TN: Bastianich Orange PinotGrigio '06...(short/boring)

Tried this last week back in NJ:

  1. Bastianich VignetiFriulani PinotGrigio (Sample#24; Clne 917j; Vnyd: Buttrio/Prem; Maceration: 15 days; Barrique: #2/Allier; 14%; RS: 1.41; TA: 4.45; www.Bastianich.com) 2006: Med.dark red/brown color; strange apple cider/slight oxidized slight floral/earthy rather light/shy nose; rather tannic/bitter/astringent/hard/austere slight floral/earthy slight aged/oxidized/apple cider near-dry strange flavor; long slight oxidized/apple cider rather bitter/astringent/tannic strange near-dry finish; not a particularly attractive and really quite weird wine. $37.00/hlf

And a wee BloodyPulpit:

  1. Orange wines: This is a movement founded by Radikon and Gravner in Friuli which is intended to be a return to old-time winemaking techniques of the region. These orange wines are white wines made like a red wine; with skin macerations of various lengths of time. Which is generally where their orange color comes from. PinotGris/Grigio has a faint pinkish blush to the skin which gives it a bit more of a reddish color. It’s a movement that’s particularly strong in Friuli/Slovenia and making a comeback in Georgia. Oftentimes the wines are aged in huge amphora buried in the ground. Radikon and Gravner wines are usually aggressively priced near $100/btl.
    Probably driven by these high prices, possibly driven by the desire to do something “different” (and therefore being able to sell for higher prices); the technique has been drawing some interest in California.
    I try as many of these orange wines as I can lay my hands upon. When I try them, I always hear this little voice out of Monktown admonishing me that “you have to think outside the box to appreciate this wine”. So I try them with as open a mind as I can possibly muster.
    One of the things I’ve found w/ orange wines is that you need to serve them at red wine temperatures, not cold white wine temperatures. This ameliorates the tannins impact on the palate, which can make them taste highly bitter/astringent.
    So…have I grown to love orange wines as a genre?? Guess I’ll have to say the jury’s still out on the technique. Many of them, especially when amphora aged, can be rather oxidized in character. Oxidation is something that is not necessarily a negative in a white wine in my mind. Oftentimes, I find the wines are not particularly attractive to taste by themselves…they really need food to accompany them. Assertive foods like tapas where you might have a sherry to accompany them. Something that can tame the bitterness of these orange wines.
    Typically, the orange wines I’ve found the most attractive are those w/ limited skin contact during their fermentation. The skin contact gives the wine a rather interesting/complexing character, but not enough to obliterate the varietal character and push the wine over the edge into the “weird” category.
    So…I think the jury’s still out (in my mind) as to the potential of these orange wines. I’m not ready to declare them a failure yet…but certainly some of them can test the bounds of my wine appreciation. Sometimes “interesting” is the antithesis of “tastes damn good”.
    Tom