The ‘orange’ wine category has grown in significance over the last few years. The trendy sommeliers around the world have embraced the style, even though a great many of the wines are faulty, unbalanced and just not pleasant to drink. Sure skin contact can extract greater and more interesting flavours, as well as greater phenolics which can call out for drinking with food to ameliorate the textures. But if they’re not nice, then they’re not great.
Thank goodness there are many good winemakers who acknowledge this basic tenet, and the number of orange (and natural wines too) bottlings that are delicious are ever-increasing. I’ve had more ordinary or poor orange wines than good, but I can clearly remember the good ones. They are the real juice. Jen Parr at Valli Vineyards in Central Otago has made one of best I’ve tasted and drank lately. Made from Pinot Gris from Gibbston, with barrel ferment ant aging on lees, the skin contact was judged just right, and the citrussy flavours clear as a bell. It’s called the 2015 Valli Vineyards ‘The Real McCoy’ Central Otago Pinot Gris Orange Wine, the name a pun on one of the best brands of orange juice. Clever eh?