Skerk’s Amazing Ograde Orange Wine

There hasn’t been a more polarizing style of wine to take the wine geek world by storm than the “orange wine” movement that seemed to come out of nowhere just a few years ago. For lack of a better term orange wines – wines made from including the skins of white wine grapes in the fermentation of white wines – have been used to describe a wide variety of wines from Friuli to the west coast of California with the common thread being an orange hue.

While this method of fermenting whites has thousands of years of history behind it, there have been a few modern day pioneers like Gravner and Movia that have motivated such an interest in the style. And while there have been transcendental high marks of quality and complexity there have also been quite a few oxidative wines that have done more to damage to the perception of orange wines.

In the latest round of debate, a few writers have sounded off by criticizing the “trend” while at the same time revealing some of the best examples of the style. One of those producers that actually gained praise was Sandi Skerk from the Carso region of Friuli. Jon Bonne of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

“Within Friuli, wines from the Carso, especially those of Sandi Skerk, are more dramatic and profound than ever.” Bonne has been more specific about Skerk’s Ograde, writing “It was one of those skin-contact wines that transcends curiosity and shows the potential of the orange.

Skerk’s Ograde 2009 captures the unorthodox nuances of the style by using a two-week skin fermentation of Malvasia, Vitovska, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Its orange hue comes mainly from the pinot grigio yet each of these grapes contributes to the stunning complexity and character of this blend. A world of aroma is opened up with a few swirls of the glass and every sniff seems to reveal another layer. From primrose to grapefruit, apricot and peach to hazelnut, this wine entices while transforming over the course of an evening.

Skerk’s Ograde defies the reputation of orange wines being oxidative or generally flawed. It’s tight, fresh and vibrant and luckily it’s at the more affordable range of the style. At Vino Aroma Ograde offers a truly memorable wine experience for $40.

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