Orange wine is not just orange wine.
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.