One of the more popular questions I get asked in masterclasses is “how many days of maceration is necessary before a white wine becomes an orange wine?”
Mlečnik Ana is a great way to answer this question.
Aleš Kristančič is a man whose reputation precedes him. Movia, the family’s estate in Western Slovenia since 1820, has become one of the most well-known producers from the region, and also a trailblazer for the skin contact style.
Almost 18 months after discovering Štekar’s serious, spicy and brooding Rebula at Rawfair in 2013, The Morning Claret made it out to their beautiful corner of Brda (Western Slovenia), to discover an outstanding skin macerated RIesling.
Every week, I select an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed my attention. View the whole series here. You have to love a winemaker who recognises when refreshment comes first. I won’t ever forget a 2013 visit to Uros Klabjan‘s small estate in west Slovenia. For mid-May, the weather
Last week’s wine was definitely an edge case, with only two days of maceration, yet utterly inhabiting the “orange wine” end of the flavour spectrum. Burja is another. Primož Lavrenčič’s 7.4 hectares are situated in the stunning Vipava valley, about 40 km east of the Italian border.
Branko Čotar has a very straightforward answer for me when I ask when he started using extended skin macerations for his white wines: “I’ve macerated my wines for 40 years – it’s the tradition here (in the Slovenian Kras region)”.
I employ a crude rating system when I’m jotting down tasting notes in the field. A wine gets either no stars (anything from terrible to quite good), one star (very good/excellent), or very rarely two stars (outstanding). 2015’s first two star wine was Josko Renčel’s stunning white blend, simply called “cuvée”.
Guerila’s Rebula 2010 is restrained and pure on the nose, with attractive honeyed notes.
Rebula is the Slovenian alias for Friuli Collio’s Ribolla Gialla, and there’s no mistaking the characteristic chewiness which is this variety’s calling card. At least if you leave it on the skins for 14 days, as here. If that sounds scary, it’s not at all – the structure of this wine is accessible and refined.
I’m quite proud of this short hymn to artisan wine producers, written for Palate Press after returning from holidays in Slovenia and a wine conference in Switzerland – even if I realised later that “commodity” would be a better word to use than “product”. Wine has a vast cultural history and diversity, and in many wine producing countries