“Orange wine” An old era of wine making is reborn in 21st Century, (Ancient treasure is rediscovered) Claims its standout from other 3 major categories of still wine White, Red, Rose.
Orange wine/Amber wine, gained its international attention in recent years for its acidity, richness like red wine and freshness like white wine, through long skin contact during fermentation, and contains almost none or little additives.
Until, I start to search information for this blog, I was one of those who thinks orange wine is something made from Orange flesh, unlike kiwi wine, which is made from Kiwi fruit, (Not New Zealand wines, which also referred as Kiwi wines).
Orange wines, the name comes from the color of the wine, which is achieved from the oxidation happening during fermentation, Orange wine is totally made from white grape varieties. Orange wines may refer to a style of wine that has spent time in contact with the grape skins, giving the wine an amber or orange color,
The term “Orange wine” is in practice from very recent time, but the production and use of this wines dates backs to 5000 years BC, where wines were fermented in large subterranean vessels called “Qvevri (“Kev-ree”)” that were originally closed with stones and sealed with beeswax.
In modern days, Orange wine production is well spread over the Major wine producing regions of Old world and new world countries. Italy, Slovenia, Georgia, USA, Australia, France, South Africa and Austria are front liners for Orange wine productions. Orange wine can be produced from all the major white grape varieties, such as Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling etc…
The production starts same way as white wine, White Grapes are harvested and crushed, then added in large concrete or ceramic vessels, then the fermentation takes places, with the natural sugar and yeast which present in Grapes. Orange wine production keeps away all the additives including cultured yeast, Often the fermentation last over six months to one year. During this fermentation period, wine gets more richness from the skin and flesh, yet keeps the freshness and loose color through oxidation. The final product looks amber or orange in color.
Often Orange wines are compared with Rosé wine, in which red grapes are used for production and minimum skin contact to achieve paler color yet richness of red wine and tannin (tannin level different from region to region). In Orange wines White grapes are used for production and color achieved from long Fermentation oxidation, yet richness is achieved from long skin contact, and freshness and acidity from the grape variety.
Orange wines taste of more tertiary characters and oxidation notes such as Nutty, and bready yeasty and honey flavors, yet it preserves the fruitiness of tropical fruits, orange rinds. They are rich and have intense flavors on palate, with refreshing acidity. The display of tannin is stunning.
High intensity of Orange wines enables them to be paired with many rich cuisines of World, Especially those Asian cuisines which are rich and highly textured, such as Asian curries and spiced foods pairs well, