Archive for November, 2014

Orange Wine Tasting

A winemaker friend of mine recently organized an all-ladies’ tasting group, and we met this week to taste through some wines of the ‘orange’ persuasion.  This category of wine is relatively under-discovered, but is just as much a category (albeit smaller) than red, white or rose wine.  An orange wine is a wine that displays its color in a shade of orange.  Pretty simple really.  There are only certain grapes that will give wine this unique rusty, or onion skin color, though generally these ‘white’ grapes are vinified into white wines by removing the skins from the grape must immediately after pressing them.  Since the color of wine comes from the grape skins, removing this variable will homogenize the color, and give us what we generally know as white wine.  Though this (potentially-)orange group of grapes may be considered white, they look very different from the typical green grape cluster we associate with white wines.  Have you ever seen a ripe Pinot gris cluster?  The French word ‘gris’ literally means, gray — it’s fruit is a maroonish-gray-like color, that when macerated with its must will change the juice color to a similarly orangish hue.  In the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Northeastern Italy,  small wineries on the Slovenian border (and right across it, in Slovenia) have carved out a specialty in producing beautifully colored skin-contact wines of the orange persuasion.  We were very fortunate to try a couple famous Orange wines this week from well-known producers in Italy: Radikon’s “S” Pinot grigio (aka gris) from 2009, and Skerk’s 2010 Ograde, an equal blend of Vitovska, Malvasia, Sauvignon (blanc) and Pinot grigio.

2009RADIKON S2010Skerk Ograde

I am an enormous fan of both of these wines, and am fortunate to live in an area of the country that has them in distribution (in PDX Wines book).  They both spent 2-3 weeks in contact with their skins, enough time to extract a lightly oranged color and Read More…


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