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Movia Sivi Grigio Ambra 2017
Those who love wines with interesting flavours will enjoy this unusual orange wine from Slovenia which is crafted from late harvested Pinot Grigio grapes. The grapes are harvested by hand and transported immediately to the winery to preserve freshness where they are vinified in large tanks with wild yeasts. The young wine is then transferred to oak barrels for a lengthy 18 month maturation period.
This approach to winemaking helps to create a characterful orange wine with immense ageing potential. On the nose there are intense hints of honeysuckle, dried apricot and bitter almonds while the palate is remarkably complex with layers of ripe tropical fruit, dried herbs and green walnuts. The medium body, gentle tannins and bright freshness make this a versatile gastronomic wine which can pair perfectly with everything from meatballs served in a rich tomato sauce to pan-fried tuna steaks or creamy cheeses.
The Movia winery is set in western Slovenia’s Goriška Brda region close to the border with Italy where the Mediterranean climate is ideal for producing quality wines. Founded as far back as 1700, the estate has been in the hands of the Kristančič family since 1820 and today comprises 18 hectares of which half lie across the border in Italy.
Soellner Irden Roter Veltliner 2017
Roter Veltliner is little known outside of its native Austria, but white wine aficionados across the world are quickly realising the qualities of this cult variety. The stronghold of the variety is the Wagram region which is set on rolling hills on either side of the Danube river. Here plantings of Roter Veltliner had been decreasing drastically and owe their survival to the dedication of local winemakers like the Soellner family who recognised the potential of the variety.
The variety gets its name from its red-tinged grapes which do not give any colour to the finished wine. The family ferment 80% of the Roter Veltliner grapes with the skins to add extra complexity to the finished wine and the remaining 20% in a stoneware tank. The wines are then blended and bottled in unique black stoneware bottles which are sealed with organic corks.
This unusual white wine is sure to delight fans of dry Riesling and Gruner Veltliner thanks to its crisp aromas of lemon zest, apples and white flowers. On the palate there is a racy acidity, light body and pure fruit flavours with a very clean finish.
Polvanera Verdeca Orange Wine 2018
Polvanera is best known for its opulent reds made from the local Primitivo grape, but winemaker Filippo Cassano has also turned his hand to crafting exceptional and unusual white wines. This bottling is made from the little-known rare Verdeca grape which is thought to originate from Puglia. Cassano’s expression is made as an orange wine with a 20-day maceration on the skins to extract plenty of flavour and tannins. The wine is then kept in stainless steel vats for six months and aged for a further 3 months in the bottle before release.
On the nose there are attractive notes of bitter almonds, acacia flowers, honey and white peach while the first sip reveals a medium body, gentle tannins, and a long and elegant finish. The bold flavour profile makes this an excellent gastronomic wine with plenty of potential for pairing with fish, chicken and tricky ingredients like asparagus.
Set in the modest town of Gioia del Colle, Polvanera takes its name from the black soils which characterise this part of south-eastern Puglia. Filippo Cassano founded his ground-breaking winery here in 2003 and has quickly stamped his own vision on the region. All of his vineyards are farmed organically and he prefers to work with wild yeasts and a light touch in the winery wherever possible.
Burja Bela 2018
The Lavrenčič family have lived in the Vipava Valley in Slovenia since at least 1499 and for the past three generations they have made wine here. In 2009 Primoz Lavrenčič left the family winery to set up his own project named Burja after the fierce wind that blows through the valley and has a big impact on everything from daily life to the kinds of crops that can be grown here.
Primoz seeks to work in harmony with nature wherever possible and practices both organic and biodynamic viticulture. He primarily uses local grape varieties which are well-suited to this region with its proximity to the sea and the mountains. Bela is crafted from Malvazija, Welschriesling, Rebula, and Vipavec grapes which grow on marl and sandstone soils in the valley.
The fruit is carefully harvested by hand with 70% fermented in oak barrels and the remainder in concrete tanks. The young wine is then aged in oak barrels for 11 months and is bottled without filtering or fining to preserve the full natural character of the wine. The result is an intense white wine with ripe tropical and stone fruits on the nose and a rich texture and medium body balanced by a lively streak of acidity.
COS Rami 2019
This unusual orange wine is made by top Sicilian natural winemakers COS who are based in Vittoria in the south-eastern corner of the island. The winery was founded in 1980 by a trio of friends, Giambattista Cilia, Cirino Strano and Giusto Occhipinti, who had a vision to revive Sicily’s reputation as a producer of excellent artisanal wines. COS has been following biodynamic practices since 2000 and was also certified as an organic winery in 2007.
Rami is crafted from two local white grape varieties, Grecanico and Insolia, which are grown on their estate vineyards in Fontane and Bastonaca. The grapes are carefully harvested by hand and undergo spontaneous fermentation using wild yeasts in concrete tanks. The skins are left in the tank for 15 days to extract plenty of colour and flavours from the grapes, creating a richly-textured, robust style of orange wine.
On the nose there are heady aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle along with bitter almonds and zingy citrus. The first sip reveals hints of dried apricots, toasted nuts, and a distinctive salty minerality from the soils of Vittoria. Powerful and intense, this is a great wine to keep in the cellar for a few years or serve now alongside flavoursome creamy chicken or fish dishes and rich risottos.
Anselmo Mendes Contacto Alvarinho 2019
One of Portugal’s top winemakers, Anselmo Mendes crafts his own wines in Minho as well as consulting for a variety of leading wineries across the country. Anselmo began producing Alvarinho wines in 1988 and has decades of experience of working with this prized aromatic variety.
This unusual white is the result of extensive experimentation with skin contact, the technique of leaving the grape must in contact with the skins for an extended period to add texture and complexity. The grapes are sourced exclusively from Moncao in the Vinho Verde appellation where the vineyards are located alongside a river which helps moderate the climate even during the warm summer months. In the winery the grapes are fermented and aged for four months on the lees in stainless steel tanks.
The result is a fresh and uplifting white with ample peach, pear and citrus notes on the nose with subtle floral hints. On the palate there is a medium body, creamy texture, and a distinctive chalky minerality on the clean finish. This is a wine that will age well over the next couple of years, although it’s superb to drink now as a refreshing aperitif or accompaniment to fresh seafood and fish.