With this series we hope to educate and inspire you beer lovers to venture away from malt and hops for a moment to ponder and enjoy a glass of wine (or two or three). Hopefully we can help take some of the mystery and intimidation out of selecting and tasting delicious fermented grape juice.
In our shop we love to offer beer, wines, and ciders from producers that place emphasis on natural fermentation, native ingredients, low intervention, and respect for history with excitement toward innovation while also keeping price points low, because we believe wine should be accessible.
This week we’re featuring Domaine Riberach Parenthèse, from Roussillon, France, a skin-contact wine made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Maccabeo grape varietals.
About the Wine Region
The Roussillon region is at the southern tip of France, with the Pyrenees Mountains in the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and Spain to the south. This is French Catalonia, and it’s the hottest and most dry region in all of France. This region also has the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic grape producers in the country, which is partially possible because of the high winds of the area help to ward off pests and threats of mildew. Notably, only 15% of the wine from Roussillon is white, making this bottle more rare.
Grapes and Style
Some may call this an “orange wine,” a term which is somewhat misleading. We prefer to say “skin contact” wine, which indicates that the grapes were left with their skins during part of the fermentation process. Called “soaking” or “macerating,” this is also how red wine is created. Any white wine grape can be used to make orange wine, and the darker the color, the longer the grape skins spent in the fermentation vessel. While not widely known, the Maccabeo grape is actually the second most widely planted white grape variety in Spain and is often blended into cava.
The aroma includes undertones of baking spice, notes of white flowers, earthiness (umami) and wet pavement. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a rich texture, and the taste is somewhat starchy and saline, tannin-forward with modest acid. Hints of apple skins, forest saplings and autumn leaves.
Food Pairing Ideas
Consider Thanksgiving! Rich creamy sauces, sage, pumpkin ravioli, brown butter, roasted mushrooms, butternut squash soup, goat cheese and grilled red onions are all highly recommended.
Beer and Cider Parallels
If you’re an IPA fan (especially session styles) you may enjoy this wine. In our tasting, we found a close friend in Heater Allen’s Coastal Lager, a somewhat bitter amber lager with a clean, crisp finish and distinctive floral hop notes. This beer is also available in our shop if you’d like to taste side by side.
If you’re a Basque cider fan, you will very likely enjoy this wine. Both fermentation traditions as well as flavors are born from the unique geographical and agricultural makeup of the region. Try Son of Man Sagardo for a unique cider and wine comparison!
This is not a “typical” wine. This is an out-of-the-ordinary wine with intrigue. As fans of all things creatively fermented, we hope those of you out there less familiar with wine may feel inspired to jump on board and give this a try. You won’t be bored, we promise!
Check out our video below!