Citrus x Aurantium California Vin d'Orange
Impression: more orange than an orange
Process: maceration on fruit and spices
Base spirit: wine and brandy
Nose: honey, orange blossom, wine, white brandy, vanilla
Palate: orange peel, orange juice, orange marmalade, grapefruit peel bitterness, hint of sherry
RELEASE NOTES: It's difficult to maintain perspective when you're tasting your own products - Citrus Aurantium is no exception.
Even six months after picking up the keg of chardonnay / pinot noir / meunier blend from Hammerling Wines, and thoroughly saturating myself with intense neroli and vanillin aromas over several days of fruit processing, picking out the flavors of each of these elements is difficult to do without bringing up all of the other parts of that experience - scrambling to find the ingredients, working late to process the perishable wine and fruit, and most of all the lingering smell of Seville oranges that lasts for days in your room / work clothes / vehicle.
But you probably won't get all that when you approach this liqueur in your glass.
More likely, you'll find some honey and orange blossom on the nose, and maybe a slight hint of the acidity of the oranges tempered with wine and white brandy, and just a little vanilla. Citrus Aurantium is clear, medium gold, and there is a bit of particulate leftover from the light filtration we use to recover the liquid from its fruit maceration.
We classify aromas and flavors into three categories (check out the graphic projection on the label): aging, ingredients, and production. The aromas we get here are almost exclusively from the raw materials. Even though you could argue that this has been slightly aged after macerating in stainless steel for about a month and bottle conditioning for six months, this really only tempers the acidity of the wine and bitterness of the Sevilles, it doesn't introduce anything new.
The palate is all orange - orange peel, orange juice, orange marmalade - with some grapefruit bitterness for balance. The wine shows up with a slight oxidative effect not unlike a fortified wine (port, sherry), this is really the only new flavor from the bottle conditioning.
This is a showcase for Seville oranges, with vanilla, wine, spirits and sugar playing a supporting role.
Enjoy Citrus Aurantium over ice on a warm evening in the backyard with friends.