Session on Natural Wine, Vinocamp Rheinhessen 2017


After we already had a session on orange wines at the Vinocamp Rheinhessen last year, where nobody from Rheinhessen was present, I decided – we can do that here too!

So I looked around in Rheinhessen and found a great selection of natural wines from the wineries for the session.
Thank you again at this point!

Definition on Natural Wine?!

First of all, perhaps a definition of the term – what is “orange wine”?
The Weinwisser offers a very precise explanation – therefore here, as far as I have defined it for me in the meantime, the short form ­čśë

There is no generally valid definition – but there are two principles that everyone can agree on:

  • Wine from white grapes
  • Mash fermentation (i.e. on the skin of the grapes)

…and why is it called Orange Wine?
Because of the contact with the skin of the berries during fermentation, the colouring particles are dissolved in the skin and give the wine an orange tone of varying intensity

But enough theory – I would like to introduce you to the tasted orange wines.
We had a total of 13 different wines – an exciting selection!

The specialized journalist Joachim Kaiser kindly agreed to jump into cold water, present the wines without prior tasting and taste them together with us.

By the way – we tasted the wines again the next day. If we noticed any changes, notes on this are always included as “note following day” with the wines.

2016 P├ętillant Naturel, Sylvaner, Winery Braunewell

  • Colour: strong yellow
  • very much yeast and suspended particles (as barrel sample)
  • yeasty notes
  • fresh and fruity appearance
  • Herbal Tea
  • Apple peel
  • “black bread”
  • meltdown

Note following day – unfortunately not for this wine – because it was empty … too bad!
The well-intentioned advice – please open it very carefully – didn’t help at all and a large part of the content was unfortunately distributed in the vinotheque of the Peth Winery. ­čÖü

Flight of two Pinot Blancs – Rheinhessen meets Rheingau

2015 “Orpheus” Pino Blanc, Winery Schmitt, Rheinhessen

  • Amphora wine
  • 12.5%
  • Sulphurized
  • Colour: light orange tone, not quite clear
  • fruity
  • present tannins
  • seems quite young
  • stable note
  • some nutmeg

 2012 Pinot Blanc, Winery Balthasar Ress, Rheingau

  • 14.5%
  • Sulphurized
  • Colour: light orange tone, clear
  • clear mature notes in the nose
  • much substance, spicy
  • wood notes
  • dried fruit

note next day – a little less spicy, but now a marzipan note

Flight of two Pinot Gris

2015 “Orange”, Pinot Gris, Winery Braunewell, Rheinhessen

  • Colour: strong orange tone, clear
  • probably very mature grapes, because of the color
  • clear and transparent in the mouth
  • subtle wood note
  • roasted flavours

2015 “Orange”, Pinot Gris, Winery Eppelmann, Rheinhessen

  • Colour: dark, strong orange tone, not quite clear
  • probably very mature crops, because of the colour
  • 13.0%
  • sulphurized
  • spicy
  • curry
  • candied apricots
  • light yeast note

2015 “MG”, Pinot Gris, Winery of the City of Mainz, Rheinhessen

  • according to the winegrower, he doesn’t call it an “orange wine” himself
  • also has AP number
  • “MG” stands for mash fermentation
  • Colour: clear orange
  • sulphurated
  • Vinification like Pinot Noir
  • (eg fermentation in open vats and later in barrique)
  • light fruit
  • apple and plum notes

Flight – twice vinery Weinreich

2016 “Tacheles”, Bacchus & Kerner, Winery Weinreich, Rheinhessen

  • Colour: light orange tone, not quite clear
  • 11%
  • not sulphurized & no additives
  • six weeks mash-fermented
  • aged in 500l barrels
  • clear varietal aromas in the nose
  • spice notes
  • ripe apple
  • fresh notes

 2015 “Des Wahnsinns fette Beute”, Chardonnay, Winery Weinreich, Rheinhessen

  • Colour: light orange tone, not quite clear
  • 12.5%
  • not sulphurized & no additives
  • matured in 500l barrels – there it still lies ­čśë
  • matured for about 18 months in wooden barrels
  • pronounced fruit aromas
  • apple peel & pear
  • apricot jam
  • slight tarty notes

Flight – barrel sample & very special

2012, Chardonnay, Winery Engel, Rheinhessen

  • Barrel sample without label
  • Colour: orange, clear
  • harvested highly mature
  • > 13%
  • fermented for 5 weeks with rappen
  • alcoholic
  • nice spice
  • apple note
  • Cognac (nose)
  • off-flavors – harsh tannins

 2009 “Ines u. bijelom”, Winery Roxanich (Kroatien)

  • Colour: strong orange tone, clear
  • 13.3%
  • Acidic notes – nicely put Ketones & Aldehydes
  • itchy in mouth & nose

note following day – remained the only unenjoyable participant of the round (Croatia)

Flight – twice exotics

2016 Savagnin & Gew├╝rztraminer, Winery Espenschied, Rheinhessen

  • Colour: orange, clear
  • 13%
  • slightly sulphured
  • slightly mouldy in the nose
  • is not reflected in the mouth, good drinking
  • light fruit tones
  • Carambola & Quince

2016  “Heiter bis Wolkig”, Dornfelder & Kerner,
Winery Weinreich, Rheinhessen

  • “actually” not a real orange wine, because made with red wine grapes as well
  • Colour: bright red, clear
  • 6 weeks red and white grapes macerated
  • matured in large wooden barrel
  • no additives and no sulphur
  • breaded note
  • “young wine” character
  • slightly animal note
  • pleasant fruit aromas
  • sour cherry
  • a really “winy” natural wine

2015 Riesling & Sylvaner, Winery Schwarz, Switzerland

  • put aside in the “P├ęt Nat Trubel” while cleaning and forgotten on Saturday ­čÖü 
  • … but tasted on Sunday ­čÖé
  • Colour: quite bright for orange wine
  • 16%
  • rose and nutmeg
  • medium yellow fruit
  • unobtrusive, but very present
  • good acidity, but melty
  • Alcohol very well integrated

2016 “Perlen vor die S├Ąue”, Riesling & Silvaner
Winery Weinreich, Rheinhessen

As I am writing the blog post, I realize that this Pet Nat obviously also “must have been put aside in the hustle and bustle” – but we didn’t see him again even when we were cleaning up … obviously had found a friend ­čśë
What a pity, because I had the pleasure to taste him at a
orange wine tasting at the Vinarmarium and it was sooooo delicious! So here is at least some general information, if you ever come across this P├ętillant Naturel – try it!

  • Mash Fermented
  • with own residual sweetness
  • pressed during fermentation and filled into sparkling wine bottles to stop the fermentation
  • spontaneously and without any additives
    no sulphur
  • Pressure of approx. 6 bar
  • unfortunately no notes made about aromas – but SUPER delicious, I remember that ­čśë

Bottom line:

Orange wine is not for the mainstream – it is simply a complex and unusual taste. But if you get involved, you can have a wonderful and delicious experience!

In my opinion, a sparkling wine, the “P├ętillant Naturel”, is generally recommended for beginners.

… and as I said – there was only one representative who was really a challenge to taste – and he did not come from home ­čśë