Orange? Red? Something Else?
This week we explore a Slovakian orange wine, an Oregon red, and a mysterious blend from Southern France.
The past week has been a bit of rollercoaster on account of the political news but we’ve managed to find a little bit of solace in a disconnected but delicious trio of wines. While it’s great to have a focused tasting, sometimes it’s better to just let your imagination run wild, searching for wines that you’ve never had before that really open up the mind for intrigue. This is where we landed this week.
The first wine, an orange from Slovakia, is probably the most conventional of the bunch, fruit forward and approachable. A Carbonic Pinot Noir from Oregon shape shifts under a chill or at cellar temperature while Es d’Aqui’s “All In Wine” blends four red grapes and one white grape (!) into a lithe but dense package. We might not drink any of these wines on a regular basis but they end up being perfect fodder for what we can drink next.
Slobodne, Oranžista (2018)
Anyhing Pinot Gris is sure to be fun but Agnes Lovecka & Mišo Kuropka bring a new level of care to this Slovakian skin contact version. Though it veers toward the lighter end of what a skin contact wine can be, do not mistake this electric orange color for something simple. Tannic and barnyard notes intermingle on the nose but the palette is decidedly more refreshing with juicy apricot and orange notes, herbaceous fresh fig characteristics, and a hint of tannic grip. This is the kind of wine that is truly mouthwatering in the sense that we had one sip and instantly needed another.
Though we are unfortunately sold out of this for now, we do have another Slovakian wine available from Strekov 1075 in Nigori (2017). It’s much more adventurous than Slobodne’s offering but it perfectly showcases what this country can produce.
For the second bottle we decided to return stateside to the same winery we reviewed in the previous week. When you think of Oregon, Pinot Noir is probably one of the first grapes you think of. But relatively few wineries make this via Carbonic Maceration as opposed to Gamay. Division, however, has always wanted to champion wine experiments at affordable prices and they have succeeded in a big way here.
The best part about this wine lies in its versatility. It drinks well super chilled but it can also hold up at cellar temperature a day later. It all depends on what type of flavor profile you’re looking for. On the nose, earthy and red fruit shines. Chilled, the wine exhibits bright strawberry and softness upfront. A little warmer, blackberry and more brambly notes build with a solid acid structure and slightly dusty quality. It might be Carbonic but once it’s left for a night, the earthiness that develops makes no mistake that this is a Pinot Noir.
Jean-Louis Pinto works near Limoux, in the southwestern region of France and is a stickler for low-intervention wines. His Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Franc, Mourvèdre, Muscat blend is truly one of the more unusual offerings from France. It manages to present floral qualities on the nose and is built on a lithe minerality with hints of red and black fruit. But this is a wild wine as it begins to open up. Yes, there are some mousy qualities but it really develops more of a meaty, feral quality as it evolves. It’s not particularly tannic but the brawny of Southern France really shines through.
On the spectrum of ambitious wines, this is toward the top. It’s not as if you get any particularly unusual notes but it will take you on a journey if you leave it open for the evening.
Until next time, happy sipping!