Tuesday, June 29, 2010

There's a Method in the Orangeness

Using Paris wine bar culture as his mise-en-scène, Thor has written a forceful piece on the encroaching, seemingly self-imposed ghettoization of the natural wine movement. It's his contribution to 32 Days of Natural Wine, and it's a dense and weighty one, so make sure to allow yourself a meaningful chunk of time to work through it (if you haven't done so already). It'll be time well spent.

In a much lighter sense, my friend Jeremy and I seem to have formed our own little accidental ghetto, drinking and writing about (or around) the same wines at roughly the same time with pleasantly surprising yet entirely random frequency. In yesterday's post about a new sushi spot in Austin, TX, he poured the very same wine I'd hoped to write about yesterday. Time got away from me then, so here ya go....

One of these days, we'll actually have to open a bottle together, pal.

Umbria Bianco IGT "Santa Chiara," Paolo Bea 2008
$45. 13.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York, NY.
Bea's "Santa Chiara" makes for a fantastic introduction (initiation, if you prefer) to the world of so-called orange wine. It's a blend of six twenties — 20% Grechetto, 20% Malvasia, 20% Sauvignon, 20% Garganega and 20% Chardonnay, all fermented on their skins for 20 days. The end result is a wine both bracingly tannic and immensely savory. A perfect choice for inclusion in a course on white wine and structure. One could make an argument that it's also an example of technique trumping terroir, but a case could just as easily be made to the contrary.

In either case, the results speak for themselves, as the wine is not just intensely structured but also downright delicious. Sticking my nose in the glass conjured up one of those unmistakable if distant scent-triggered memories — of a gas station at the sea shore, with diesel/feusal scents offering counterpoint to aromas of fresh, salty sea air. Compelling juice, indeed.


Wicker Parker said...

OMG I loved the 2006 I had last year, although I found it delicate rather than highly tannic (although it was very structured), so naturally I'd love to check out the 2008.

And at least here in Chicago there are no ghettoized wine bars or wine shops, at least not as it regards natural wine per se, so for at least the time being I will be able to find this (if at all) in the context of the larger marketplace / marketplace of ideas, which I agree is the better context.

Do Bianchi said...

we SO need to start a band called "Accidental Ghetto"! I love it!

thanks for the shout out... and wow, man, we have tasted so many wines virtually together over the last few years: one of us needs to get on a plane to visit the other so that we can taste together in realtime! Or maybe we should pick a neutral city?

seriously, the next time I'm in NYC, if you can't make it up, I'll make it down to Phlly... Cheesesteaks and Sagrantino?

thanks for the shout out man...

genevelyn said...

Dead-on descriptor of this wine, gas station at the seashore, I taste it when I read those words.

David McDuff said...

@Wicker Parker -
Hey Mike, I think you'll dig the '08. I didn't mean to make it out to be "highly" tannic, just firmly tannic, in a very wake up the mouth kind of way, thus "bracing." Definitely structured and, as I said, most delicious.

Here in Philly the wine bars and, especially, the wine shops are ghettoized in the opposite direction, as natural wine is all but unavailable in PA's state controlled marketplace. Some of the wines from Rosenthal and Jenny & Francois are theoretically available via PAs rather onerous special ordering system, but good luck actually getting the cream of the crop. As for Dressner, Jose Pastor, Savio Soares..., their wines don't even come into the state. I have to either go to (or order from) New York to buy them, or make the trip up to the highly ghettoized (and entirely joyful) wine bar The Ten Bells to enjoy them.

@Do Bianchi -
Jeremy, You're most welcome. "Accidental Ghetto" sounds like the name of a Nick Cave disc. I'll have to polish up my bass (not to mention my chops, which are more than rusty) but I'm game. As for meeting up, just let me know the next time you'll be in NYC and we'll make it happen. Of course, you're always welcome here, whether for cheesesteaks and Sagrantino or roast pork and Barolo.

@Genevelyn -
Howdy stranger. Always glad to hear that my words sometimes strike a chord with my readers, and especially glad to hear it from you.

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