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What are orange wines ?

No, orange wines aren’t made from oranges, they are white wines that are a result of very unusual production process.

White wines, compared to red ones, are fermented without contact wth skin. The grape juice is separated from skin during the squeezing of the juice and this two parts never see each other again.

In a new winemaking trend, the grape juice from the white grapes is allowed to ferment some or full time with the grape skins. Grape skins contain tannins as well as natural colour and flavour compounds, that are passed to the grape juce. When left to ferment with the skins, the wine becomes less transparent and become yellow in the colour, later turning to the orange hues.

Wines created that way are more full bodied, with more pronounced aromas and flavours. They are mostly made dry.

What differences them from classic white wines, apart from colour and aromas are the tannins. Standard white wine can have tannins that result from aging in an oak barrels, but don’t have them from the skins.

Orange wines are very complex and therefore not recommended for the begginers, but after some time spent in tastng wines, they are worth trying, becouse of expanding popularity among wine community.

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Why does my wine smell and taste like a butter ?

This unique, creamy sensation and butter flavour in your mouth has an unexpected source

During the winemaking proces of a white wine, there is a possibility to carry on a second type of fermentation. It is called Malolactic Fermentation or MLF for short. Special strain of bacteria, naturally occuring in a pressed grape juice converts malic acid into lactic acid in wine.

This process softens and reduces  acidity in wine and creates byproduct aromas and flavours of butter, cheese and cream. Common white grape varieties that are treated using this technique are Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.  For the red ones this process is more common, but does not introduce any new aromas.

White wines affected by it are typically more intense in colour, leaning to the gold hue.
One disadvantage of this process is loss of the most subtle and delicate flavours and aromas like floral and citrus ones.

My wine tastings of wines made with malolactic fermentation:

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Wine tasting #2 Antonin Chardonnay of Gozo, Malta, Marsovin

A unique expearience, tasting of the the barrel fermented Chardonnay from a small Gozo island of Malta. Rare and delicious.

Wine Info:

Mediterranean expression of the most famous white grape – Chardonnay. This one was produced by Marsovin winery that has many parcels in Malta country. This producer makes also big quantity of cheaper wines but we will focus on his special product. This particular one comes from a smaller island of Gozo. The parcel is next to a beautiful beach that I visited during my trip to this country. Fermentation in barrels allows wine to oxidise in controlled enviroment. That creates more deep flavours at the expense of lighter and more floral ones. It also encourages malolactic fermentation (MLF) that lowers acidity and introduces buttery aromas. Alcohol content of 12,5%. Serve chilled. Vintage 2016.

Appeariance:

Clear wine with no sediment. Medium golden colour indicating delicate oxidation.

Smell:

Medium intensity of clear aromas reminiscent of butter, vanilia, ripe pineapple.

Taste:

Dry wine with full body, heavy on the palate. Medium acidity balances the richness of flavours. It tastes like ripe pineapple, melted butter with clear hints of fruit sweetness, citrus flavours and a little bit of bitterness at the end.

Verdict: 8,5/10

Great, multi layered wine with great consistency between aromas and flavours. I would recommend it to everyone who likes heavy, buttery chardonnay.

Pairing suggestions:

Chicken, carbonara, fat cheeses, cream sauces.

Chardonnay grape variety description

My wine tasting method

Other tastings

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How You can enrich your every wine experience? – My tasting method

Simple, easy and quick guide to tasting wine with joy

To elevate Your wine experience, no matter, what wine you are drinking, consider applying these steps to your tasting routine:

1. Look at the wine. Enjoy its color, does it have any interesting hues? Think, how wine of this color can taste and smell. (quick tip: place a white paper behind the glass, to see a color without background affecting your perception)

2. Smell (without swirling). Hold wine glass at approximately 45 degrees angle to your nose. Sniff the upper and lower rim of the glass, do You feel the difference in smell?

3. Smell after swirling the glass a few times. Does this action release some new aromas?

4. Finally, it’s time to taste your wine 😉

5. Make notes. Write down aromas and taste as well as wine color, so You can later compare it to other bottles and bring back memories. Aditionally, wines change their aroma characteristics when exposed to oxygen or temperature changee, so you can track this journey with notes.


Want to see it in practice ?
Check my tasting notes here:

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Wine tasting #1 Malaga Anejo Rujaq Andalusi bodegas Dinobe

I brought back this rare Malaga from my trip to Spain. It is a great example, how middle aged malaga should be like. Clearly distinguishing itself from lots of cheap stuff.

Malaga Anejo Rujaq Andalusi bodegas Dinobe

Wine Info:

This special white wine comes from the region surrounding Malaga city in Andalucia, Spain. Grape, Moscatel , as a hot climate lover is best suited to grow here, resulting in very ripe, frolal and sweet wines. 15% of alcohol comes from the fortification (adding high proof of neutral alcohol to the wine). Produced with appassimento method that requires grapes to be sun dried in order to concentrate flavours, sugar and acidity. This wine spent 48 months in american oak barrels. The label design refers to arabic legacy of Malaga region. Producer Bodegas Dinobe has a wide range of wines, including lighter and heavier Malaga wines based on Muscat grape. Serve chilled.

Appeariance:

Clear wine with no sediment seduces me with deep amber colour, telling everyone around that it spent many months in wood barrels, that let it oxidise and develop complex aromas.

Smell:

Medium intensity aromas of orange and orange peel, some floral and citrus notes too. After some time, wine releases complex aromas that were developed during maturation in contact with wood and air: dates, toffee and honey.

