Dario Prinčič’s name isn’t a new one in the ‘natural’ wine landscape, nor is he new to ‘orange’ wine circles. He’s been producing wine since 1988, and farming bio-dynamically and walking the low-intervention path well before both of those hyphenated terms became trendy buzzwords. And he’s been making extended maceration whites since the late 1990s, making him by default an early leader in the modern movement of skin-fermented ‘orange’ whites.
If the ‘orange’ wine thing is now to you, here’s a brief primer:
In conventional white wine production, skins and seeds are removed almost immediately after the crush. An ‘orange’ wine, however, is made from white grapes whose skins and seeds have been left in contact with the juice for an extended period, known as maceration, during fermentation. That could be from several weeks to several months, depending on the grape and winemaker’s philosophy, thus imparting an orange, amber, gold or even copper hue to the wine. It’s often a very natural and low-intervention style, and results in flavors you’d never expect from a conventional Pinot Grigio, for example, or Rebula or Chardonnay grape. When approaching an orange wine for the first time, think of it as a white made like a red, or a red of a more pale shade.
As I mentioned, this isn’t a new concept to Prinčič, whose seven-hectare estate in the village of Oslavije on the Italian side of the political line that divides Friuli’s Collio from Slovenia’s Goriska Brda is arguably the geographic center of the ‘orange’ wine concept. And why his 2013 Bianco Trebež blend is such an exquisite example.
A blend of Chardonnay (macerated for 27 days), Sauvignon Blanc (also 27 days) and Pinot Grigio (one week), it was aged in oak for 42 months prior to bottling. Unfiltered and unfined, it’s predictably a little cloudy, with beautiful light copper hues. There are strong peach and citrus aromas but an earthy quality as well, with well-rounded tannins and a long finish. Very nicely integrated; a wine that will continue developing over the next three to four years, but one you can–and probably should– enjoy now.
Tasted: Feb 2018
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