Meiningers:SimonWoolf on Orange Wines...

Posted by: TomHill

Meiningers:SimonWoolf on Orange Wines... - 01-21-2019 11:28:44

As linked in WineTerroirist, SimonWoolf has an interesting article:
SimonWoolf:OrangeWines
who argues that orange wines are here to stay.

He is using the term "orange" wine in the context that I do, any skin-contact white, whether made in an oxidative style like Gravner/Radikon, or made in a reductive style, like ForlornHope or JimCowan.
He, of course, connects orange wines to the ancient ways used in Georgian wines and bills it as a return to ancient winemaking and what makes it unique.

I found this quote particularly of note:
Originally Posted By: "Simon"
Despite the cries of naysayers that the orange wine technique obscures both variety and terroir, many of the style’s most enthusiastic protagonists insist the exact opposite is true. “The terroir is in the skins,” says biodynamics and cold climate viticulture pioneer Deirdre Heekin of La Garagista.

I guess I'd call BS on this statement. My one criticism of orange wines is that it obscures varietal character and terroir, which casts me firmly in the naysayer camp, I guess.
The skin-contact whites I've liked the most are the ones that have either limited skin-contact that allows the varietal character to also show. Or have been blends of skin-contact whites and conventional crush whites. Like SamBilbro's Cortese. But if the skin-contact is lengthy, I find the phenolic/resiny pretty much dominates the wine.
As for terroir, I've yet to pick up any identifiable terroir in any orange wines. At least terroir as I recognize it. I think Lodi has a fairly distinctive terroir. Yet I've yet to pick up any Lodi terroir in MattRorick's oranges, struggle as I might.

Another quote that caught my eye was:
Originally Posted By: "Simon"
Non-aromatic white varieties such as Ribolla Gialla, Welschriesling or Trebbiano di Toscana have limited range when vinified as conventional white wines. They’re varieties that lack a strong fruit profile or character – neutral would be kind.

Again, I would quibble with this. I would hardly describe RibollaGiallo as neutral in character. In fact, some of the orange wines I've liked the best are made from aromatic varieties like SauvBlanc, Viognier, Gruner, and Malvasia.

Another quote:
Originally Posted By: "Simon"
Fashion may be shining a spotlight on this style at the moment, but it would be mistaken to lump orange wines together with other supposedly on-trend novelties such as blue or aromatised wines. Skin fermenting white grapes to produce orange wine is arguably one of the most ancient methods of winemaking in existence, increasingly taking its place among the holy trinity of white, red and rosé. A great deal of its adoption in winemaking circles is premeditated on the grounds of expedience and the wish to express grape rather than human hand.

Again, I would argue this point. To me, most orange wines are more an expression of the winemaking rather than the grape.
I think orange wines will remain a niche wine and will never take their place alongside the holy triumvirate of "white/rose/red" as Simon contends. The day I see a Rombauer orange Chard, then I will stand corrected.

Anyway, an interesting read even if I don't agree totally w/ Simon.
Tom
Posted by: Florida Jim

Re: Meiningers:SimonWoolf on Orange Wines... - 01-22-2019 10:37:09

Tom,
Just a pot stirring thought:
If someone made all their reds without fermenting them on the skins, would that make those wines more terroir driven?

My point is that the word is near impossible to define.
So I try not to.

I like orange wines.
I find most work better with food than might be first expected.
I also find they tend to age reasonably well.
All of those things are sufficient for me - you?
Best, Jim
Posted by: TomHill

Yup.. - 01-22-2019 10:45:50

Originally Posted By: Florida Jim
Tom,
Just a pot stirring thought:
If someone made all their reds without fermenting them on the skins, would that make those wines more terroir driven?

My point is that the word is near impossible to define.
So I try not to.

I like orange wines.
I find most work better with food than might be first expected.
I also find they tend to age reasonably well.
All of those things are sufficient for me - you?
Best, Jim

Yup, Jim...preachin' to the chior here.
I find many orange wines can be a bit painful to taste on their own. But, with food, they can really sing. Sometimes.
Tom