Today, we’re going to put aside reds and whites and look at something a little different: orange wine. Despite the name, orange wine contains no actual oranges; instead, it is the result of leaving grape juice in contact with the skins and seeds for a prolonged period of time. This results in a white wine with a noticeably orange hue.
While there is something undeniably fascinating about the color, the real appeal of this wine lies in its flavor characteristics. Orange wine is crisp and complex in equal measure. It’s really the ultimate wine for those who want the best of all worlds!
How it’s made
As mentioned, orange wine derives its color and taste from the harvesting and fermantioation process. The grapes are left on the vine for longer than normal and once mashed, they are left to ferment. This results in the distinct honeyed color of this fascinating wine.
Orange wine is fairly rare but has gained a new level of popularity amongst enthusiasts in the last few years. The wine is produced in a number of countries with a few new ones starting to experiment with orange wine production. The major producers are Italy, France, Spain, Austria, South Africa, the United States, Slovenia, and Australia.
Considering its unique origins, it’s hardly surprising that orange wine has a taste unlike any other wine. Despite its dry and crisp nature, the wine is very robust with a strong taste of tropical fruit, apples, and nuts. Tasters have described the wine as having a noticeable umami flavor. It also has hints of bread, yeast, and honey.
Orange wines tend to have a high tannin content and a heavier body than most whites.
Thanks to its robust flavor, orange wine pairs well with intense spicy foods. The wine is a perfect match for hot curries like vindaloo, jalfrezi, and rogan josh. It’s also a great wine to pair with dishes from the African continent. Moroccan and Ethiopian cuisine all pair very well with orange wine. Finally, fans of kimchi will be happy to know that orange wine is the perfect drink to go with this fermented treat.
Wines to try
Orange wines are fairly rare and can be hard to find. However most good wine stores should have at least a few bottles on offer.
Cos Pithos Bianco ($30)
Powerful and complex, this Sicilian wine has a bold nutty flavor.
Ageno la Stoppa ($20)
Herbal and spicy, this wine has a rich color and an intense aroma
Tinajas de La Mata ($15)
If you crave umami flavors this is the wine for you. This wine has a notable saltiness with hints of lemon.