiar style of white wines for the “sitting on the back porch, having a glass” evenings.
For our part, Bauer has two different orange wines to offer you:
2011 Attems Cupra Ramato Pinot Grigio Ramato : Cupra Ramato continues a
tradition of the Republic of Venice, since “ramato,” or coppery, was the term that referred to Pinot Grigio in contracts. A special vinification practice led to the use of this term: the must remains in contact with the skins for 36 hours and this practice gives the wine a very distinctive coppery hue. Attems Cupra Ramato boasts a rich, fruity bouquet, and opens full and weighty on the palate, with multi-faceted flavors. It is perfect when paired with fatty fish, with delicate or vegetable-based antipasti, the ideal companion to summer dishes, and is delicious as well as an aperitif. This wine is a great entry point into orange wine.
2007 La Stoppa Ageno: This wine is made from a combination of three white
grape varieties: Malvasia, Trebbiano, and the extremely local Emilia variety known as Ortrugo, with the majority of the wine being Malvasia grown on 36-year-old vines. La Stoppa spends the next 30 days in contact with the skins. After this it is pressed off into a combination of steel tanks and neutral oak barrels where it ages on its lees (the sediment that settles to the bottom of the barrel) for 12 months before bottling without filtration of any kind. A gorgeous medium amber-orange color in the glass, with a distinct haze of cloudiness, this wine has a phenomenal, almost otherworldly nose of exotic flowers, saffron, and orange creamsicle. On the palate it is weighty, with a texture that is almost tannic in quality, gripping the tongue with a velvet glove. From a flavor standpoint it is nearly indescribable — brown sugar, honeysuckle, saffron, cream soda, and unbelievably, the distinct flavor of coffee and cream on a finish that can be measured in minutes. Evolves gorgeously in the glass, and I highly recommend decanting for 1-2 hours prior to serving, especially if you can keep it cool while decanting.
Enjoy the La Stoppa with hard Italian cheeses, charcuterie, pork and oily fish like salmon or swordfish.
So there you have it. Orange wines for everyone!