John Kight wrote: ↑
April 3rd, 2019, 8:18 am
Otto Forsberg wrote: ↑
April 3rd, 2019, 6:18 am
John Kight wrote: ↑
April 3rd, 2019, 6:06 am
I like the COS Pithos Bianco. It's a "mildly orange" wine, without as much skin contact as Radikon, and I feel that it shows more grape complexity and less of the monolithic character that comes from some of the more overdone skin contact wines.
It's funny when people say this, but they'd never say how a Provencal rosé shows more grape complexity and less of the monolithic character than the wines made in, say, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
But yeah, I agree with you, at least up to a point - for example many producers try to coax out more varietal character in their whites with maceration periods of 6-48 hours. Still, I'd argue that with most orange / skin contact wines the monolithic character comes from winemaking practices, not extended skin contact
. I've had tons of lovely, balanced and not overdone orange wines / skin-contact whites with very long maceration times.
Honestly, when I drink these wines I have no idea what the actual maceration time was. Skin contact wines have certain taste characteristic, and I always assume that the stronger that characteristic, the longer the skin contact must have been. My objection/concern is that I find that as wines acquire more of this skin-contact flavour, they tend to taste more and more similar to one another. It may be that I just haven't had enough of them (though I've probably tasted 20-30) to be able to distinguish between them. (As per your rose/CdP analogy above, I can certainly imagine an inexperienced red-wine drinker saying that all reds taste too much alike.) My favourite of the orange wines have been Paolo Bea's Santa Chiara (a top favourite, as it's very elegant for this category), Coenobium (mentioned above), Cos Pithos Bianco, Gravner wines generally (though they are far too expensive), Vodopivec Vitovska, the Zidarich Ribolla Gialla, and the Movia wines (which I adore).
Well, I guess I agree w/ Otto's comment...to an extent. But also w/ John's take as well.
I've been tasting as many skin-contact whites as I can. Depending (somewhat) on the length of skin-contact, they have a distinct character that I refer to as "phenolic". A sort of
savory/saline character. Sometimes/oftentimes it can dominate the wine to the extent that varietal character is sublimed, at least varietal character as I recognize. Sort like heavy
botrytis, with its peachy/apricotty character, can dominate a wine at the expense of the varietal character..at least varietal character as I recognize it. I've had Navarro R & GWT
TBA's side by side and danged if I can identify any varietal character in them.
This "phenolic" character tends to be more dominate with the longer the skin-contact...but not always. I've had skin-contact whites w/ only a few days of maceration
that are dominated by the phenolics. And I've had skin-contact whites w/ month or more skin-contact in which the "phenolic" character is not dominate.
When it comes to skin-contact whites, I tend to like the ones that are not all about "phenolic" character...ones that tend to have other things, mostly fruit/varietal character
in them. This seems to be when the skin-contact time is less. But not always. These wines tend to be more balanced and not as tannic on the palate.
One that I particularly like is SamBilbro's Cortese. It is made by harvesting the sun-exposed grapes and making via skin-contact. The shaded Cortese grapes are made conventionally.
These two lots are then blended to achieve a wine that has a nice blend of phenolic character and ripe fruit.
A recent skin-contact white that blew me away was the SandiSkerk Ograde '16. It had 2 weeks of skin-contact, post-fermentation. I was expecting it to be dominated by the
phenolics. It was not and showed that nice balance between skin-contact phenolics and lush/ripe fruit. A fantastic skin-contact white I thought...one of the best.
Another aspect is how these skin-contact whites age. Certainly the phenolics send them on a rather uncertain ageing trajectory. I've had some very strongly phenolic whites
that, with age, evolved into a very/very exotic wine. But not something you would recognize as a well-aged Vitovska, say. I'm not very good at predicting how these skin-contact
whites are going to evolve. Need to take more data points, I guess.