The challenge was to organize an Orange Wine tasting that would be up to the panel of participants, a selected group of sommeliers, restaurateurs and wine experts. We have never backed off challenges, so we were set to work on this one.

The first objective was deciding how to organize the tasting, that is, what criteria to follow for selecting wines, and then how to organize them. To do this, it was necessary to take into account that it would not be a standard tasting in which we could compare some wines to others, since by the own characteristics of the Orange Wines, these could not be compared. With this in mind, we would choose wines produced with different varieties, from different countries and with different winemaking methods. After a thorough research, we came to the selection of ten different wines from six countries. Some of the wines used autochthonous grapes, others used international varieties.

The next step was to decide the tasting order. The decision was to start with the wines whose period of maceration on the skins was smaller and increase this period with each wine. This would allow us to see the influence of maceration with some independence of variety. Not much, but a bit at least.

The third decision was to conduct it as a blind tasting. This way each taster would face each glass of wine without knowing what was ahead, with the only clue of the maceration period and method of aging.

The wines selected and their order of presentation were as follows:

  1. Erea Da Vila 2015, Godello, Doña Blanca, Colgadeira. Daterra Viticultores. Galicia (Spain). Five days of maceration, ten months of aging in oak barrels and clay amphora.
  2. Malvasia 2014, Azienda Agricola Skerk. Carso-Kras (Italy). Ten days of maceration, twelve months in the barrel.
  3. Jakot 2010, Friulano, Azienda Agricola Dario Prinčič. Venezia Giulia IGT (Italy). Twenty-two days of maceration and twenty-four months in the barrel.
  4. Riserva di Oslavia 2012, Ribolla Gialla, Azienda Agricola Primosic, Collio DOC (Italy). Twenty-four days of maceration, twenty-four months in the barrel.
  5. SV Jakov Malvazija 2012, Malvasia, Clai Wines, Istria (Croatia). Forty days of maceration, twelve months in the barrel.
  6. Rkatsiteli 2015, Rkatsiteli, Pheasant’s Tears, Kakheti (Georgia). Three months of maceration, XXXXXXXX months in the barrel.
  7. Hirschkäfer 2014, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Weingut Andreas Tscheppe, Steirerland (Austria). Six months of maceration in the barrel.
  8. Roter Traminer 2013 Traminer, Weingut Ronald Tauss, Steirerland (Austria). Six months of maceration in the barrel.
  9. Lunar 2008, Chardonay, Movia, Brda (Slovenia). Eight months of maceration, three months in the barrel.
  10. Sol a Sol 2011, Airen, Esencia Rural, La Mancha (Spain). Fourteen months of maceration, three months in the barrel.

The tasting was not over at this point, we had another wine to offer. Being the progression from five days to fourteen months, this wine was out of position, as we planned the tasting to be ten wines, but by its characteristics, it was worth tasting it:

  1. 2014 Pinot Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Amphorenwein, Steirerland (Austria). Six months of maceration in amphora, three months of aging in amphora.

The wines showed everything. Some of them were appreciated a lot, some others were just dull. The best thing was to see the wide range of types of orange wine making and how maceration and aging affect the final result. Then the wines were graded. A simple method: choose the three wines you liked the most. To the chosen ones in first position they were given 3 points. Two points to the chosen ones in second position and a point to the chosen ones in third position. The result for the wines scored came up as follows:

  1. Riserva di Oslavia 2012, Primosic: 29 points.
  2. Malvasia 2014, Skerk: 9 points.
  3. SV Jakov Malvasia 2012, Clai Wines: 9 points.
  4. Hirschkäffer 2014, Weingut Andreas Tscheppe: 9
  5. Erea Da Vila 2015, Daterra Winegrowers: 8 points.
  6. Jakot 2010, Azienda Agricola Dario Princic: 7 points.
  7. Sol a Sol 2011, Essence Rural: 1 point.

We have to say that the wines not getting points was not due to lack of quality. All wines were good and very good. But sometimes, in comparison, a wine feels a bit out of place. Lunar 2008 and Pinot Blanc 2014 were very good wines in our opinion. The Rkatsiteli, for example, was a true example of what an Orange wine should be, especially coming from the place these kind of wines were originating, Georgia, but it didn’t show anything of interest.

It was a great evening, very interesting wines.