2021 Arancia, Geographe $25.00
Each year we experiment with a new variation of an orange wine – our Arancia!
This year’s Arancia is made up of Riesling fermented on rouge Muscat à Petit Grains skins. This wine has a nice natural acidity of the dry style Riesling balanced with a touch of spicy sweetness from the Muscat, which also super charges the floral notes and provides a light grip on the finish.
Lively. Crisp. Foral.
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Every vintage we make an ‘orange wine’. The Arancia is a skin contact white wine. Basically, it is a white wine made in the style of red wine. The name ‘Arancia’ (translating to orange in Italian) stems directly from the distinct orange tinged colour achieved from extended skin contact, and also pays homage to the stylistic approach of ‘Ramato’ wines, something we are seeking to achieve with this wine. We choose to make a skin contact white wine each vintage to continue our focus on producing food paired wines and wines which highlight phenolics in a clean style. This style of winemaking can result in fantastic food wines, and highlights qualities of the grapes, terroir and winemaking that non-skin contact white wines sometimes struggle to achieve. Each vintage the grape varietals used in our Arancia changes, with this year being Riesling (2018 was Chardonnay / Viognier and 2019 was Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc and 2020 was Chenin Blanc).
The 2021 Arancia is a little different in so far as we fermented Riesling Juice on Muscat skins that we had gently pressed off for free run juice for our 2021 Rosé. The total skin contact time was the ferment period which lasted 2 weeks. The skins were then removed and the wine was left to mature in the combination of a stainless steel tank and some older oak puncheons. The aim this year was to create a pretty, floral driven wine with a phenolic lift and some spice interest.
Lucky for us, the 2021 vintage came in behind a ripper growing season the previous year. The mild spring in 2020 made for great condition and a solid foundation for vintage 2021. In general, budburst and flowering was fairly normal, yields were slightly better than 2020 but still lower than average on the whole, and Marri tree blossom was around, which helped reduce the bird pressure. The unlucky part of vintage 2021 was the weather systems that resulted from La Niña and labour shortages due to Covid.
Weatherwise, the long-lasting cyclone season in the north west translated to increased rainfall in the south west – specifically in November, then again in February through to April. Fortunately, December and January were dry and warmer than normal months which allowed for some early ripening which raised hopes of an ‘easy’ vintage – that was until a combination of tropical lows and came in in late January and soaked the south west in February. As far as cyclones go, there were four names that will be embedded in the minds of viticulturalists – Joshua, Lucas, Marian and Seroja. Joshua started the rain dance in late January and Seroja finished the dance party in April.
The rainfall however was a pro and a con, it soaked deep into the soils and was great for later ripening varietals – particularly in our dry grown vineyards, however the warm weather combined with high humidity increased the risk of botrytis disease pressure. Fortunately, our model of spending more time in the vineyard than the winery paid off, with the extra attention given to canopy structure early on in the vintage. The effort put to shoot thinning, fruit dropping and leaf plucking was rewarded in good clean fruit.
Our general take on vintage 2021 was that although it was challenging and exhausting in the vineyards, the effort paid off with clean fruit harvested. White varieties produced incredible flavour – at lower baumes than usual, with higher natural acids, which for us translated to a purity and varietal expression of elegance across the whites, including the Riesling and Muscat which were harvested at lower sugars and higher acids than normal. Both varietals were harvested on March 5 by a mechanical selective harvester which dropped all green and spit berries to ensure a consistent fruit selection in the Riesling and in the Muscat. The Riesling was sourced from Talisman Vineyard in the Geographe Wine Region and the Muscat was sourced from the Treeton sub-region on Margaret River.
The harvested Riesling was cooled on skins for 12 hours and then pressed directly to a stainless steel tank where it then wild fermented on Muscat Rouge à Petits Grains skins that had just been gently pressed prior. Fermentation and skin contact took place in two weeks and the wine was then taken of skins and transferred to another stainless steel tank, and half barrelled down to neutral French oak puncheons. SO2 was added post ferment to prevent malolactic fermentation to keep the wine fresh. Maturation in these vessels was for six months, prior to being lightly fined and filtered and then bottled.
In a glass this wine is pale soft orange colour. On the nose it presents with a floral dominance with a spicey edge and gentle citrus aromatics. The palate presents with a fresh fruit and flower spice, balanced level of phenolics and crunchy acidity on the finish.