Where there's a wine, there's a way. Here at Oola, we are big fans of wine. After all, we've already written about red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, and blue wine, just to name a few. Enter our latest beverage crush, orange wine, also known as autumn's rosé. We'll dive into what exactly this type of wine is, its origin, tasting notes, suggested food pairings, and some popular brands. Enjoy our comprehensive guide to orange wine!
Let's make it clear: orange wine is NOT made from oranges. There's not even a specific type of grape that produces this neat drink. Orange wine is simply the result of white wine grapes being processed like red wine grapes.
Essentially, while white grape skins are usually removed, for orange wine, they are fermented with the grapes to achieve the signature orange hue. This process is natural and uses almost no additives. The resulting color can range from faint, barely-there orange to bright, full-on orange. This wine can more accurately be called skin-contact wine. Some orange wine is from one specific grape varietal, but most is the result of a blend of multiple kinds of white grapes.
The process used to create orange wine was developed 5,000 years ago in the Caucasus region (now the country of Georgia). The first known vessel for fermenting wine was called a qvevri, and it was a clay pot reinforced with beeswax and buried under the earth for temperature consistency. The grapes and skin were then fermented underground and enjoyed after fermentation.
Orange wine has reemerged in the past couple of decades. This natural wine-making style is still quite rare, but countries like France, Italy, Slovenia, the aforementioned Georgia, the United States, Australia, South Africa, and Austria all currently produce orange, or skin-contact, wine. It is growing in popularity and has become a cult phenomenon for educated wine drinkers.
Due to the way it is made, orange wine is much more complex and bold than regular white wine. It tends to adopt some of the characteristics usually associated with red wine, like more tannins and a robust, full-bodied flavor profile. It can be reminiscent of honey, sourdough, jackfruit, peach, strong tea, hazelnut, dried orange, wood, and/or apple. The taste depends upon how long the grapes ferment with the grape skins, as well as the type of grape used, the vessel used for fermentation, the serving temperature (optimal is 55 degrees), and many other factors.
Just because orange wine is bold doesn't mean it can't be properly paired with some delicious food options. Its strong flavor goes well with spiced dishes like kimchi, Moroccan tagines, or flavorful Indian curries. This wine is also great with food from the country where it originated, Georgia.
Now that we've discussed what orange wine is, its interesting origin, some tasting notes, and what foods to pair it with, let's consider some ways for you to enjoy this type of vino. We recommend checking out a local wine shop and speaking with the purveyor by asking for orange wine or skin-contact wine. Here are some well-known brands of orange wine:
We hope you've enjoyed our exploration of orange wine. We've covered the basics, tasting notes, origin, prominent brands, and suggested food pairings. Cheers to this delicious option for fall beverage fun!