VINOTERRA 2014 Rkatsiteli

 

A Georgian Orange Wine

I can not tell you how excited I am right now. So excited that I spilled a glass of wine, ORANGE WINE at that; trying to capture a picture. :/

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Finally got my hands on a bottle of Georgian Orange Wine from my local Total Wines. Before I even share the vineyard information, I have to tell that I have NEVER EVER SMELLED ANYTHING LIKE Vinoterra 2014 Rkatsiteli – AMAZING!

As soon as I popped the cork, I am greeted with vibrant aromas that reminds me of a port, a liqueur; there’s honey and hints of licorice, not black licorice. The alcohol content appears to be high, but the bottle states it’s only 13%. The color is Orange, this is far from a Rose with hues of orange; this wine is Orange with Amber hues.

For some reason, I’m smiling, “I’m about to try my first authentic orange wine!” An orange wine fermented in clay vessels. I invite you to read my blog on “The Legendary Mr. David A. Harvey – ORIGINS OF MODERN USAGE OF ORANGE WINE“.

My palate is salivating; let’s begin!

Ok, a light-bodied, earthy, refreshing with a slight mineral and sweet tart flavors on the finish and soft tannins that slowly building then gracefully dissipates. Vinoterra Rkatsiteli your vibrant aromas and complex flavors have me intrigued – VERY TASTY!

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Folks, an orange wine is far from a Rose. My blog “Orange Wine? that identifies Chrysalis Tximeleta as an orange wine NOT! Just a delicious Rose with light hues. 🙂

Vinoterra, you are my first and only, thus far, and you are GOOOD ; and no wonder….!

Vinoterra: A Leader in Qvevri Wine Making
Vinoterra is a Schuchmann Wine brand that is Georgia’s largest Qvevri wine producer. All Vinoterra wines utilize Qveveri, large clay jars buried underneath the ground, for fermentation maceration and aging. Started by famous Georgian wine Maker Gogi Dakishvili Vinoterra was one of the first commercial producers of Georgian qvevri wine on the international stage and has helped revive the industry. Since 2003 Vinoterra has been producing some of the highest quality and most appealing Georgian qvevri wines. Vinoterra’s whites are Amber or “Orange” wines since they all see close to 6 months of skin contact. Vinoterra produces three dry whites: Vinoterra Rkatsiteli, Vinoterra Mtsvane and Vinoterra Kisi. They also produce reds such as the Vinoterra Saperavi.

89 POINTS
Wine & Spirits Magazine, 2011

ABOUT WINE
The Vinoterra Rkatsiteli is a perfect intro into Georgian Amber qvevri wines. Vinoterra is now the largest qvevri producer after starting out as a family project in 2003. Wine Maker Gogi Dakishvili crafts this all natural wine with the western pallet in mind. His qvevri wines have all of the characteristics of authentic Georgian qvevri wine but with elevated acidity and more rounded tannin.” – (www.georgianwinehouse.com)

 

qvevri

courtesy of lordofthedrinks.com

A typical Georgian wine cellar with the holes in the ground for the qvevri’s.

For more information or to locate a wine shop that sells Georgian Wine visit: http://www.georgianwinehouse.com, a wine and spirits importer.

 

 

Salute! Sante!

The Legendary Mr. David A. Harvey – ORIGINS OF MODERN USAGE OF ORANGE WINE

 

On February 8, 2016, I posted a blog title “Orange Wine”. The research material that was utilized for my blog had inaccurate information. It was reported that UK Wine Merchant David Harvey “accidentally” created the term “Orange Wine”. Well, Mr. Harvey himself contact me and provided accurate information. YES, MR. DAVID HARVEY! 🙂 I was ecstatic, like a school girl who was finally able to wear her new “black and whites” shoes for the first day of school.

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I ran to my husband and excitedly explained, in response to my blog, the man who created the term “orange wine” sent “ME” an email. Softly smiling he replies, “Baby that’s good.” Of course, I had to read him the message. 😀

On May 30, 2016, I corrected the “Orange Wine?” blog post to read as follows:

The term “orange wine” was created by UK Wine Merchant David Harvey in 2004, which was purposefully created and others saw fit to use the term since that time.

Mr. Harvey bestowed upon me the honor to share his “ORIGINS OF MODERN USAGE OF ORANGE WINE”, which I am much appreciative. (And days later, I am still ECSTATIC!) 😀

Without further ado, I present you the: 

ORIGINS OF MODERN USAGE OF ORANGE WINE, by David Harvey (edited May 2016 for Tree)

I actively discussed this issue from first principles with Frank Cornelissen, when working with Frank on Etna in 2004, and started to use it thereafter. It was the year of making his Mongibello Bianco No.1 2004 (now Munjebel Bianco): we were daily drinking and talking about Radikon, Dario Princic, Gravner, Vodopevic, Castellada, pre-2002 La Biancara, Massia Vecchia, etc.

