Winery visits

If you really want to understand a wine, it’s best to go and visit the property. There’s no substitute for talking to the person who made it, eyeballing the vineard and feeling the soil between your fingertips. Here you’ll find recent write-ups from some of these visits.

Muscat Ottonel, a love story Martin Lichtenburger and Adrianna Gonzalez in their cellar, March 2017Sometimes the path of true love really does alter everything. When Austrian Martin Lichtenberger and Spaniard Adrianna Gonzalez met in 2007, during their winemaking studies in California, they might not have predicted that they’d soon be making wine together on another continent. Not to mention a skin contact Muscat Ottonel (an orange wine).

Making orange wine in the Douro Valley – Part 1 Simon holding Portuguese grape varieties 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 sub-region ...

Balance is everything – Intellego Elementis 2014 intellego-elementis-2014Elementis 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.

Year zero at Radikon – Ribolla Gialla 1995 Radikon Cellar 2014“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 ...

Well macerated Riesling: Štekar – Re Piko 2009 Štekar - Re Piko 2007Almost 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.

A fiery Roter Traminer from Tauss Tauss vinyeards in Southern StyriaI’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 the group, partly due to their very small size – there’s a mere 6 hectares of vines at their bucolic estate in Southern Styria.

Deep down in a Georgian qvevri – Vinoterra Rkatsiteli 2011 Newly delivered qvevri, Tbilvino (Photo courtesy Kasmirhare)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 ...

One year of skin contact – Strohmeier Wein der Stille 2013 Strohmeier road signRegular readers will have noticed I’ve featured a few wines in this slot that merely flirt with the orange wine category. So to end the first year of these orange segments, here’s an all-out, serious contender made with 12 months of maceration: Strohmeier’s Wein Der Stille 2013, from Southern Styria, Austria

Le Due Terre – Sacrisassi Bianco 2013 Le due Terre, Oct 2015It’s starting to become a theme in this series – edge cases which are not really orange wines. Take the sole white wine from microscopic but world reknowned Le Due Terre, in Friuli Colli Orientali. A blend of Friulano with 30% Ribolla Gialla, it has 10-12 days of skin contact, and is spontaneously fermented without ...

A maceration masterclass at Il Carpino – Ribolla Gialla 2011 Il Carpino - the signIf you want to have a masterclass in how skin contact affects white wines, there’s probably no better place than Franco and Anna Sosol’s tasting room. Il Carpino is their 17ha estate, situated on the same winding hill road as Radikon and Gravner, in Friuli Collio.

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