Skin contact white wines. These are a lightning rod for heated conversation in the wine industry at the moment. Opinions range from the future of the wine industry right through to down right faulty. A delightful tipple or straight down the sink. So who is right?
The truth is, everyone. There are some stunning wines, that should not be ignored (there are some absolute disasters being made too, full of unpleasant flavours and aromas, that really should never make it into a bottle).
Normally when white grapes are made into wine they are crushed and/or pressed immediately to separate the juice from the skins, seeds and flesh. The solids discarded and the juice fermented into the wines we know and love. Red grapes are normally fermented along with the solids to extract the colour and flavours found in the skins.
Skin contact white wines treat white grapes just like you would red ones. Keeping the skins, seeds and pulp in with the juice to extract different flavours and colours. The danger is that in the wrong hands you can extract unpleasant, bitter or astringent characters too.
Clare Burder and Pete Allen from Eminence Wines in the King Valley are the right hands.
They have made a delicious skin contact white using Pinot Gris grapes. A fine choice as this variety often has pinkish/golden skins and loads of character that can find its way into the finished wine. Placing their conventionally made Pinot Gris alongside it is easy to see the difference, but upon tasting is where the magic happens. Slightly richer in texture with a long savoury pear fruit finish. This wine should be enough to convince even the most sceptical of wine drinkers.
- Chris, Albury -