The quest for a name arose from my concern that there was no name, let alone category for these wines, which are visually, aromatically and structurally divergent from white wines, and would therefore risk rejection in both the on- and off-trades, having worked as Head Sommelier between 1993 and 2002.

The rational was that they should be labelled by the same criteria as white/rosé/red wine, i.e. by the final colour of the wine, and not the component parts (e.g. colour of grape,) nor the technique (e.g. sparkling, fortified, skin-contact, etc.)  All the other possible colour names were already used in specific appellations, e.g. Vin Jaune (yellow), Rivesaltes Ambré (amber) etc., or were too pretentious, like’ golden wine’, or were not common to key wine-production languages.

Skin-contact for example was not considered useful, as very brief contact in French is called maceration-pelliculaire, and, most all red wines receive skin-contact. So the term is simply not precise, nor unique.   

And, I admit that I did not take very seriously Orange state, Orange county, orange fruit, as origins or materials with potential conflict. (For which, the relevant Australian authorities have since publicly spoken out.) 

Georgia was also discussed at some point: someone (who?) told me that in Georgia, ‘red wine’ meant just that, ‘white wine’ ditto, but that ‘wine’, tout-court, meant macerated white grapes. Georgia does have claim to being an ancient wine country, with use of ancient vessel types, and possibly unceasing use of macerating white grapes. However, it does not have the oldest proven claim, the sole terracotta claim, the sole maceration claim, and certainly not the total quality claim. Yes, it did directly inspire the re-introduction of white grape maceration, for total quality dry orange wine-making in Italy. However, the great examples in the 21st Century hail from an epicentre of Oslavia in the Collio, produced since 1997, released this century. The renaissance (or emergence) of quality in Georgia postdates this period, and of the qualitatively top three or five orange wines, all are arguably made in Italy.

I used it ‘naturally’ in tastings or conversation with Jancis Robinson MW and Rose Murray-Brown MW in 2008, Jamie Goode, the Dressner team at Villa Favorita, Alice Feiring (at La Dive, in the Veneto, in London, etc.), Joseph di Blasi of Vinosseur, after which it was used for the first time. There is no prior mention I have come across, online or in print. I also used it with a bunch of winemakers.

As wine merchant sous l’nez, my early offers to private clients also went to some UK press, with orange wines labelled as such from 2006. L’Ortolan restaurant, whom I have helped out over the years, ran an orange wine section since about 2007 under Head Somm Stephen Nisbet. I believe that the first monographs were ‘Glass of Orange’ by Rose Murray Brown MW in The Scotsman, April 2008, and Jancis Robinson MW’s write up of the Contrade dell’Etna tasting online in April 2008. (Frank Cornelissen was in Belgium getting divorced, and so I flew down to man his table, and used the term naturally.) It has since been used in most all the major UK & US broadsheets, blogs and beyond.

So, we could now go back and say that traditional Tokaji, where the aszu berries are macerated in a base wine, is orange, whereas modern direct-pressed Tokaji, or pure free-run Essenzia, is white. Same for white port: foot trod white-grape port is orange, whereas direct press white-grape port is white (if perhaps coloured due to oxidative tendancies, or elevage, which does not count.

Of course, someone may have said it before. Isabelle Legeron MW subsequently found the Pliny quote about there being ‘white, yellow, red and bIack wines’. (My orange is almost certainly his yellow.) I was simply systematic about choosing the name ‘orange’ and using it, with a certain group of people at a certain time, with no ambition other than enhancing communication, which seems to have worked. There was no forced attempt to make it stick: it merely happened to stick. I cannot truly say that I now entirely agree with my choice, however: it is no coincidence that Cornelissen calls his wine white, and Gravner calls his wine amber…

In 2011, I wrote a concise article for The World of Fine Wine, and in 2015, the entry on orange wine for The Oxford Companion to Wine, 4th Edition, edited by Jancis Robinson MW.

David A.Harvey
Raeburn Wines, London Office
david@raeburnfinewines.com
http://www.raeburnfinewines.com


FANTASTIC!!! Very informative and an enjoyable read! Mr. Harvey, Thank You, Again!

Folks, I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did. For a copy of the articles previously mentioned in Mr. Harvey’s article visit  The World of Fine Wine

 

Now, I’m on the hunt for some Orange Wines.

Salute! Sante!

Note. featured image from sloveniaforyou.com

Orange Wine?

 

UPDATED on 5/30/16 to reflect accurate information – the term “orange wine” was created by UK Wine Merchant David Harvey in 2004, which was purposefully created and others saw fit to use the term since that time.  Mr. Harvey thank you for bringing this to my attention. 

