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Orange juice

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Last up were COS’s two orange wines.

IGP Terre Siciliane 2012, Ramì, Azienda Agricola COS ($30.00, 12461525)
Inzolia (50%) and Grecanico (aka Garganega, 50%) from biodynamically and organically vines averaging ten years old. The grapes are manually harvested, destemmed, soft-crushed and macerated on the skins and pips for ten days. Temperature-controlled fermentation (with indigenous yeasts) and maturation take place in concrete tanks. The wine is filtered before bottling with a 2-micron filter. No sulphur is used during the wine-making but a small squirt of sulphur dioxide is added at bottling. Reducing sugar: 1.5 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Delicious nose of straw and beeswax with hints of dried apricot, sun-baked stone and spice. Smooth and full in the mouth. The muted fruit is perfumed by dried orange, blanched almond and faint powdered ginger overtones. Bright acidity and supple tannins add tension and firmness. Long, balanced and remarkably fresh. While this may not be a radical example of the category – Orange Wine 101? – on its own terms it is wholly satisfying. It may also be the most versatile cheese wine in existence. (Buy again? Definitely.)

IGP Terre Siciliane 2012, Pithos, Bianco, Azienda Agricola COS ($42.00, 12316352)
Grecianico from biodynamically and organically farmed vines averaging a bit less than 15 years old. Manually harvested. The whole-clusters are fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured seven months in 400-litre terracotta amphorae, which are buried up to their necks to impede oxidation. Further maturation takes place in the bottle. Unfiltered. Minimally sulphured. Reducing sugar: 1.5 g/l. 10.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
By both the winemaker’s and agent’s admission, high in volatile acidity, not that you can see it. Complex nose of straw, banana peel, white spice, almond, dried yellow fruit, crushed rocks. So suave in the mouth. Smooth textured, fluid and fresh. The fruit is understated – though you definitely taste the skins along with grapes – and lightly tinted by salted caramel. Faint tannins add structure and an intriguing astringency, particularly on the finish. Not a shouter but no less wonderful for it. (Buy again? Yes.)

Carafe these several hours in advance and don’t make the mistake of drinking them too cold; remember, they’re as akin to red wines as to whites. I usually find 14-16°C (around 60°F) about right.

MWG April 14th tasting: flight 6 of 6.

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Written by carswell

August 26, 2015 at 16:54

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