In a world where red, white, and rosé sit comfortably on the shelves, it can be both exciting and intimate to encounter a bottle of orange wine. If you've yet to experience this unique and captivating creation, you may be wondering what sets it apart from its more familiar counterparts.
Fear not, for we are here to take you on a journey through the world of natural wines, with a spotlight on the enigmatic orange variety.
Orange wine, sometimes referred to as “amber wine” or “skin-contact wine,” is a type of natural wine that falls somewhere between a white and red. It is produced by allowing the grape skins to remain in contact with the juice during fermentation, producing a wine with a distinctive orange or amber hue.
This process, known as “maceration,” imparts unique flavors, textures, and colors that set orange wines apart from their more traditional counterparts.
A Brief History of Orange Wine
while orange wine may seem like a recent trend, its roots can be traced back thousands of years. The practice of skin-contact fermentation is believed to have originated in the Caucasus region (modern-day Georgia) around 6,000 BCE.
Ancient winemakers used large clay vessels called “qvevri” to ferment their grapes, burying them underground to maintain a consistent temperature. This time-honoured technique is still used in Georgia today and has been embraced by a growing number of winemakers worldwide in recent years.
The Rise of Natural Wines
Natural wines, including orange wines, have seen a surge in popularity in recent years as consumers increasingly seek out authentic, unadulterated products. Natural winemaking emphasizes organic or biodynamic farming practices, minimal intervention in the winery, and little to no added sulfites.
By embracing these principles, natural winemakers aim to produce wines that express the true character of the grapes and the terroir from which they are grown.
So, What Does Orange Wine Taste Like?
Orange wines are known for their complex and often funky flavor profiles. The extended skin contact during fermentation imparts a wide range of flavors, from dried fruit and honey to earthy, herbal, and even nutty notes.
Orange wines also tend to have a pronounced minerality and a distinctive tannic structure, similar to red wines. This gives them a unique mouthfeel that differs from what you might expect in your typical glass of white wine.
How to Enjoy Orange Wine
One of the great things about orange wine is its versatility. Its bold flavors and substantial structure make it a fantastic pairing for various foods, from rich, spicy dishes to lighter fare like grilled vegetables and seafood.
When selecting an orange wine, it's a good idea to consider the grape variety and region, as these factors can greatly influence the wine's flavor profile.
As with any wine, serving temperature is crucial to getting the most out of your glass. Orange wines are typically best enjoyed at a slightly cooler temperature than reds but warmer than whites—aim for around 10-13°C. This will help to accentuate the wine's unique aromas and flavors while softening its tannic structure.
Embracing the Orange Wine Movement
If you're looking to dip your toe (or taste buds) into the world of orange wine, there's never been a better time. The growing interest in natural wines has increased the availability and variety of orange wines on the market. Producers from all corners of the globe are embracing the ancient skin-contact fermentation technique.
Some notable regions to explore include Georgia (the birthplace of orange wine), Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy. Nearly all countries with antiural winemakers produce Orange wines nowdays
What Orange wine producers you must try from our shop?
To give you some orange wine producers you must try from our portfolio, we wanted to point you in the right direction. Probably the most known producer for his orange wines is Tom Lubbe from Domain Matassa. Also a must try for Austrian Orange wines is Graue and Muskat Freyheit from Heinrich winery and the whiskey bottle like looking orange wines from Gassner winery. If you are more into easy drinking and fun orange wines we can suggest the Oliver from Kristinus or the orange wines from DB Schmitt. If you want to explore the world of orange wines with ease we have two tasting packs for you: “orange wine fans” and “orange orange orange”
The world of orange wine is a fascinating and ever-evolving landscape, offering a refreshing departure from the familiar realms of red, white, and rosé.
As the natural wine movement continues to gain momentum, orange wines are poised to play an increasingly prominent role in the wine industry, offering an exciting opportunity for adventurous wine lovers to explore new flavors and textures.
So, next time you're browsing the wine store or perusing the wine list at your favorite restaurant, keep an eye out for orange wine and give it a taste!
If you're looking for a wine shop online, we can help you. GrapeTimes is a sustainable, natural, and biodynamic wine shop. We ship carbon-neutral and plant a tree for every order. All products are sustainably produced by small family-run wineries with a lot of hand work. Consider us a shop for artesian producers. Browse our collection and buy now!