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