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Domaine of the Bee Taronja 2017
An 'orange' wine, made by fermenting grapes usually destined for white wine, with their skins (and most of their stalks), the same way we'd make a red wine. This process means that the wine picks up an amber/coppery colour from the skins (Grenache Gris grapes are actually slightly pink), as well as a considerable amount of fresh, peppery tannins.
The deeply pink coloured Grenache Gris grapes have lent this wine a resonant orange-pink hue.
Eyes closed, and it it is hard to know if you'd place this as a white or a red - the aromas are more delicate and perfumed than a typical red, with notes of rose-hip syrup, ginger and orange peel
Citrus peel is evident on the palate too, and there's definitely a refreshing tannic grip and a twist of bitterness remniscent of a good negroni. Yet the ripeness and generosity of fruit is what leaves a lasting impression, with rolling waves of flavour that you'd never normally find in a white wine made from these grapes.
Essentially, we've made this wine pretty much exactly the same way we make our red wines. We made 4 barrel fermentations - two of them 'whole bunch', one 'carbonic maceration', and the last with de-stemmed grapes.
We fermented in open top 500L barrels, and left the skins (and stalks) macerating in the wine for 2 weeks after the fermentation finished. We protected the wine from oxidation and from microbiological contamination with dry ice, and low levels of sulphur. The wine was aged in neutral barriques, and bottled after 8 months in barrel, with no fining and a light filtration
Parcels of low-yielding, old vine Grenache Gris (and some Grenache Blanc) were left to ripen a little more than normal, and then picked when the flavour development was optimal, and the skins and stems were fully ripe.
We are only just beginning to experiment with this wine style, but so far it has proved a great accompaniment to the cheese board, and to powerfully flavoured rich cold meats like smoked duck's breast and charcuterie.