It started with a seemingly innocent question from Oscar Quevedo: “Simon, do you know how to make an orange wine?”. Oscar isn’t stupid of course, he knew damn well I’d have something to say on the subject. We were sat in the tasting room at Quevedo, a port and still wine producer in the Cima Corgo […]
I’m not sure that I have heroes anymore – and those I once had were certainly not wine writers. That said, if I did, and if they were, Hugh Johnson OBE would be a candidate. Several of his books are on my shelf, and his writings have accompanied my entire journey into wine over the last 25 […]
For the introduction to this tasting, please see Part 1. Orange Interlude Austria shares borders with Northern Italy and Slovenia – both parts of the world with a long tradition of using extended skin maceration in white wine. So it’s no surprise that Austrian winemakers have taken to this style enthusiastically, with some now well […]
“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 […]
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!
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.
“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”.
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.
There are a small number of winemakers out there who defy any attempt at categorisation, apart from superlatives. Elisabetta Foradori is one. She’s the darling of the Italian biodynamic wine movement, an early convert to amphorae, and a peerless exponent of long skin maceration for white wines. But it feels clumsy to describe Foradori’s output with such limiting terms and techniques.
White, red and rosé wines can have bubbles – so why not orange? It hadn’t crossed my mind that such a fascinating sub-genre might exist, but it does. Ernesto Cattel might well have been one of the first to bring it to market – his Costadilà estate on the Northern slopes of Valdobbiadene was founded in 2006, to showcase the more traditional face of Prosecco.