Kunoh Wines - Summer Snowflake 2019

Once again, an orange wine. This time we'll be having a bottle of Summer Snowflake 2019 from the other side of the world, produced by Kunoh Wines.

So it is Orange once again. Lately, the fourth wine color appears surprisingly often in our glasses. Sometimes because I simply didn’t read properly what’s actually in the bottle, and sometimes intentionally. This bottle was mainly intentional and just a little bit inner Swabian. The composition of the varieties reads quite wild, in any case. It’s 65% Gewürztraminer, 20% Grauburgunder, 10% Riesling, and finally 5% Viognier in the wine. Of these, a little over two-thirds are left on the skins, and the remaining grapes are fermented with stems and stalks before being completely pressed. Then everything goes into stainless steel for 10 months and is then bottled without filtration and without added sulfur. Although the label says “Field Blend”, which would be called Gemischter Satz in Germany, so all in the same plot, harvested together, the compositions of the different vintages vary greatly. So I can’t say whether and how much of it grows and is processed together. Anyway, Gewürztraminer as the main grape variety in the blend with maceration for over 30 euros isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, to be honest. The bottle looks pretty, though, two cute kiwis are romping around the label, and then there was also a big Easter clearance discount sticker next to the price tag (that’s the Swabian part of the bottle purchase), and I was also a bit curious. So why not. Yuki Nakano comes from Japan and worked there as a sommelier. During his work and his wine travels, he was so seized by the wine fever that he wanted to make wine himself. First in Australia on a winery, then in the north of the South Island of New Zealand around Nelson. There he manages about three hectares on the side, from which his own wines come. And whereas other people make wines that they would like to drink themselves, he makes wines that he would like to pair with food. You probably get rid of the sommelier as easily as the inner Swabian. Which is not at all.

I like the color, somehow it reminds me of tea. The wine smells like a mixture of tonic water and glue with a few drops of honey and a bit of fruit. It’s intense but very hard to grasp. In the mouth, the wine is bone dry. Really dry. And then what remains on the tongue is what remains after a sip of Islay or Mezcal. And when you have that on your tongue, the smoke also wanders into the glass. And if you then take another sip, suddenly there’s peach and a lot of juiciness behind the smoke. It’s incredibly good and once again something I’ve never tasted before. Unlike with whisky, there’s no trace of smoke in the empty glass, and it smells like a very fruity tonic water. The more oxygen passes through the glass, the less the smoky note overall. And although that sounds wild, this may be the cleanest orange wine I’ve ever tasted. With more airtime, the smoke recedes even further, and now it tastes like peach iced tea with structure. Incredible.

And even after a night in the refrigerator, it’s more of a head-scratcher than an everyday wine. It’s reminiscent of Amaro, Mezcal, black tea, and peach and sandalwood. Of the thick peel of citrus fruits, of kumquats, and behind that comes the fragrance that you would actually expect much more clearly from Gewürztraminer. And then in the mouth, crystal clear and fine. How clean the acidity is, and we’re here on the second evening, the anxiety evening when drinking orange wine. How there’s no tannin and yet a lot of structure. It’s not at all orange and at the same time completely orange. And if you really swirl a lot, Islay comes back. A fascinating wine, a truly fascinating wine. Not for every day, of course, not even for every week. But this may very well be the best skin-fermented white wine I’ve ever had.

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