Taste the Rainbow!

How much do we miss when we reduce wine to a couple of colors? It feels natural to self-describe as “more of a white wine person” or “more into red,” but what we’re actually communicating has less to do with the appearance of the wine in our glass than we think.

We say ‘red’, but what we mean, in my experience, is “ageworthy, complex wines of dimension and texture.” We say ‘white,’ simply to signify “refreshing, acid-driven, aromatic.”

Not only does a wine’s color not map perfectly onto those two categories, it fails to capture all of the wines in between: dark rosés, macerations of pink or gold grapes, co-fermentations and intentional oxidation…

Class was on Friday, January 29th. Below are three wines, each made with longer and longer steepings of the grape skins, each lighter and lighter in color (from a light ruby to a copper-tinged rose gold to a hazy deep straw), each more and more structured, rich, and intense — an inverse progression that was a joy to taste through, but also deeply confusing if all you’re going by is what color a wine “is.”

How you’d see it on a wine list
Enderle & Moll, “Spätburgunder Rosé”, Baden, Germany 2019

Who made it? Sven Enderle & Florian Moll, who farm a tiny (2 hectares plus some plots they’ve recently taken the farming over from) estate.
Out of what? Organically farmed spätburgunder (German pinot noir variant, Sven & Florian farm some of the oldest spätburgunder vines in Baden) on mix of limestone and sandstone, in Baden.
Made how? Stomped and left on the skins for 3-5 days, gentle basket press into used Dujac (Burgundy) barrels, kept there until bottling.

How you’d see it on a wine list
End of Nowhere, pinot gris, “Space Boy”, California 2019

Who made it? Chris Walsh (first vintage 2016)
Out of what? Pinot gris on alluvial loess purchased from Heringer Vineyard (in conversion to organics), in Clarksburg, Sacramento Delta.
Made how? Foot-stomped and fermented on the skins and stems in bins for 11 days, then pressed off into used barrels and bottled in the spring.

How you’d see it on a wine list: Kolfok, grüner veltliner & welschriesling, “Intra! the Wild”, Burgenland, Austria 2019

Who made it? Stefan Wellenschitz (young, first vintage 2013)
Out of what? Younger vines of grüner and welschriesling in conversion to organics from around Neckenmarkt, on the Hungarian border.
Made how? Left to carbonically macerate in whole clusters for 9 weeks (intracellular fermentation! very unusual), pressed into 1100 and 1500L used Stockinger oak barrels to finish primary and malolactic fermentation, bottled in the spring.

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