More about Orange Wine
Orange wines may be considered the most characterful, thrilling and food-friendly styles on our shelves today, with their deep hues, intense aromas and complex flavours. Or not, depending whom you talk to.
This white wine is made as if it was a red. The result differs in colour, and is also markedly more intense on the nose and palate, sometimes with significant tannins.
The colour comes from the skins and seeds, not from oxidation. The winemaking style is often as in red wine starting in open vessels, however producers generally seal vessels, as in red, after fermentation to ensure freshness in the wine. Confusion with the category “natural wines” is often made. For sure many producers of orange wines are in on minimal intervention, but this isn’t a prerequisite for the style. From a practical point of view, macerated white wines generally have increased longevity, due to the preservative antioxidants in the tannins.
As the wine ferments with the skins and seeds, the tannins are leached out and the wine becomes unusually rough for a white wine. The roughness provides a whole new dimension when combined with food, which have made orange wines popular in modern cuisine. The combination of freshness with tannin makes for superbly versatile food wines and as a former sommelier explains: “Orange wines were my get-out-of-jail-free card. We had a chef who would switch from fish to meat and back again on a tasting menu and orange wines paired effortlessly with every course.”
Few producers have been brave enough to try. Pricing reflects low volumes and yields, producers must be careful about fruit quality, as any defects will be amplified by the skin contact.