Channing Daughters Winery 2012 Ribolla Gialla

Posted November 5, 2013 by Lenn Thompson in Regions

channing-daughters-2012-ribollaOrange wine — that is white wines made in the style of red wines with extended skin contact — isn’t for everyone. Me, I find them fascinating and like them, though I’ll admit that my affection for them sometimes resides in my head instead of my heart. Intellectual stimulation over visceral enjoyment.

Teasing apart the layers of flavor and texture that define James Christopher Tracy’s lineup of orange wines at Channing Daughters Winery is a fun parlor game among wine geeks — but I’ve poured them for non-geeks and the reaction is typically mixed. My wife doesn’t like them at all, for example.

Enter Channing Daughters Winery 2012 Ribolla Gialla ($35), a wine that vacillates between orange wine and stunningly textured white wine in beautifully unique way.

Aromas of Golden Delicious apple, peach, lemon curd, varied blossoms, dried autumn leaves are distinct and yet nebulous, with a saline and nutty vein running right down the center.

At once rich and lithe, the palate shows subtle skin tannin and a squirt of citrusy acidity that the fruit intensity and floral flavors well. A sea spray note emerges on a medium-long finish that demands another sip.

John Trinidad recently wrote a piece suggesting we focus less on descriptors and more on emotions when we taste — and drink — wine. This wine moved me and held my attention all evening. And we definitely drank it. My wife too.

Producer: Channing Daughters Winery
AVA: The Hamptons, Long Island
ABV: 11.4%
Price: $35 | Buy now from Empire State Cellars


 (4 out of 5, Outstanding and Delicious, Highly Recommended)




    Thanks for the link and glad you enjoyed the big post! I’m a big fan of Jon Bonnés writing, but should point out he didn’t write the piece you referenced. Happy to be mistaken for JB!


    looking forward to trying this…

    Paul Z

    So what kind of grapes went into this? Chardonnay? Pinot noir? Catawba? You have to include SOME kind of descriptors here…

    Paul Z

    “reboiled yellow”? Really? There is so much I have left to learn…

    Peter Bell / Fox Run

    The didact in me has to weigh in here with a semantics lesson. ‘Skin contact’, and thus ‘extended skin contact,’ can mean several things:

    1. Pre-fermentation maceration on skins, as is commonly practiced with Gewurztraminer and, experimentally, a few other white grapes. Grapes are crushed but not pressed; then after a time they are pressed. Thereafter the juice is treated as if it were a white wine. Extraction of flavor compound precursors from the skins, in aqueous solution, is the main goal.

    2. Fermentation of white grapes on skins, as if the grapes were red grapes. Extraction of pigments (whatever are there) is maximized, as is extraction of tannins. Hence the orange or bronze color of wines made this way. (Marginalia for nostalgics and neo-romanticists: this is how a lot of wine used to be made from white grapes. Who knows: someday we may all head in that direction; but that idea sort of undermines our current understanding of the broad appeal of modern white wine.)

    3. Post-fermentation skin contact, as is commonly practiced in Bordeaux and by Bordeaux-wannabes with red grapes. Polymerization reactions are vastly accelerated, for what that’s worth, and the mouthfeel is attendantly altered. There are downsides, which are predominantly microbiological.

    I don’t mean this to be taken as pedantic, provocative, or even voicing a particular opinion set. I’m just hoping to clarify a seemingly simple phrase, viz. skin contact. Thanks in advance for reading it as such.

    Bruce Stevens

    Absolutely love this wine! Personally, of all the orange wines that Christopher Tracy has made for Channing, this is my favorite. This will definitely be part of my Thanksgiving dinner.


    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say
    wonderful blog!

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