In these contemporary times we are seeing the popularity of ‘orange’ wines, made by skin contact, usually longer than is normal in ‘conventional’ vinification. One extracts greater colour, usually orange, of course, but also there is increased phenolic extraction, which heads towards the edge of acceptability in hardness and bitterness. The best winemakers judge this well, and the wines can be fabulous to drink, and they can be better wines with food. But many can’t get the balance and the wines can be horrible to drink, and sometimes harbour faults from the minimal use of any intervention. I’m introducing another subject here, altogether, but you get the point of more extreme or ‘natural’ winemaking, I’m making.
We had a treat as delivered for dinner by Mo the Political Gal this evening – a true ‘orange’ wine. The 2001 Dirler Alsace Riesling ‘Belzbrunnen’ was a fully-aged and mature example. The colour was deep orange with golden hues. The bouquet was all about citrus (orange) fruit and mead like honey. It had gone past the toast and kero tertiary stage and showed complex hints of nuttiness, but no real oxidation. Then on palate, lusciously off-dry to taste. The Mentor and SWMBO suggested botrytis, but I didn’t find it musky. It was fully-developed fruit flavours knife-edge between citrus and nuts. Beautifully soft, rounded and luscious, with no drying out at all. The wine got richer with time in the glass. A conventional wine turned orange, and naturally over the course of time from bottle-age. Maybe this is the way to do it?