Milan Nestarec - OKR - 1 liter - 2021 - regio Moravia
Ochre Ochre, Burning Bright / In the Forests of the Night
As you've probably noticed, our wines have been gradually shifting towards less skin contact and more nuance – especially the White Labels, our “top shelf”, see shorter and shorter maceration times. We also use a way smaller proportion of skin-contact wine in the final blends, as we really wish to showcase the different personalities of our various vineyards, rather than covering them with an amber veil. That said, I still like to enjoy a (tamed) skin contact wine from time to time; especially during our recent holiday in my beloved Collio / Brda area, we drank a fair bit. And I understand that a lot of people are, on the contrary, suckers for this style, since hardly a week goes by without someone asking me for something orange.
In short, skin contact wines still have their place in my heart and cellar, and creating an amber brother to our dear Běl & Nach liters was kind of a no-brainer. All these salt-of-the-earth fellas all share not only the plump one-liter bottles that we've really fallen in love with, and linocut label by my dear wife Mirka, but also the same “everyday easy drinking” vibe. You know me, I'm still making wine mainly for myself, wine that my family and I like to drink .) This means no hardcore tannins or long macerations, but rather a fine, normal skin contact wine with great energy, distinguished aromatics, and only a hint of the “orangey” character. (Full disclosure: I don't enjoy the term “orange wine” very much, and its ubiquity neither.)
We use Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon and a little bit of Traminer, coming from our various vineyards in both Moravský Žižkov and Velké Bílovice. Fermented mostly as whole berries, without stomping and with only gentle punch-downs, 5 – 7 days depending on the variety. All this in order to get only a gentle extraction, to make this wine as palatable and drinkable as possible (talking big gulps here). Aged for cca 11 months (2020 was half in old oak, half in stainless steel tank, since 2021 we go for 100% stainless steel due to its freshness), then bottled unfined, unfiltered, unsulfured. Each variety gave the best of their skins, and the resulting wine is vivid, fun, and just enough talkative for it to be the best of companions.
We chose to name it Okr (ochre in Czech) not only bcs it follows the concise, colour-themed concept of its siblings Běl and Nach, but also because ochre is a natural pigment with a long history of use by humans – pieces of the material engraved with abstract designs have been found in South Africa and dated to around 75,000 years ago. And ochre literally is earth, precisely a mixture of ferric oxide and varying amounts of clay and sand, with colours ranging from yellow to orange or amber. Voilá the perfect symbol for where the wine comes from, and which hues & glints you can expect in your glass...