Orange wine doesn’t mean wine made of oranges; instead, it is one of the oldest wines in the world. It is not the Mimosa cocktail which is made by blending one portion of orange juice with two parts of sparkling wine. It is something completely different. So, let’s talk about orange wine in this article.
Before you read about this type of wine, its good to know about the basic classification of wines.
What is orange wine?
Orange wine is one of the oldest wines in the world. In fact, all white wines were orange in the past. The word orange doesn’t refer to any color. It means the process of wine-making. This is a wine prepared by allowing the skins and seeds of the grapes that are in contact with the juice. It looks lightly orange-colored after finishing.
How is orange wine prepared?
Usually, orange wines are made in boutique wine-producing areas. These are signature wines as their making is different from others. This wine-making process needs lots of affection, practical human labor, and the proper aging process.
For making orange wine, white wine grapes are required to be mashed. Then the mashed grapes need to be put in a cement or colossal ceramic container. The fermentation of the wine should be done in a container where the top is open as fermentation requires often punch downs with long sticks so that carbon dioxide can be removed. Mashed grapes should be left for fermenting for a minimum of four days to more than a year with the skin and seeds with them.
After fermentation, the barrels are sealed to stop oxidation. The wine remains with grape skin for a specific three to six months duration. Then the skins are removed, and the fermented liquid is transferred into another container for aging before it is packed. Then the wine is transferred into bottles without using any filters.
The process is a natural one where no chemical is used for faster fermentation. Even in some cases, yeast is also not used. Due to this wine-making process, the taste of orange wine is very unusual from regular white wines with a sour taste and nutty flavors from the oxidation process.
In this wine, the skin and seeds of the grapes remain in contact with the juice for a long time which offers it an orange color.
Top regions producing orange wines:
Orange wines are not very frequent; still, many countries are there that produce this wine. Let’s look at the countries:
Top orange wine is produced in northern Italy along the Slovenia border in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Josko Gravner first attempted to make an orange wine in 1997. He made the process of natural wine-making popular in Italy.
Some Italian orange wine producers include Bressan “Carat” (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Antonio Caggiano “Bechar” (Campania), Donati Camillo “Malvasia dell’Emilia” (Emilia Romagna), etc.
Slovenia has a comprehensive history of orange wine production. The wine produced here is well-integrated.
Some instances of orange wine producers in Slovenia are Klinec, Movia “Lunar,” Princic.
Georgia is primarily popular for its qvevri-aged wines. Some orange wine producers are Pheasant’s Tears, Alaverdi Monastery “Gurjaani” in Kakheti, Our Wine in Kakheti, Tbilvino “Quevris,” Lagvinari “Goruli Mtsvane,” etc.
Some experimental wine producers in the USA, especially in New York, began to produce orange wine. Orange wine producers in the USA include Channing Daughters “Meditazione,” “Ribolla Gialla,” and “Ramato,” Pax Mahle, Red Winery “SK” series, Salinia, etc.
Other than the above-mentioned countries Australia, France, South Africa, Austria also produces orange wine.
Some best orange wines
Some best orange wines that wine lovers would love to have include:
- 2017 Heinrich Graue Freyheit
- 2018 Manon High Paradise
- 2018 Pepe Mendoza Casa Agricola Pureza Muscat
- 2019 Domaine des Mathouans Mine de Rien
- 2019 Baia’s Wine Tsitska-Tsolikouri-Krakhuna
- NV Croci Campedello Bianco Frizzante
- 2015 Paraschos Amphoreus Ribolla Gialla
- 2019 Herdade do Rocim Amphora Branco
- 2016 Quinta da Costa do Pinhao Branco
- 2016 Ferdinand Brutus Rebula
- 2019 Deovlet Wines Pinot Grigio Ramato “This Time Tomorrow.”
- 2018 Donkey and Goat Winery Stone Crusher Roussanne
Tasting notes of orange wines
Some orange wines may resemble the taste of light red wines while others taste sour beer. There are varieties of orange wines. Generally, these are full-bodied wines (more than regular white wines). These wines contain vast amounts of tannins, which make them taste bitter. Usually, the taste of dried flowers or hay, apricot-like stone fruits, and dried fruit dominate the taste of orange wines.
While purchasing an orange wine, try to know how long it was in contact with the skin. The more the wine stays with the connection, the stronger it will become. The grape variety and fermented cask are also significant for the better taste of orange wine. The wines fermented in qvevri might have a more earthy flavor and aroma than the steel-vessel fermented wine.
How to pair orange wine with food
The taste of orange wine falls between white and red wine. Therefore, the wine food pairing options are also attractive with orange wine. Orange wines are full-bodied and flavorful items can easily be paired with them. However, some specific rich and spicy items such as kimchi, salted cheese, charcuterie plates, mushrooms, squash, all kinds of fish and meat items are perfect to pair with orange wines.