Fun but Beautiful Italian “Orange” Wine

Today’s Story: Vodopivec

Vodopivec is a boutique winery established in the Carso region of northeastern Italy by Paolo Vodopivec. The estate consists of six hectares of vineyards, planted entirely to the Vitovska variety and farmed adhering to organic principles with the use of some biodynamic methods. Simply put, Paolo views himself as an observer and never irrigates his vineyards, transports top soil, or uses synthetic chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides. In a given vintage, Paolo will produce one to four wines depending on conditions, though he seems to average one to two wines per vintage. Paolo is not a man to force his vines into production either, and may skip a vintage if the conditions are poor (the rainy 2008 vintage, for example, yielded no wines). Paolo is minimally invasive in the cellar, pressing with a manual basket press and allowing his wines to naturally ferment on the skins in Georgian amphora. The wines age in large Slavonian oak botti for 2-3 years, then spend another year or so in bottle before release. While production varies vintage to vintage, Paolo will generally only reach 11,000 bottles (about 916 cases) at maximum.

Today’s Wine: 2010 Vitovska

100% Vitovska; 12.5% ABV

The 2010 Vitovska is medium amber in color. It’s transparent but a touch hazy due to small amounts of sediment in the bottle, but you can filter this out. Aromas are of medium intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of ripe apricot, peach, tangerine, mandarin orange, white florals, dried thyme, basil, wet stone, and a hint of crushed rock minerality. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity, with the palate offering notes of dried apricot, orange zest, peach, honeysuckle, dried green herbs, and saline mineral. This dry “orange” wine is light- to medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, light tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish. Destemmed and fermented in Georgian amphora with 6 months of skin contact.

Price: $60 (I paid $35). This is a very fun, pure, and well-made wine that, while I haven’t had enough wines like it to determine a value proposition, I think is worth trying. The balance and sense of place coming from the glass is both very impressive and inviting. I plan to buy more, especially at $35.

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