It's been a few weeks since our editors and contributors submitted anything for WWD, but we're back this week with a vengeance. This is what we've been drinking:
"Wine is sunlight held together
by water," said Galileo, famously.
This wine, however, is marketed as being made by the moon.
Lunar is made with minimal human intervention (aside from the manual
harvesting and destemming). Ribolla Gialla grapes from vineyards
straddling the Italian-Slovenian border are put into specially-designed
Slovenian oak casks and allowed to undergo whole-berry fermentation. After several months of fermentation with native yeasts, the wine is
bottled at the full moon without filtration and without sulfite
The long fermentation with skin contact gives this wine a slight
orange tint, while the lack of filtration leaves it quite cloudy. The
leftover lees that lingers in the bottle imparts a distinct
"fermentation bouquet" (the smell of still-fermenting wine, which to me
comprises a handful of fruity esters including banana), and an overall
yeastiness. A look at the slight residual spritz confirms that
"still-fermenting" is not too far off.
Under all this, though, a nice orange peel aroma shines through,
with potpourri spice. Tea-like aromas and slight astringency show up on
the palate, which is not surprising due to the prolonged skin contact. There's a slight oxidative note on the finish, also not surprising
given the lack of sulfur addition and months in oak. Apparently, the
winemaker recommends decanting this wine, which we did not do. Perhaps
this would alleviate the spritz and yeast-related issues.
Overall, this is a nice wine that is certainly interesting, but not
the life-changing experience that some would make it out to be. There
are other great orange wines out there, including the ones made by Long Island winemaker Chris Tracy at Channing Daughters. If you're familiar with
wines made with this Friulian-Slovenian fermentation technique, then
this wine may not be such a unique experience. I suppose the uniqueness
comes from the completely non-interventionist approach and use of lunar
cycles to optimize bottling efficiency, if you're jazzed about that
sort of thing.
There is a lot of debate and discussion about natural and biodynamic
winemaking in the wine writing world lately. Over the next few weeks,
I'll be working on a series of posts that will address the scientific
merits of some of these practices, trying to separate the legitimacy
from the… er… lunacy.The
remedy for the crush of summer heat always seems to be a refreshing
rose, and the more I drink of Provencal rose, the more I feel it's the
unchallenged leader in the field.The
salmon-colored roses from southern France seem to bring a bit more
complexity — not that we're looking for too much when it comes to rose.
But this wine is a fine example of what Provence does so well:
Gorgeously floral rippled with a strange little mix of fruit. Melon!
Raspberry! Cool stuff.
The shallow side of my
wine-loving self loves the packaging: a bottle shape unique to the
producer, and a wickedly slick cork.
Packaging matters, if you're
interested in selling what
I was in a spirit of celebration over a new job as I browsed the shelves
of a local wine shop this weekend.
When I noticed a bottle of
Txakolina, a hard-to-find white wine from the Basque region of northern
Spain, I snatched it up and immediately began planning an arrangement of
goat cheese and Spanish olives for a festive summer treat.
A rich golden hue with a tinge of green, this lovely and
complex white shows notes of honeydew, toasty straw and lime, with a
beautiful backbone of oceany minerality.
Acidic yet soothing on the
palate, it's resiny and exotic with a continued vein of pebbly
austerity. At $27 it's a white for a rather special occasion, but it's
one of the most interesting and delicious Spanish white I've
encountered. Though the wine was perfect with my planned meal of olives
and cheese, I imagine it would be equally good with Portuguese sardines
— and best enjoyed by a lake or sea.
Last week, Nena and I spent a few days in Ithaca to celebrate our five-year anniversary — because the Finger Lakes region is one of our favorite vacation spots and we'd never spent any real time in Ithaca.
We tasted plenty of wine on both sides of Cayuga Lake, but instead of singling out one of those bottles, I'd like to talk a bit about Ithaca Beer Company, located just south of town and just south of Buttermilk Falls.
I mention the falls because we hiked up and around them in the extreme, relentless heat and when we were done, I wanted refreshment. Sweat-soaked and overheated, we drove down the road to the brewer and found just that.
Tasting through the lineup, from the summery Partly Sunny wit to the deliciously hoppy Flower Power, we cooled off quickly (even if their AC was out). My favorite that day was the "American-Style Saison" called Ground Break. Tasting more like a Belgian Pale Ale to me, but regardless, it's what I went back to our B&B with. Lightly spicy with some grain-rye notes and a little citrus and nice hoppy character on the finish, it really hit the spot after battling the sun and heat.
The heat waves continues…and I hope I can find this one locally here on Long Island.