Organic orange wine

This is an organic orange wine that is rather unusual. Orange wine is a growing trend; basically, they are white wines that are made like red wines, leaving the skins in contact with the juice during fermentation, extracting both colour and tannins. This, however, is not only an orange wine but also a certified organic wine that is about as natural as it can get, spontaneously fermented with indigenous yeasts and made with no added sulphites.

It is little more than naturally fermented grape juice, made much in the same way wine used to be made before the introduction of modern technology.

The wine is produced by Agrovinaz, a family-owned farm and winery based in Borba, Alentejo, which is best known for its organic wines made under the Courelas da Torre label. They started producing an orange wine a few years ago as a small project for two clients based in Germany and the UK, and only now have a few bottles found their way to the local market here in Portugal.

This is thanks to local wine distributor Guillaume Prigent of the Organic Wine Collection based in Olhão.

Guillaume sells organic wines from producers all over Portugal and is responsible for the whole selection on display at Lagoa’s Convent’Bio shop, which I am told offers the biggest choice of organic wines to be found in the Algarve.

His wines, however, are sold mostly to restaurants and are difficult to find in shops, but the good news is that he also sells direct to the public (contacts below).

Back to this most unusual wine, I have to say that even as someone who tastes a great deal of wines, I found it a little challenging to start with.

When first opened, I found the aromas on the nose to be unlike any wine I have tried, a little funky in fact. I decided to decant it and leave it overnight thinking that some oxygen would help it along and it did make a huge difference. This is quite normal for natural wines, especially when they are very young, which is the case here. Although there is no year on the label, it is from the 2018 vintage.

The wine is made from a blend of Arinto, Fernão Pires and Antão Vaz, three of the most traditional Alentejo white varieties, but I could pick out none of the white or tropical fruit notes that would usually be associated with such a blend. On the nose, it reminded slightly of a natural cider with a slight hoppiness that would be associated with beer; in the mouth there is good body and a light tannic structure with good acidity.

Whilst most unusual, I did however enjoy it right down to the last drop and will certainly be buying it again – €12.42 from the Convent’Bio shop in Lagoa or direct from the distributor. Call 915 474 033 or email [email protected]

By Patrick Stuart
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