Month: October 2016

Orange is the new… White? Rosé?

The Grape: Pinot Grigio is native to France (as Pinot Gris) but has a second home in northeast Italy and Slovenia, which share a border.  From that area, the grapes have great minerality and acidity, and produce clean, crisp, zippy wines.

The Wine: Mansus Makovec Sivi Pinot r Dobravlje Vipava Valley Slovenia. The estate is found in the Vipava Valley, roughly 20 kilometers from the Italian border.  The wine is made with 100% organically-grown Pinot Grigio, and is “natural”.  It is crisp and acidic, with some nuttiness, some apple, and soft, ripe cherry.  It has some tannin and heft for the red-wine drinker, plus great, chilled minerality for the white-wine drinkers.

Fun Fact: Orange Wine?  It is chemical compounds found in the skin of grapes that help determine their color. Generally speaking, “red” grapes have reddish skins and “white” grapes have whitish/greenish skins. Those colors are not found in the juice of most grapes, so making a wine of color depends on allowing the skins to remain in contact with the grape juice for some period of time; the darker the desired color, the longer the skin contact. “Orange” wines are those made with “white” grapes, but with prolonged skin contact, which causes the color to darken more than normal (for a white wine). The resulting depth of color depends on the length of skin-contact, but also on the color compounds found in the grapes. Those found in Pinot Grigio, which is a so-called “color mutation” of the red pinot-noir grape, result in darker, amber-colored wine with prolonged skin contact.

Pairing: Try it with our gorgonzola dolce.

 

Wine with your Samba: Dadivas Chardonnay

The Grape: Chardonnay. This is definitely one of the best-known white grapes around and is grown, basically, everywhere. It is a fairly “neutral” grape whose flavor in wine is heavily driven by terroir: the soil, the surrounding flora, the water, etc. Despite that neutrality, the flavors typically include white-fleshed fruits like pears. It is frequently made into still and sparkling wines, and champagne made solely from chardonnay is called Blanc de Blancs.

The Wine: Dadivas Chardonnay, Lidio Carraro, Brazil. This wine is made in Rio Grande do Sul, where the estate maintains a “Purist” philosophy of grape-growing and wine-making; in essence, they adhere to minimal intervention. For this wine, 100% Chardonnay grapes are fermented and aged 8 months in stainless tanks. The wine is redolent of daisies and pears, with more pear and Granny Smith apples on the palate. It has a great, creamy texture and a long-lasting finish.

Fun Fact: The Rio Grande do Sul is at Brazil’s southern tip, and borders both Uruguay and Argentina. While Italian immigrants are at the forefront of the country’s wine industry, the native inhabitants were the Guarani. Guarani hold an animistic view of the world, in which plants and animals have the faculties of humans. One Guarani belief is that good spirits live in flowers, which get transported by hummingbirds… maybe into the grapes!
Pairing: Try it with our red beet pickled eggs.