Understanding Terra Alta’s Brisat, Spain’s First Officially Designated Orange Wine

Terra Alta is capitalizing on the growing popularity of orange wine by officially adding their historic, skin-contact white wine to the DO’s bylaws

Orange wines are undoubtedly becoming more prominent worldwide, but in the Terra Altawine region in northeast Spain, skin-contact white wines—produced throughout Catalunya and known locally as brisat—hold historical importance. [...] To honor the tradition and capitalize on orange wine’s growing popularity, Terra Alta officially recognized these skin-fermented wines as part of its DO in its 2022 bylaw revisions. The category, officially known as Vi Brisat, is the first and only official designation for skin-contact white wines in Spain.

[...] “I think there have been some examples of wines being disqualified organoleptically because it didn’t fulfill the criteria of the white wine specifications because it was a brisat wine,” says Rafael de Haan, who runs Herència Altés along with his wife Nuria Altés.The couple, who founded their solar-powered winery in 2010, make two styles of brisat: a rich, phenolic style, and a fresher style with less skin contact. This winemaking tradition also muddied the definition of what was considered a white wine in the region. “It created a little bit of confusion in the market because obviously if you buy something labeled as a white wine and it’s orange, it may not meet your expectations,” says de Haan. [...]

Shana Clarke, Seven Fifty Daily

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