 

Yup, we have officially ran out of everyday drinking wines. There was one point in time that I had 300 plus bottles of wine in the cellar. Smiling, I recall the wonderful memories that has diminished my wine collection such as, girls day out relaxing by the pool, surprising a friend, private wine tasting parties or welcoming a new family to the neighborhood. Great Wine = Great Times!

Eenie, meanie, miney, moe

I say this to explain asking my husband to select a bottle of wine is like digging for gold in a mine. “They’re too damn good, man!” he yells from downstairs. LOL (he becomes so frustrated when selecting a bottle a wine). Trying to contain my laughter, from upstairs, I return the howl, “Babe, just select a 2002 or 2003 Chrysalis Lockley Reserve (a Norton), we have to drink the wine someday.” Guess what he selected, not the Norton; a 2012 Chateau O’Brien Tannat. Alarming I said, “Oh no, I’m laying this beauty down.” he responds, “This is why I do not like going down there” :). On a mission, I am determined to find a bottle of wine that will not cause us distress. (I find myself chuckling because subconsciously, I thought, “Goodness, when are you going to get to the topic of this blog.) It is bad when your subconscious feels you are talking too much. Okay, let’s speed this up. I choose a 2014 Chrysalis Vineyards Tximeleta (pronounced, chee-may-LAY-tah).

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For those of you who know my husband, he prefers red wine and will drink a Guinness before having a glass of white wine. Tximeleta is a rose, so it is a good middle ground. I hand him a shimmering rose with orange highlights. What a classy wine! Intrigued, we sniff: fruity aromas; sip: mmm… a quick butter flavor graces my lips with sweet tarts skating along my palate; yes, skate. The wine is soft, smooth and glides across my palate. We both give Tximeleta a nod of approval.

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I dissect the Tximeleta further; the color is more orange than rose. I wonder what is Tximeleta? Is Norton giving the wine its orange highlights, but it’s not in Norton’s characteristic to produce orange hues. I then wonder is this “Orange Wine?” What is Orange Wine? Time to hit the World Wide Web.

Orange Wine
Hunting for facts to conduct my own research and not utilize information from another blog, I stumbled upon orangefestival.eu.
Apparently, Slovenia (I like that they enhanced the “love” in the country’s name) is holding an “Orange Wine” festival. Now, I’m really fascinated about “orange wine”.

 

Slovenia

Slovenia is nestled between Austria, Croatia, Italy, and Hungary.

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Slovenia has 3 main wine-growing regions, where over 40,000 wineries reside:

  1. PODRAVSKA produces Slovania’s most prestigious wines. Wines in this area date back to pre-historic times.
  2. POSASKA, the smallest out of the regions and
  3. PRIMORSKA, the most developed out of the regions.

 

Slovenia wines date back to the era of the Celts and Illyrian tribes. Seventy-five percent of Slovenia wines are white wine. There are approximately 6,000 recorded varieties and the majority of wines are consumed domestically.

I’m laughing at myself because I refuse to accept the research I found on orange wine. I was determined to discover an ancient wine-making process that only European wine-makers were aware of; NOPE! And orange wine does not contain orange peel. It’s simply a lengthen maceration with grape skins, which is the same process to produce red wine AND THAT’S ALL FOLKS!

In a nutshell:

  • The term “orange wine”, which is also referred to as “amber wine” was created by UK Wine Merchant David Harvey in 2004.
  • Orange wine is made by fermenting the juice of ripe white grapes with their skins for a long period of time.
  • Depending upon the maceration period, which could be a week to a year, the wine will posses an amber-gold-pink-orange color.
  • The tannins levels in orange wine are typically higher than in white wine.
  • Due to the color, there are Italian winemakers who feel there should be a wine category for “orange (amber) wine.” When customers order a white wine and the color is orange they become apprehensive.
  • Many wines produced in the country of Georgia (make sure you don’t think I’m talking about the state :)) are macerated.

So the question remains, is Chrysalis Vineyards Tximeleta an orange wine? Based on my research “YES, INDEED!” However, Chrysalis states otherwise:

Tximeleta (the Basque word for butterfly) is a rosé wine, made exclusively from Fer Servadou grapes. We bled clear juice from the freshly crushed fruit before it had chance to extract any character from the skins. The purpose of this was to increase the ratio of skins to juice for the Fer Servadou red wine – a component of the Rubiana blend. The bled juice was fermented on its own and was originally allocated to the Mariposa blend. However, after evaluating this wine, we were so impressed with it that we decided to bottle it on its own. This wine is decidedly Old World in style – blush in color, focused fruit, with crisp acidity.”Chrysalis Vineyards February 2015 VIP Newsletter

So folks, there you go, Chrysalis refers to Tximeleta as a “rose”. But based on the wine’s color, I’m calling Tximeleta an orange wine ;).

 

Salute! Sante’!

 

Resources:
sloveniaforyou.com
thinkslovenia.com
The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson