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All about orange wine
You’ll be glad to know that “orange wine” isn’t normcore hipster slang for a mimosa. It’s actually white wine fermented on its own grape skins and seeds, which gives it an amber, orange-like color and a bigger tannin presence than conventional whites. Aging on the skins is standard for red wine, but not whites, so orange wine is something of a hybrid approach. The concept goes back thousands of years, so it’s no gimmick, but orange wine is starting to raise eyebrows around the world.
How is orange wine made?
The winemaker can ferment orange wine on its skins for a week or 52 times longer. Some choose to age their products in stainless steel for a more neutral flavor, though traditional examples still age in clay. Some of these also either leave out or scale back sulfite additions, so orange wine can often be considered “natural wine”.
What does orange wine taste like?
Since orange wine is a process choice and not a specific grape variety, its aromas and flavors can vary a good deal. One overarching characteristic is a bolder, punchier tannin quality than regular whites, thanks to extended skin contact. You’ll get the tannins and balancing bitterness you like so much in red wines, but with the delicate fruit flavors and aromas more typical of white wine. Just like people, some versions can develop a nice nuttiness. Depending on the grapes used, you might get honey, tropical fruit, dried apricot, or pear, and maybe even a healthy dose of chalky minerality. These wines also tend to be pretty dry with a nice bright sourness.
Orange wine and food
Orange wine is a food specialist. Thanks to its boldness and tannic backbone, it can stand up to richer foods better than many other white wines. Rather than withering under the weight of a rich tikka masala, orange wine punches back and refuses to be overwhelmed. Its fruity, nuttiness also pairs well with many other rich traditional cuisines. Try it with your favorite meat dish!
If you love tannic red wines but find conventional whites falling short in that department, orange wine might be the missing link you’ve been waiting for. The concept has been around for thousands of years but it’s really starting to gain traction as a new way to approach white grape varieties. Click these links to search for Drizly in your city, and look for liquor stores on Drizly near you.