Taste:

Clearly sweet but not cloggy. High acidity keeps big amount of natural sweetness in balance. Bull bodied with flavours of orange liquour, toffee and carmel

Verdict: 7,5/10

Very good wine that has a lot of potential to develop in bottle. Great as a dessert. For me it could be more intensive. Little alcohol is still not well integrated and attacks when wine gets warmer.

Pairing suggestions:

Cakes with nuts and honey. Cookies and creme brulee. Or as a dessert on it own 😉

Simmilar tastings:

My wine tasting method

Check out my article about appassimento

Cheers 🙂

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How to properly store a bottle of wine?

Most of the wine bottles, about 95% of them by volume, are made to be drank in 2-4 years after bottling. If you have bought a one, that can last longer, this is how to mature it properly:

If it has a cork – store it horizontally. If it’s closed by a screw cap or glass closure, standard vertical position is the best. Port, Sherry and other wines (mostly fortified) that has a plug that looks like hybrid of cork and plastic cap – vertically. Always store every type of wine in a cool dark place, because sunlight tends to destroy wine very quickly, especially when it is in a white bottle.

If You think about cellaring your wine with natural cork, keeping it at 55 – 59 °F (12 – 15 °C), horizontal position and 55 – 75% humidity is the best option. Other closure types are typically used for a wine with a shorter shelf life or the ones that should keep away oxygen flow from and into the bottle (especially white or rose wines). These wines aren’t meant for a long-term storage, so humidity doesn’t count here.

Why is it important ?

Standing in a wine corner of a supermarket can be a little confusing, when you think about longer term storage of a wine. There are bottles, that can sit on a market shelf for some 2-3 years, so logic guess is that managers know what they are doing and store this wine in a best way, so it will be at its best state, when you open it in Your home, yes? Well, the proper answer is “it depends”. Vertical storage lets pack more bottles in a small shelf, so logistic advantages are clear. Typically, the natural cork, that is used to seal wine bottles, tends to dry out in contact with oxygen and can spoil your beloved liquid in a process.


When bottle is standing upright, the oxygen attacks bottle from both directions, from the inside and outside. This leads to a situation, when it no longer protects the wine from the hazards of environment, crumbles and these crumbs tend to fall into a bottle, resulting in a wine corruption.

There is a warning sign, when you cut a foil and see a dry cork. After inserting a corkscrew into a cork, you hear that it squeaks loudly while rotating. Be aware, that in this situation tiny parts of cork can fall into a bottle. When you notice them or suspect that they might already have fallen, after opening a bottle pour them through a strainer.

There is some good news too, producents are also aware of this problem and use plastic or conglomerate cork replacements, that have no problem with drying out. Plastic or steel screw caps are unharmed by the oxygen and therefore are a great option for a wines, that shouldn’t have contact with it (light white and rose for example).  

The second good news is that 2-3 years of shelf life shouldn’t be enough to spoil that wine because as far as about 90 % of wine is made to be drunk young, it has mediocre impact on average wine drinker. What’s more, the plastic cork replacements and screw caps aren’t affected by the drying of cork, as well as cork taint, that I will write about in another article.

However, when you decide to buy some serious red dry wine, that you want to open after 10 Years of cellaring, for some special occasion, be aware that proper storing conditions can be a difference between big celebration and big disappointment.

Most of premium and middle quality wines have natural corks for two reasons: prestige and cellaring potential. Remember that sun is a more devastating enemy to Your grape juice, the UV rays break down chemical compounds in wine that leads to unpleasant taste and smell so always shield them from a direct sunlight as well as don’t buy bottles standing in shop windows.

Now You know how to handle that bottle that You brought home for a planned dinner and maybe You are now thinking about starting a little wine collection. Let me know in a comment down below.  


Want to know more ?

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How to drink red dry wine and enjoy it?

Why people, who enter the wine world typically tend to hate the red dry wine? Because nobody told them how to make it enjoyable. That’s your plan for befriending the enemy:

  • Open a bottle
  • Pour it into a decanter (or any vessel that allows big area of contact between air and wine, preferably something that you can pour from without spilling) or into a glass, if you hate washing dishes.
  • Leave it. Just don’t do anything with it for at least 30 minutes, 60 minutes for a bolder red wine. Just let it “breathe” oxygen.
  • Now you can try your wine, tastes completely different than a wine directly from a bottle, right?
  • Let me tell you why it happens…

Why do we need such a ritual ?

Wine, especially red one is rich in tannins, alcohol, contains antioxidants, sulfites, amino acids, sugars and other stuff. They help to preserve wine and hold it together against light, oxygen and time. When you open a bottle of red dry wine and take a sip, all of these compounds aggressively attack you, leading to unpleasant sensation and leave you with a felling that this wine is too harsh and intense. After releasing your wine to the wild, the process called oxidation starts. It slowly evaporates sulfites and softens tannins. A part of alcohol evaporates too, making the vine more aromatic, because as it rises from the glass, it takes aromatic compounds with it. After introducing oxygen for a half-hour, wine softens noticeably and becomes more drinkable. Swirling wine in a glass also helps, when you are short on time.

Important note: oxidation is a double-edged sword, because in short run it helps You enjoy Your wine but after some time it starts to slowly kill its flavor and taste, because they evaporate in a contact with oxygen. When You still aren’t convinced with the sensations, try to consume wine while eating some red meat, like pork or beef, because fat can break down tannins as well, helping soften overall taste.


Want to know more ?