I consider myself someone open to trying new things, whether that be food, wine, travel, or just a new theme park ride where I don’t know what to expect. Recently, I feel like I’ve been in a rut when it comes to wine. I’ve been sticking to the things I know I like, and I haven’t really explored anything very different this year. That changed with a recent #WineStudio. This particular session highlighted two parts of the wine world with which I have very little experience: Vermont wines and orange wines. I was able to familiarize myself with both through Iapetus Wine and its winemaker Ethan Joseph.
With vineyards located in the Champlain Valley, the land that Iapetus utilizes is characterized by mixed precipitation, cold winters, and warm summers. In addition to the land, the wine itself was fermented in stainless steel tanks, went through pressing after a 50-day maceration on skins, and was unfiltered before bottling. Ethan is all about the land, crafting a good wine, and being creative to boot. My favorite take away from this session was when Ethan said he doesn’t need everyone to love orange wine. Oftentimes, I feel like wine is pitched as a one size fits all bottle, but this winery understands that while not every style will appeal to every person, at the end of the day the most important question is: Is this a well-made wine?
Color is the first thing that will catch the eye of any shopper that comes across the 2016 Tectonic. It poured a cloudy sunset color that was unlike any wine I’ve come across before. Although the shade was eye catching, it took me some time to figure out what I actually thought of the flavor. There was a lot of citrus zest, orange blossom, and musk that came through with just the mildest touch of acidity. As it warmed, the flavors seemed to become rounder, so I suggest trying it at a variety of temperatures. While those notes don’t necessarily scream alternative, this was a funky wine that made me feel like I should be opening it among a Claude Lorrain pastoral landscape. It reminded me a lot of a wheat beer. I have never experienced anything like this before and am still not entirely sure if I’m ready for a second bottle, but I do think anyone who considers wine an interesting subject should buy one to try, especially with the price clocking in around $24. Go check out the website I linked above, and if the orange wine still scares you a bit, feel free to try their other bottles before you take the plunge on this one.
This entire session reminded me of a story that Virginia Made once shared. While at her local Total Wine, a hipster millennial went up to an associate and asked for that cool orange wine everyone was now drinking. The employee responded by saying that they did not carry wine made from oranges, but they did have wine made from blueberries. That little experience highlights just how misunderstood orange wine is. I don’t think this is a wine for everyone, but I do think it’s the kind of wine you have to experience at least once to truly call yourself an oenophile. Have you tried orange wine before? What were your thoughts?
These wines were kindly provided to me by the wineries/importers listed above, but all opinions are my own.