“Orange is the new white,” says Yorkville Cellars Founder Ed Walla. Indeed, it does seem that orange wine is making some kind of comeback — like bell bottoms and puff jackets in the 1990s (but, let’s face it, less tacky). If you think orange wine is new, here’s an anecdote from Ed:
“The practice has a long history in winemaking dating back thousands of years to the Eurasian wine producing countries of Armenia and Georgia. In recent years the practice has been adopted by Italian winemakers, initially in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine region, while there is also production in Slovenia, Croatia, France, Germany, New Zealand, and California. Orange wines were not uncommon in Italy in the 1950s and 1960s, but gradually became obscure as technically correct and fresh white wines came to dominate the market.”
“Technically correct,” eh? Long live the rebel I say! And if you read my review of the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Semillon, you know that Semillon is one of (if not my absolute) favorite white wine grape. So you can imagine my excitement about this tasting.
About the Wine: The Yorkville Cellars 2016 Amber Folly is made from 100% Semillon grapes harvested from the Yorkville Cellars estate vineyards located in the Yorkville Highlands AVA of Mendocino, California. “Treated like a red wine,” these white grapes were pressed and the juices left to ferment on the skin, giving the wine this amber pigment. The juice fermented for 10 days in open top containers using all indigenous yeast. The wine then aged in 100% French oak barrels (100% seasoned) for 5 months.
Flavor Profile: The minute you open the bottle of the Yorkville Cellars 2016 Amber Folly, you become immersed in fruity scents of apples, peach skins, and nectarine flesh. As this 100% Semillon flows from bottle to glass, it’s actually quite clear with just a kiss of yellow. In the glass, however, the wine settles in a denser shade of yellow, reminiscent of a warm sunset just before the orange glow takes over.
Initial aromas are of honeysuckle, white flowers, freshly rained upon grass, a slight acidity, and fruits like apricots, nectarines, and soft yellow apples. Swirl to find a toasty note most akin to the roasted nuts in a praline.
The palate of the Yorkville Cellars 2016 Amber Folly is full, textural, immediately dry, with a solid, medium dose of acidity that keeps a “sour” note throughout the tasting until the very finish — which is soft, if not a bit round in texture. Dominant flavors are of the stone fruits mentioned above with secondary flavors of cashew, nectar, and a nudge baking spices in the background.
Food Pairing: I paired the Yorkville Cellars 2016 Amber Folly with a sesame encrusted seared tuna, and an Asian-style salad made of shredded cabbage, tossed with almonds and mandarin segments, and dressed with my orange glaze. This wine paired beautifully with the toasty sesame element of the fish, which brought out a bit of the texture, softened it, and created an overall rounder mouthfeel. The salad with its sticky glaze, too, played with the textural element of the wine, but also brought out a bit of those savory, tactile baking spices found in the back palate.
More Info: I received the Yorkville Cellars 2016 Amber Folly as a sample for review. (Cheers Ed!) Retail: $28. For more information about Yorkville Cellars, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Yorkville Cellars website.
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