We're always stoked this time of year - another release of our hands down most popular wine, a wine that almost needs no introduction: Esoterico. It's a wine that we we're so taken a back that people love it as much as they do, even when Australia's pre-eminent wine critic tears it a new one! So to celebrate, we're gonna chat all things skin contact, amber, off-white ahh to hell with it: Orange Wine. We're lucky that there are so many epic ones coming out of our country nowadays from all corners, so we're gonna try celebrate one from each state (Bar the NT - haven't had any orange wine from you guys just yet...) There are some rippers here so let's get into it!
We're spoilt for choice down south, so we thought we'd shine a light on an awesome producer out of the Vale who we don't reckon gets enough shine - especially in the world of skin contact wine! Inkwell, an awesome sustainably managed and estate only winery, make a killer skinsy Viogner with just the right amount of chalky tannin, vivacious texture and downright delicious flavour - Tangerine indeed! And if you're visiting South Australia soon since domestic tourism is pretty much back on the cards, they have some awesome accomodation on site! Holidaying is way better with wine - especially when it's near really good amber wine!
From our natural competitor state of Victoria, Smokestack Lightning is the skin contact side project from Dave Mackintosh of Arfion infamy, and all of the wines from the range are definite delights. We've picked the Gewurtztraminer from the line up because Gewurtztraminer is just one of those varieties that thrives with a bit of skin contact - in the hands of a brilliant winemaker like Dave it sings. All the great shades of Gewertz with a wonderfully, zingy, citrusy and spicy twist. Yum Yums. Maybe we've been too hard on the Vics...
Bryan Martin is a winemaking weapon. Not only does he produce some of the most incredible wines in Australia at the helm of the iconic Clonakilla, his "side hustle" (if you can call it that) is Ravensworth, one of the most boundary pushing wineries in this country - the man can do classic and groundbreaking in one fell swoop! His blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer has become one of the icons of amber wine in Australia, fermented on skins in concrete egg for Seven Months (get it), creating one of the more alluring examples in the country. Chewy tannin, ripe fruit palate and plenty of intrigue all over the place. Absolutely a must try wine!
Don't tell Brendan, this is an Orange wine from Orange that is named on the bottle an Orange Wine. Gasp. But aside from the politics, Frankly, Bob makes some great wines from the region of Orange and they just sometimes to have a bit of skin contact - like this blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Grippy, aromatic, herbaceous and spicy. A winner alongside the rest of his wines too! Maybe all wines from Orange should be like this...
Definitely not the largest range of amber options from Kween-Land - honestly you just need to flip a coin. This time, the coin read Konpira Maru and their Admiral Adama, wild and whacky Semillon from the north, spending three weeks on skins, pressed off and not messed with via additions, only a lick of sulphur. Bright, crunchy and and smashable. We're telling you, there's something brewing up in Queensland - get on it before your mates do!
It's not just the new kids on the block experimenting with skin contact wine, it's Australian icons too. Cullen is one of the countries great wineries, practicing biodynamics in the vineyard in Margaret River waaaaaaay before it was cool, producing some of Australia's greatest Cabernet and Chardonnay from the region. They've got their finger on the pulse, now experimenting with some modern winemaking techniques - enter thier 'Amber' blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, and it's just as good as you expect from a winery with this much pedigree. The future is now.
They're starting to get real serious about skin contact wine in Tassie, and we're glad our mate Nav Singh is at helm. One of our favourite wineries on the little isle off the Bass Strait is Domaine Simha, producing some fine as hell Pinot Noir and everything in between, but the wine that really has us the most excited is his 'Lotus Amphora' Riesling, which hence the name, has spent 90 days on skins in clay pots, before pressing to age on lees for 6 months, before bottling unfiltered. Excited? We certainly are. It's a bit more than fine Pinot and Chard off the mainland.