Hump Day Hero: Skin Contact Edition

Welcome to this very special edition of Hump Day Hero: the Skin Contact Edition!!! 

Skin Contact is also known as Maceration, and you may have also heard of Orange WineWhat is skin contact you say? Grapes, much like people, have skins. And much like people, while it mainly matters what is on the inside.... some qualities are just skin-deep! ;) Skin contact or maceration largely refers to the the process of letting the extracted juice hang out with the remnant skin of the grapes between the period of crushing and the process of pressing (which separates the solids from the liquids). White wines generally spend very little time (0-2 days) with skins before being separated by pressing, so have a lighter colour. Orange wines on the other hand are made from white wine grapes that are allowed to have a longer maceration/skin contact time (eg 5-100+ days). This longer process extracts vivid amber, pink or red colour into the wine, and also encourages rich flavours and extra crunchy or grippy textures. Orange wines refer to the colour of the resulting wine, and hints at these decisions by the winemaker. 

It's worth noting that all red wine is Skin Contact wine! This is because the colour and a lot of the body/tannin comes from the time that the developing wine is left with the skins before being separated, usually by pressing. Although Pinot Gris (also known as Pinot Grigio) is usually used to make white wines, the skin actually does have a pink pigment when the grapes are ripe, so it can also make a pink/light red coloured skin contact wine too! (Kind of like a rose, but maybe that's a topic for another time! Rose special edition anyone?).

I'm always interested in wine from all over Australia, and there's some great things happening in Western Australia at the moment, including from the amazing team at Brave New Wine! We're currently stocking their Gewurlitzer, a Skin Contact Gewurtztraminer, and it's a really delicious and unique drop, so I decided to ask their winemaker Andries a few Skin Contact-y questions + more: 


Photo by @jennyfeastphotography

What do you love most about skin contact / orange wines?
I love how orange wines are a whole new experience compared to what we’re used to in Australia (red/white/rose). Wines with white wine acidity but tannin like a red wine, with so much scope for diversity of expressions within that. But my favourite thing by far is discovering the amazing level of aromatics which reside within the skin which can only be released with fermentation on skins, which in white wine production are just discarded.

What are some of the aspects to consider when making an orange wine such as the Gewurlitzer, that are particular to skin contact / orange winemaking?
For us, we are chasing natural acidity and spicy fruit characters, so we pick the fruit relatively early before the flavours get too overtly rich and sweet, and the texture gets oily and alcohol warm. We like to do at least a portion of carbonic maceration to increase the funk a little. Generally the wines will spend no more than three weeks fermenting on skins before being pressed off and raised in neutral oak barrels.


Photo by @jennyfeastphotography

What wine have you been enjoying drinking recently?
Have really been enjoying drinking wines from mates – Dr. Edge, Two Tonne Tasmania and Vignerons Schmolzer & Brown, Charlotte Dalton Wines, and cool things from Wildflower Brewing and Blending.

What music have you been listening to?
Recently we have been joined by our great mate Nick as our first employee who has brought some new and diverse music into our lives! Favourites from fairly opposing styles include William Onyeabor and Whores.

Thanks Andries!

We've put together a couple of packs (they're even a little discounted!) to commemorate this special edition of Hump Day Hero: 

The Maceration Magic Pack is a maceration celebration. 
The Belle-Vue Muscadet Maceration Pinot Gris is a stunning salmon coloured beauty from the Loire Valley with notes of orange and citrus, stone fruit and a beautiful minerality. 
The ARC Maceration is a a gorgeous blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Riesling, Viognier from Mornington Peninsula with white nectarine, tropical and passion flower aromatics and a lovely grippy palate with fresh acidity.


The Skin Contact Super Success Pack is guaranteed to provide success. Super Success. Featuring 3 quite different examples of skin contact wine: 
The Brave New Wine 'Gewurlitzer' Gewurtztraminer has flavours of musk sticks, apricots and cooking spices with a touch of skinsy grip.
The Smallfry Wines Tangerine Dream is deep golden with aromas of citrus peel and spices while on the palate it's full, dry and multi-layered with stone fruit, citrus and melon. 
The Moorak Skin Contact Pinot Gris was made in Mclaren Vale with fruit from Kangaroo Island, and is full of citrus, strawberry and rhubarb.

All so good, and all so different!

Well that's it for this very special edition of Hump Day Hero. Watch out for the next instalment as we bring you another topic to explore, another interview to devour, and another special theme-related pack to check out. Catchya next time Juiceheads x 

**note: all photos of Brave New Wine by @jennyfeastphotography



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