“Orange wines are a sideshow and a waste of time”

“What’s the point of experimenting? We know how to make really good wine. Why do we want to throw away the formula and do something different?” Hugh Johnson, interviewed in the Washington Post, October 2016. Recently I’ve been wondering whether the whole arena of natural wines was becoming so mainstream, tolerated and understood that maybe there […]

Old Man of La Mancha – de Sol a Sol Airén 2011

Never mind the special six course foraged dinner “010 020 Het Wilde”, cooked by a crack team of chefs from Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The star of the show for me was de Sol a Sol – a thrilling, profound orange wine which transcends its seemingly extreme method of production – 403 days of skin contact!

Bucce for buck – Excellent value “orange” ansonica

It’s a great joy to finally discover a true “orange wine” that retails (just) under the €10 mark (in the Netherlands). Poggio Argentiera’s “Ansonica Bucce” is that wine.
Inzolia fermented on the skins and aged in cement.

Julien Meyer – Petit Fleur – Muscat de Maceration 2015

Patrick Meyer is the winemaker at the family owned Julien Meyer domaine in Northerly Alsace (Nothalten to be precise). He’s been in the saddle for a while – since 1982 in fact. The domaine has been farmed biodynamically (Demeter certified) since 1985, and Patrick spurns all additives including sulphur. More on that subject later!

Balance is everything – Intellego Elementis 2014

Elementis 2014, like its predecessors, is 100% Chenin Blanc, fermented on the skins for 3 weeks and then matured in used French oak for 9-10 months. Jurgen gets incredible freshness and concentration from his dry farmed fruit. That’s given this wine a lightness of touch and purity that is quite startling.

Chameleon Chardonnay: Save our Souls “Skin on Skin” 2015

Exhibit A today is a 100% Chardonnay from a hip Aussie winemaking duo – William Downie, who became infamous for his $100 Pinot Noir in 2013, and compatriot Jason Searle, together “Save our Souls”. The fruit hails from the relatively cool climate Mornington Peninsula area, and was treated with the utmost respect – whole bunch fermentation in tank, with no additions of any kind, excepting a pinch of SO2 at bottling.

Year zero at Radikon – Ribolla Gialla 1995

“The really big change was when I tasted the wine. It was something completely new, totally different and exciting. It made me crazy, just tasting it.”

This is how Stanko Radikon describes the life changing moment in 1995 which prompted him to change the family’s entire wine production to what we now know and love as “orange wines”.

Burgenland’s burgeoning orange scene: Andert Pamhogna

Some interesting Austria producers are well nigh invisible to the English speaking world, and at a guess this is why I’d never heard of Michael Andert (Andert Wein) until late last year. His tiny estate (4ha) in Burgenland (Easterly Austria, near the Hungarian border) has been certified biodynamic since 2003, and the white wines are all fermented on their skins.

Stephen Brook: The Wines of Austria – reviewed

The decision to launch a new series of books about wine in 2016 is a brave one, but that’s just what publisher Infinite Ideas has done. The first nine titles in “The Classic Wine Library” are now available, including two written by series editor Richard Mayson, and the title under discussion here: Stephen Brook’s “The Wines […]

Prinčič and the peronospera: A fable

You can tell a great winemaker not by what they produce in a good year, but by what they pull together from a catastrophic one. And it didn’t get much worse than Dario Prinčič’s 2008 vintage, where some 90% of his harvest was infected with Peronospora (downy mildew). Prinčič salvaged a pitiful amount of grapes, blended the entire output together and made a one off – the aptly named “Favola”, meaning fable or legend.