Saturday, September 30, 2017

Old Westminster Alius (2015)

When my beautiful Angel, Clare, and I visited Old Westminster Winery a couple of years ago, we heard people talking about an orange wine named Alius.  We asked about that wine.  Everyone said, "you have to try the Alius, but, it is so popular that you have to wait for it to come and even then it is only available to wine club members."  Well, needless to say, we became wine club members (not because of the orange wine, but because Old Westminster's other wines are very good).

Eventually, we were able to get a bottle of Alius and we recently opened it.  According to the winemakers, Alius is named after the Latin word meaning "something different."

The name fits the wine.  The Alius has been described as an "orange wine."  The color, texture and tannins come from the maceration process.  This is the process where the skin of the grapes comes in contact with the juice.   In the case of the Alius, the grapes are Pinot Gris and were grown on a rocky hillside in northern Maryland.  After the maceration, the wine was fermented with native yeast in stainless steel.  At the end of the process, the winemakers at Old Westminster Winery bottled 63 cases on April 25, 2016. 

The Alius pours an orangish hue as advertised.  The pictures really do not portray the wine's color very well.  The orangish hues had some amber and tangerine notes, depending upon the light. 

As the wine sits in the glass, there are notes of peach, pear and white nectarine in the area of the Alius.  Some of these notes carry through to the taste of the wine.  There is some tartness at the beginning, but as the wine opens and warms, the tartness recedes and the fruit flavors -- especially the white nectarine -- open up more.  The fruit becomes more mellow, with melon and honey notes becoming more present. 

The Alius is definitely an interesting wine, and, as it opened, it was a very enjoyable wine as well. This wine is available only to wine club members of Old Westminster Winery.


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