Vi Brisat

Fashions in wine are no different from fashions in the rest of the world; what is old becomes new, and what is new becomes old. Yet due to the elongated history of wine, its connection to cultures and human endeavour, it isn’t just a style of wine that’s often revived from the distant past; it’s everything that comes with it. Such is the case, when it comes to Vi Brisat.

Brisat is the Catalan term for “Orange Wine”, or a white wine that’s been fermented with both the juice and the skins from white grapes. A lot has been said about this style of wine over the last few years, and it’s almost single-handedly put Georgian wine back on the map. Yet, it’s also been made in a myriad of different ways across Southern Europe, and much of that forgotten history is being revitalised and brought to the fore once again.

In Catalunya, the beginnings of our wine culture and history is considered to truly begin with the occupying Roman forces, and our inclusion in its great empire. Brisat style wines were almost certainly made, and drank, particularly around the city of Tarragona and its thirsty inhabitants. Clay vessels filled with crushed, white grapes and left to slowly (or quickly!) ferment under their own supervision were undoubtedly common-place, with more extraction of colour and tannin than we would be used to from most white wines produced in the region today.

Whilst you can find Vi Brisat across Catalunya, the style tends to be more common in the South, particularly around Tarragona and further still to Terra Alta. This is mostly for historical reasons, though the natural acidity and soft texture of Garnacha Blanca lends itself particularly well to a process of extended skin contact. What’s changed is the ambition of the producers creating them. Previously, where they were produced almost as a Vi Ranci or as an experiment, more and more producers are now creating premium versions and bottling them; a style completely apart from anything else in their portfolio. Contrary to popular belief, Vi Brisats aren’t necessarily even orange in appearance, though they generally do have a greater intensity of aroma and flavour, occasionally with a hint of chalky tannins. They make for exceptionally versatile companions to food and are certainly a talking point wherever they’re to be found.

These wines are being received to great applause in the neighbouring cities of Tarragona and Barcelona. Now you have no excuse not to give them a try. Our key supplier, Celler Alimara has produced a wonderful Vi Brisat named AmbPells, which is available to buy now.

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