Orange wine, alternatively known as skin-contact wine, is a unique style of wine that combines aspects of both red and white winemaking methods. Originally hailing from the rustic wine regions of Eastern Europe, particularly Georgia, this type of wine has recently peaked the interest of adventurous wine enthusiasts across the globe.
Orange wine is typically produced from white grapes. In contrast to traditional white wine production, where the skins are promptly removed, the oranges hues of this wine come from extended contact with crushed grape skins and seeds, similar to the process of making red wine. Varying from pale amber to deep sunset orange, their colour is largely defined by the duration of this skin contact - the longer the contact, the darker the shade.
The taste of orange wine is a vibrant fusion of red and white, with the freshness of a white wine and the body and tannins of a red. Ranging from robust and bold to light and zesty, expect complex flavours that might surprise your palate. Often, it exhibits appreciable notes of dried fruit, honey, nuts and a distinct oxidative character.
What makes orange wine stand out is its versatility when it comes to pairing with food. It's often robust enough to complement flavourful dishes while retaining the ability to cleanse the palate much like a white wine, making it an all-rounder.
However, bear in mind that orange wine is an acquired taste, likely due to its departure from traditional wine categories and its unique flavour profile. Its production method is a testament to the artisanal and hands-off approach of 'natural' winemaking, often produced in smaller quantities and with limited intervention, emphasising its niche but growing appeal amongst wine connoisseurs.
Regardless of whether orange wine becomes a sustained trend, there is no denying that it represents a return to ancient winemaking practices and a celebration of the diversity of the world of wine.
Buy Orange wine below.