Attention wine aficionados and casual drinkers alike. Close out of Instagram for one minute to read this urgent news announcement. Wine is having a moment, people. Remember when rosé forties came out? Yeah, they were awesome. We also drank about 62 ounces of one ... err, two, too. After that, blue wine was created. Our mouths have been tinted blue ever since. What if there was a more seasonally appropriate color, though? And something that could also be chilled like rosé? Well, it exists. Orange wine is real, and it's here to make your fall more fun and far more flirty.
Orange wine's less-enticing descriptor is skin contact wine. It's called this because the white grape skins contain tannins, and this style of wine is fermented with those skins. White wine is typically made without skins. Since there are no skins, there is no skin contact. Less skin contact means less tannins and, inherently, less fullness and body. In the wine world, natural wines like orange wines are having a resurgence in the last few decades.
The winemaking process for this variety is around 5,000 years old, dating back to Caucasus, per Wine Folly, which is modern-day Georgia. Italy, Slovenia, Australia, the United States, France, South Africa, and Austria, all have at least three winemakers that dabble in orange wine styles. With all of those options, it's a wonder that orange wine is just starting to surface on wine lists and wine bars around the country after gaining popularity in Europe.
While ogling over a new color of wine might bring out the wine enthusiast in all of us, the real question is: What does orange wine taste like? Like all wines, no two are exactly the same. However, orange wine might surprise with the intensity of its sip. Dry, and similar to fruit beer with a tart sourness, many offer notes of dried orange rind (go figure) and juniper; its taste also brings comparisons to a crisp sauvignon blanc or a pinot gris.
Making orange wine, per Refinery 29, is defined as the antithesis of making rosé. Rosé is, essentially, red grapes being treated like white grapes. This applies to forties (even red wine forties) and whatever other (smaller) style of rosé people may be drinking. We're talking a lot less skin contact for rosé than your typical red. It's chill, though, because you can chill it.
Orange wine is just the opposite of that. It involves your new favorite phrase, skin contact, but uses white grapes. The result? Orange wine is a dainty red, which is best served very lightly chilled. Simply pop in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so before company arrives for the optimal effect.
Common pairings for orange wine are lamb, duck, and poultry. We're envisioning a bottle or two of orange (gosh, that feels strange to say) and some cured meats for a fall picnic. Lastly, toss in a strong cheese like, say, gouda, and you can call it a day. Try some of our recipes for pairing!