Even when you only have red or white wine, selecting the perfect bottle for your friend can be difficult. The rose made it even harder to choose, but now another color is joining the rainbow in your favorite tapas bars: orange wine. What’s this orange wine, and is it worth switching from your favorite rose?
What is orange Wine?
It may appear that orange wine is a new phenomenon, but it has been around for thousands of years. The popularity of orange wine grew as Georgia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy began to restore their tradition of making wine. It’s misleading to call it orange, as the color is only a part of what is produced. It’s not. It’s better to call it “skin-contact white wine,” as that is more accurate.
Some people may need clarification on the world of wines, with its tannins, vintages, and terroir. When it comes to the color of wine, it is relatively easy. Some wines are produced by fermenting the grape juice with the skins of the grapes. Others are not. There are many other subtleties depending on the winemaker, but let’s focus on this for now. The color of the wine is derived from the grape skins and not the flesh.
Red wines are produced with red grapes. Depending on the wine, they macerate in their skins for a few hours to several months. This allows them to pick up those gorgeous reds we love so well that we use them to describe indoor paints (the living room’s not red, but “merlot”). The skins of the grapes are removed before fermentation to make white wines. White wines are not only made with white grapes. Like many Champagnes, red grapes with skins removed before fermentation can also produce white wines. This is not contacting skin wine.
What makes orange wine different from red and white wine?
The skin contact is the same as red but made with white grapes. The carotenoids and other extractives from the skins of the white grapes are what gives the wine its color. It can range anywhere from clear honeysuckle to a foggy orange-red. The skins give it the body and complex tannins of red wine. But the white grape juice adds the fruity flavor you love in white wines.
What is the taste of orange wine?
You may understand the name, but are you still trying to decide if it’s something you would like? Consider what you already want about wine. There are skin-contact whites that will suit your taste. You might prefer the fruity white wines that have light tannins. The 2020 Sun Goddess Pinot-Grigio Ramato is on the list. It’s a good reason to have a glass of wine. It has a body and aroma similar to rose wine or between the two. The flavors, however, are more intense and reminiscent of stone fruit and floral notes you would find in white wine. The aroma resembles smelling flowers in the air than eating peach pies.
You can find a wide variety of skin-contact white wines. They will likely match your favorite characteristics in either white or red wine. You can also give a bottle as a gift to a friend and have a taste. It’s okay if you don’t enjoy it. You didn’t like it anyway. They’re all there to use friends as test subjects for wine. Cheers to friends.