I hosted a Zoom tasting with friends recently in which we opened an Orange wine from Chile and a Monastrell from Spain. Not the first time I’ve tasted Orange wine and definitely not the first time with the Monastrell but they were both new to the other participants.
Anybody not sure what Orange wine is? well, your’re not alone as all on the tasting have never tried it or heard about it before. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not made of Oranges but relates to the colour of the wine. It’s in fact a white wine made like a red wine, also it can be referred to as skin contact wine.
Instead of removing skins after grapes are pressed (as is standard for whites), the juice, is fermented in contact with skins which gives it the darker colour and tannic structure similar to reds, the longer the skin are in contact the difference you will notice in the colour and flavour profile.
The second wine was a Monastrell also known as Mouverdre in France and Mataro in Australia. This particular Monastrell wasn’t new to me but I had to share it with my friends as it was one of my star buys of last year.
Macerao Orange Wine
First up was this Chilean Orange wine made with the Muscat grape from the ever reliable producer Luis Felipe Edwards. On the bottle it states non filtered. Filtering is meant to remove yeast particles and bacteria but a lot of winemakers says it strips the wine of some of its flavour, probably wouldn’t notice much difference and the end of the day it’s all down to personal taste.
In the glass it wasn’t one of the darker Orange wines I’ve seen or tasted but it did have a slight tinge of orange. Aroma wise this was pretty full on very aromatic and floral, some said they could smell oranges but that may be a little subliminal. Flavour wise, as I said, it’s quite floral there’s some tropical fruits going on, some honey, lots of bright acidity but there is a touch of bitterness on the finish.
There was a universal thumbs up from everyone on screen, me? I liked it, not blown away but it was ok and different enough to keep you interested.
Familia Pacheco Organic Monastrell
Moving onto the red and a favourite of mine since I discovered it a year or so ago. Hailing from hot and humid Jumilla region in south east Spain this is mainly Monastrell 80% with a dash of Syrah 20% with a hefty 14.5% abv.
I advised decanting this for an hour or so before the tasting as this is (from past experience) a fairly muscular wine with some noticeable tannins. Decanting did the job brilliantly softening it bringing out fruit flavours. A host of rich dark fruits dominating, baked plums, berries and cassis that coat your mouth. The robustness of the Monastrell is tamed slightly with the addition of the Syrah which also gives it a slight spiciness. It had acidity and freshness with some lovely vanillary oak and finishes long.
For me this is a real star for the price, seemed to go down well with everyone on the night , a beautiful red, full of rich dark fruits with a real bite to it.