Every week, I select an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed my attention. View the whole series here.
I’ve featured wines from several of the Schmecke das Leben producers in this series, but not Tauss until now. Roland and Alice Tauss are perhaps the least well known winery in the group, partly due to their very small size – there’s a mere 6 hectares of vines at their bucolic estate in Southern Styria.
Like their colleagues, this quiet, philosophical couple underwent a conversion, first to organic farming and then to biodynamics. The estate has been Demeter-certified since 2006. When you visit, it’s clear this is no tokenistic marketing exercise. A yoga studio, solar heated pool, and accomodation furnished with natural, ecologically friendly materials are all clues that the Tauss way of life is about tranquility and a light footprint on the planet.
A section on the Tauss website deals with “Representation of energies in our wines“. I’ll admit this takes me into slightly worrisome esoteric/hairshirt territory, but my fears were allayed when I tasted the wines. A range of whites are produced from two soils – Opok and Hohenegg (the latter giving tighter, dryer more mineral wines), and have attractive, sometimes quite luscious fruit.
Tauss produce three “orange wines”, a Grauburgunder (AKA Pinot Grigio), Sauvignon Blanc and Roter Traminer. The latter was my hands down favourite. Alice explained that inspiration to use extended skin maceration came “from tasting other producer’s wines, especially from Friuli Carso and France”.
With 10 days of skin contact, the Roter Traminer “H” (Hohenegg) 2011 has retained subtle yet exotic aromatics that remind me of turkish delight. It’s full and satisfying on the palate, fresh with some lively acidity. There’s fire in the belly though, with an assertive finish that suggests a hot year and very ripe fruit. I bought a bottle to lay down for a year or two, curious to see if the fiery quality integrates a little more harmoniously.
A note on the variety – Austrian producers have a bad habit of confusing their Traminer, Gewurztraminer and Roter Traminer. All are distinct mutations or clones of Savagin (AKA Traminer), and Alice confirmed that this is definitely the slightly less aromatic Roter Traminer, not Gewurz.
At the time of writing, Tauss wines are available across the German speaking world, but not in the UK or Netherlands. Reason enough to book yourself into a short break at their gorgeous lodgings, and grab a few bottles into the bargain.