Think Pinot Grigio, think insipid, water-white plonk? Think again. Here’s a 100% Pinot Grigio from Friuli Collio which confounds everything you ever knew about the variety. Dario Prinčič‘s version macerates on its skins for around eight days during fermentation. Have a look at the photo. No photoshopping, rather an apt reminder that this is a pink-skinned grape variety and a clone of Pinot Noir to boot.
Prinčič is no bandwagon-jumper when it comes to producing wine like this. He’s been making “orange” wine since the late 1990s, having taken to it quickly after his neighbours Stanko Radikon and Josko Gravner repopularised the idea. Prinčič has long been a staunch believer in tradition, farming biodynamically since 1988, and going the low-intervention route in the winery – wild yeasts, no filtering or fining, no temperature control and little or no added sulphites.
His Pinot Grigio 2013 has a brooding brownish copper hue, its colour no less intense than the flavours inside the bottle. It would be troublesome to categorise as a white wine, and easy to palm off as a red. But let’s not be lazy. There is a category for this wine, and for good reason – it’s neither red, white nor rosé, but shows all the wonderful characteristics of an intense, extreme orange wine.
There’s a definite pungency to the nose, with autumnal, nutty, raisined aromas giving way to ripe, bountiful fruit, and a structure that reminds me of fresh, crunchy Northern Italian reds (think Barbera, Freisa or Bardolino). A slight “amaro” note really lifts the finish. There couldn’t be a better demonstration of what this style is all about – the freshness of a white wine, the guts and structure of a red.
Prinčič’s wines seem a bit like the man to me – rugged and earthy, packing a punch and brimming with integrity. There’s nothing earnest about them, they are made for good times, for drinking, for pure enjoyment.
Buy online from Wine bear for £29.67 or a little bit cheaper if you buy 6 or 12. The Trebez blend, Ribolla Gialla and Jakot from the same producer are also heartily recommended.