Paraschos' Orange Wine: Humble Origins, Elevated to Greatness

Paraschos' Orange Wine: Humble Origins, Elevated to Greatness

There is a mystique surrounding skin contact white wine (aka orange wine) at odds with its prosaic origins. Appearing on today’s most sophisticated wine lists and in the cellars of collectors, in pre-war northeastern Italy, skin contact whites were the everyday beverage of hard working farmers. 
 
The process for making these wines is simple — throw grapes into open top vats and allow them to ferment on the skins for an extended period during which pigment transfers to the juice. No glass swirling or emotive language required. 

The forces largely responsible for elevating orange wine from homespun obscurity to vinous art were the iconic producers Josko Gravner and Stanislao Radikon. In the 1970s, after taking the reins of their family properties in Collio (which lies on the Italian side of the border with Slovenia), Gravner and Radikon moved away from stainless-steel fermented crisp and clean whites, the prevailing choice of the day. They embraced the ancient techniques of Friulian farmer/winemakers (with a touch more attention to detail), and began producing the deeply hued, boldly textured, age worthy wines that are now the stuff of legend. 
 
And like all great winemakers, their legacy includes the influence they've had on a new generation of winemakers in the Collio hills. A rising star among them is Alexis Paraschos. 

With roots in the restaurant business in Friuli, Alexis’s family purchased vines in Collio in the 1990s and set out making wine from local white varieties, using traditional methods. Today, like his predecessors Gravner and Radikon, Alexis remains committed to preserving the health of his soil while taking a minimal intervention, yet meticulous, approach to vinification.

Organic since 2003, no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are used in the vines. In the cellar, carefully harvested and selected grapes are destalked, lightly crushed and placed in open top vessels for a prolonged fermentation where they draw preserving natural antioxidants from their skins.

Beautifully crafted and singular, Paraschos’s offerings are eloquent representations of the new vanguard of winemakers in Collio. Whether you’re a fully fledged orange wine initiate or just getting your feet wet, we encourage you to snag a few bottles of the savory, food friendly cuvée we are offering today. We were so impressed when we tasted it we snapped up all we could get our hands on. At a fraction of the cost of Gravner or Radikon, we doubt it’ll be around for long!

Paraschos “Kai” 2016 
From 80 year (Tocai) Friulano vines in clay and marl soils, this is a fantastic introduction to orange wine and the terroir of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Fermented four days on the skins in open top oak vats without refrigeration and aged three years in barrel.
The wine opens with beeswax, white pepper and celery on the nose leading to a palate of spicy blood orange, clay, iodine and a long salty finish. Unfined, and unfiltered with zero added sulfur, this wine will shine with a wide variety of foods.
Decant and enjoy with speck and prosciutto or fava bean puree on crusty bread drizzled with olive oil.