A fiery Roter Traminer from Tauss

Every week, I select an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed my attention. View the whole series here. I’ve featured wines from several of the Schmecke das Leben producers in this series, but not Tauss until now. Roland and Alice Tauss are perhaps the least well known winery in […]

Deep down in a Georgian qvevri – Vinoterra Rkatsiteli 2011

The spiritual and traditional nub of Georgian winemaking is the qvevri – a clay, amphora like vessel buried in the ground and described by Josko Gravner as “a womb for the wine”. Wellmade qvevri white wines can be revelatory in their freshness, intensity and uniqueness. Qvevris have become hip, and producers all over the globe are buying them up. But sometimes you need to go back to the source, to find a winemaker who really knows how to make the style sing. Gogi Dakishvili is just such a chap – head winemaker at Schuchmann estate in Kakheti, Georgia.

Master of the Carso: Sandi Skerk – Ograde 2012

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.

Alves de Sousa Pessoal 2006 – or “when is an orange wine not an orange wine?”

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.

Walking on the moon – Josip Brkić’s “Mjeseċąr”

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”.

Orange Weekly: Arndorfer – Neuburger “per se” 2013

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”.

Orange weekly: La Stoppa – Ageno 2010

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.

Neuburger en vacance

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 […]

Nuts about Neuburger

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, […]

Georgian qvevri wine: If it’s good enough for God . . .

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 […]