Sandi Skerk must have one of the most idyllically sited vineyards in Friuli, if not the world. Grassed terraces curve gently around the contours of the Carso hills, and lead your eye out towards the Adriatic coast. I’m profoundly happy to be standing by his albarello-pruned Vitovska vines, almost four years to the day after a previous eye-opening visit in 2011. Sandi is of course the same as ever – gentle, rather shy, yet somehow dogmatic and politely forceful when he needs to be.
Definitions are tricky things – often cumbersome, frequently inconvenient, sometimes merely hard to pin down. By way of example, I’m slowly refining my personal reference point for what constitutes orange wine and what doesn’t – particularly fraught, as there’s nothing in the way of a legal definition, and indeed the term was coined as recently as 2004, by wine importer David Harvey.
For Josip Brkić, every year is an experiment – “Sometimes I bottle them, sometimes I don’t”, he tells me as we talk in his rather well appointed tasting room in central Čitluk (a winemaking town in Bosnia & Herzogovina’s Mostar region).
Mjeseċąr is one that made the grade. Translated as “Moonwalker”, the name is a homage to Brkić’s conversion to biodynamic farming. It’s both a sensitive interpretation of the region’s indigenous Žilavka grape variety, and a successful “orange wine”.
I’ve heard many stories about why winemakers have returned to traditional skin maceration for white wines – or why they were inspired to experiment with the style. But Martin Arndorfer’s is quite unique: “It was actually my Danish importer who suggested I start making an orange wine – his clients were demanding the style, and he felt it could work well with the terroir and the grape varieties we have here”.
This wine is one of relatively few standard bearers for the extended skin contact revival that’s not from Collio or Slovenian Brda. La Stoppa are based in Emilia Romagna, home to a rich, meaty cuisine and of course Lambrusco. Elena Pantaleoni makes this blend of Malvasia di Candia Aromatic, Ortugo and Trebbiano in honour of the estate’s founder Giancarlo Ageno.
The thrill of the mysterious exerts an irresistible pull. Take a tall, dark handsome stranger, or flowers delivered with an anonymous love letter. Or in my case, a bottle of wine so obscure that all I could do was to uncork it and hope for the best. Yep, I’m a real romantic. It all started in a small […]
Not much over a month ago, I was waxing lyrical about my love affair with the Georgian Shavkapito grape. But that was then, this is now. Me and Shavkapito, we’re still friends but now there’s a new and similarly obscure Austrian grape variety in my life. I first came across Feiler Artinger‘s superb Neuburger last September, […]
The 8,000 year old culture of wine in Georgia is extraordinary – a very good book could be written about it (and I hope someone will do that soon!). I visited Georgia in November 2012, as part of an EWBC press trip. Here’s an article I contributed for Tim Atkin’s site: For Father Gerasim, whether to treat his […]
Following a hugely inspiring trip to Sicily’s Mount Etna region back in September, here are links to a couple of articles that I wrote on the subject: Exploding onto the Scene: Realising the potential of Etna wines When Ciro Biondi announced that he was going to abandon his career as an architect, in order to revive the […]
You don’t expect to end up on the dance floor with the proprietor at the end of a wine tasting, but that’s what happened at last Sunday’s wine and music matching event at Green and Blue. The concept seemed simple enough – six wines to be tasted, each one with a specific piece of music […]