Updated: Jun 10, 2021
There is definitely something to be said for going wild or ‘au naturel’. Maybe it is connection with the elements, maybe it is a feeling of freedom, maybe something more primeval, who knows… Some love it, some don’t. You can always ask a Scotsman for an opinion! In terms of wine, the emergence of ‘orange wines' has caused the same polarizing response in people.
What is orange wine? It's actually white wine which has been allowed to ferment with the skins for a few days or even a year. It harkens back to the days of yore when winemaking was done with minimal intervention or additives. The flavor profile is quite different than conventional wines, often described as “funky” or bitter, with cider-like characteristics due to the long maceration (on-skin fermentation). I have tasted many orange wines over the years and found them interesting, but rarely was I enticed to pour a second glass.
Cue Wenzel Wild and Free VooDoo Child Pinot Gris 2019 ($34), a beautiful rusty-rose coloured natural wine from Burgenland, Austria. It is wild indeed. Take a sniff and you are already rushing to sort through your VHS collection for One Million Years BC with Raquel Welch. The flavor is beautifully rustic, with lots of yellow and red raspberries, herbs and earth.
We enjoyed it this weekend with a board of cheeses, salami and pickles. It was really quite heavenly and before I knew it the bottle was empty. I urge you to give it a try. I am happy to slip it into a mixed case of some other favorites and don’t be surprised if you find yourself ordering more! For the full effect you can wear a kilt while drinking it too!
Drinking tip: Pull the cork an hour before enjoying, and put it in the fridge to chill. The air helps to tame it just the right amount before it reaches your glass.
On the red side, the very last few cases of the 2015 ALIT Pinot Noir are now available for the last lucky few. There is a new vintage coming out, but for those who are hooked, put your orders in before it goes.