Skin contact traminers are a bit like London buses – you don’t see one for ages, then all of a sudden, two appear at once. I discovered this Czech beauty at last week’s Raw Fair – always an inspiring event, and a fertile hunting ground for orange wines.
The Czech republic might not be the first place you associate with quality wine, but when you realise that Moravia (the main wine region) is a mere 15 km from the Austrian border it starts to make sense. Milan Nestarec is the second generation of his family to make wine, and he’s certainly shaken things up a bit.
I tried three varied skin contact wines, curious if this signified a long tradition in Moravia, or just Milan’s desire to experiment. After all, the Czech republic doesn’t have a strong culture of winemaking, being more of a beer drinking nation. The puzzle was easily solved: Milan studied in Slovenia with Aleš Kristančič (Movia), providing the inspiration for their “Antica” range of wines (all made with extended skin maceration). The winery makes more conventional wines in the “Muzika” and “Klasika” lines.
I will pass over the delightfully named “Miky Mauz” and “Podfuck”, as for me the Antica Tramin 2013 was the highlight. This is a full on, uncompromising “orange”, made with 6 months of skin maceration. Gewurztraminer’s giveaway rose petal and lychee aromas dominate the nose, giving way to a chewy, tannic palate that I found very satisfying and tasty. There’s loads of fruit, pear, candied peel and citrus notes providing freshness and vivacity. The finish is long and elegant.
This isn’t a beginner’s orange wine, especially for those who are taken aback by tannins in what is ostensibly a white wine. Head to Milan’s Pinot Grigio 2013 for an easier to understand approach (but still 10 days of maceration) – that’s the aforementioned Podfuck. A label in need of rethinking for the anglo-saxon market if ever there was one.
Nestarec wines are not imported into the UK at the moment – here’s hoping that they found an importer at Rawfair.