Ovum "Big Salt" Orange Rosé Table Wine 2019
Region: Elkton AVA < Oregon
Grapes: Pinot Gris, Riesling
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic, 40+ year-old-vines on Windygap soils (deep, well-drained residuum and colluvium from sandstone and siltstone); blend of 7 day skin contact fermentation in amphorae, cask and egg, multiple racking to aerate and allow each part of the wine to age in multiple vessels. Nothing added except mnimal SO2 before bottling, unfined/unfiltered; 12.9% ABV
Winemaker: Ksenija and John House
The Ovum story is simple. Husband and wife John and Ksenija House fell in love working at a winery, decided to go off on their own and make natural, terroir-driven wines out of the best raw material they can find in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They're the geniuses behind ‘Big Salt’, a white blend of aromatic varietals, that, vintage after vintage, is one of Rock Juice's best sellers. Now they've taken Big Salt to the next level, with a tiny-production, skin-contact orange wine that they call rosé.
Here's how John describes this beautiful oddity: "What is an orange rose you ask? We don’t know either. Big Salt “Orange Rose” is nearly a 50/50 blend of ramato style Pinot gris and a co-fermented, skinzy Riesling. The combination of these production methods left us with a wine that doesn’t look or smell like a rose – it isn’t as funky or extracted as an orange wine – it lives somewhere in between, or beyond. 2019 BSOR is peachy in color, no doubt because the Pinot gris was cranberry red, and Riesling was yellow, meeting in the middle at orange. It’s aromas are earthy - think roasted carrot, ginger, red apple skin. The palate is bracing (Riesling) and packed with citrus and aloe. It has a shocking amount of grip (amphorae) but not quite tannic. It oddly finishes with florals you’d expect from the nose, but it’s in the back palate."
Our take: OMG!!! So good! Served icy cold, it tastes like a summery slushie of hibiscus, tangerine and fuzzy peach skin, with enough tartness to balance the aromatics, and a refreshing wave of acid on the finish. You get texture, not tannins from the skin, but this is definitely more of an orange wine than a rosé in our book. But it's an easy one that doesn't demand fruit or advanced natural wine drinker status, or even your full attention. Easy like a summer breeze. We got a 3-case allocation and it'll fly, so grab some now.