Piquette is a low alcohol wine traditionally made for vineyard workers to quench their thirst during or after a hard day’s work in the sun.
The recipe is simply:
After pressing the grape pomace to extract the remainder of its juice, you pour over some spring water and let it ferment a second time.
The result is a light, juicy and extremely refreshing wine.
It’s not a wine whose aromatic complexity you will dwell on for very long. Instead it’s a wine for immediate enjoyment. And a wine that you may choose to drink on occasions where you’d usually reach for a beer. A beverage for good times.
Piquette is fun!
And so is Fabien’s one liter of ‘Piquette Oldschool’.
When I poured my first glass of this wine it struck me: What if it had been served to me blind in a black glass?
Would I have guessed that it was a red wine?
I might have guessed orange.
Or perhaps I would have saved myself the embarrassment with the help of a couple of red references, namely István Bencze’s Pinot Noir and Karl Schnabel’s ‘Sausal’.
So it’s red. But why then do I get this white wine aroma?
Let’s have a look at the varieties.
Well, I don’t know about you, but except the last one I have no idea if these grapes are blue or green. So I did a little web searching. And it turns out that ‘Noual’ is a white wine variety. But that’s about the info I was able to find.
‘Autochtones’ is Fabien Jouves’ celebration of four forgotten local varieties. In the chalky soils of his southwestern France.
Besides the fruity nose of an aromatic orange, it is…
– Juicy like the juiciest of Gamays.
– Cheekily volatile
– An energetic youngster
– Gone like dew before the sun
Thanks Fabien – for introducing me to your forgotten friends!
I couldn’t agree more. So I went on a mission. Here’s who I brought with me.
Principiano’s Nebbiolo wines are always in the elegant corner of the spectrum. And in his Langhe Nebbiolo 2018 this is exemplified with conviction. This young charmer is a force of nature with its vigor and strong positives vibes. Fresh cherries, wild strawberries, a touch of autumn and a yummy licorice finish. Juicy and drinkable. Classy and handsome.
Morten and I both read that 2016 is a fantastic Barolo vintage. But none of us had tried any of them. Usually the really great vintages require a lot of patience so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Principiano’s 2016 is indeed ready to drink right now. Bright, fragrant and feminin. But – as is always the case with Barolo – with an opinion of her own. A stunning beauty with a big broad smile on her face 🙂
Quality is about meeting (or exceeding) expectations. The specifications are set and clear. Meet the specs and you’ve delivered quality.
The majority of wine produced is certainly made from set specifications. But the wine I drink (and I assume that the same goes for you) are less of a commodity to be of such predictive character.
The outcome of a truly remarkable wine is formed along the way. Because it’s not made in a factory. It’s made my a human being who knows the craft. Or the art, if you will. Like there’s a difference between a painter and an artist.
And then there are the exceptions, or gray zones:
Alsace is the essence of ‘terroir’. Riesling is probably the region’s most renowned variety to express it sense of place. And the winegrowers are packed together in a very small space. Experience have accumulated for ages and so have our expectations. A strong mental spec has formed.
My mental spec consists of words like dry, crisp, tropical, mineral, complex, uplifting and joyful.
Of course, talking about production quality we can’t avoid also taking into consideration the ever-present elephant in the room: Price
. . .
Domaine Achillée is all about quality.
And since the first time I tasted their ‘basic’ Riesling from 2018 I’ve been impressed by the precision and drinkability of this wine. I am just enjoying this wine so much.
So in the end it all depends on the price. Which by my standards is definitely acceptable.
First, what we have decided to call ‘orange wine’ is just a white wine vinified with skin contact. A white wine with 24 hours of skin contact is usually not very different from at wine without skincontact. A white wine with 9 months of skin contact is very different from one without. So when to call it a white and when to call it orange? It’s up to you. Sort of the same with rosé and red (a little skin contact / much skin contact).
Second, most of the grape’s aroma compounds sit in the skin. So a long extraction period releases a lot of aroma. Using aromatic grape varieties like Moscato, Malvasia or Gewürztraminer will initially increase the aroma of the wine. But the thing is, the aromatic imprint of the skin contact has a limit, and oftentimes it even seems to reverse. The fruity aromas become less dominant after a certain lenght of contact between must and skins.
Third, the grape skins contain phenolic compounds, most notably ‘tannins’. Tannins add this mouth-drying feeling to the wine. So the longer the skincontact, the dryer the mouth.
Fourth, orange wines seems to show less acidity as they spend time with the skins. They may be more complex, but a wine without freshness is not a lot of fun.
It’s a balancing act.
‘Sine Felle Ambrato’ is a nice way explore this balancing act. To dance a little dance with aroma, tannin and acidity. To see if you click like she and I do.
– With around four month of skin contact the color is a clear amber orange (‘ambrato’ means ‘amber’).
– The wine is made of both aromatic and more neutral varieties.
– It is definitely an aromatic wine but it’s not shouting at the top of its lungs. It is more subtle.
– There is a good tannic bite, but not too overwhelming.
To me this is an orange wine in a beautiful balance. It is made without anything added or taken away, and having known Podere Casaccia for several years I can attest to the fact that ‘Ambrato’ is clearly reflecting the place it comes from.