It seems like Orange wines have really hit a purple patch over the last year, traditionally made from white grape varieties left in a (usually) ceramic or cement vessel to ferment for anything from a few days to over a year, they are in a word ‘unique’. Usually whole bunches are used to benefit from the tannin, colour, flavour and texture imparted by the grape skins, seeds and stalks. All in all it makes for some pretty interesting and unusual wines. The white wines, tasted blind, could be mistaken for reds, with a bit of sharpness on the palate as well as nuttiness from the oxidisation. This is a wine style like nothing else, so if your feeling adventurous give it a go!
Some of the best and most interesting Orange wines we have tried lately are the ‘The Mother Rock’ wines come from a South Africa’s J H Mayer winery. The ‘Mother Rock’ label is actually a collaboration between South Africa’s rising star winemaker Johan Meyer (AKA ‘Stompie’) and UK-based wine merchant Ben Henshaw. They have produced an exciting range of unconventional and artisanal wines, which showcase the terroir of the Swartland region. These wines are produced as naturally as possible, and are refreshingly different.
Johan has rapidly made a name for himself as one of the most exciting talents emerging in South Africa, spearheading a new wave of experimental winemaking with a focus on minimal intervention. Having developed a close relationship with some of the most sought after grape growers across the Cape, he now has access to some of South Africa’s best fruit. With the ‘Mother Rock’ wines, he has selected specific parcels of dry-farmed organically managed bush vines grown on a variety of soil types, and has vinified the wines as simply as possible. These are naturally made wines, with very minimal intervention in the winery, the exception to this being extended contact with the grapes’ skins (and this also applies to the whites), plus a period of ageing on the yeast lees before being bottled, unfined and unfiltered.
We were very taken with these wines, as they offer something different to our usual range, and are great examples of their type. We weren’t suprised to see wine critic Jamie Goode excited by the range, and awarding high scores of 94-96 points. Alongside the textured Chenin Blanc White Blend and expressive Grenache, we are also including an ‘orange wine’. The Liquid Skin is a Chenin Blanc which has spent 9 weeks in contact with its grape skins, creating a very distinct style somewhere between a white and red due to the additional texture, colour and tannin.
Check them out for yourself: http://www.slurp.co.uk/search/?search=mother
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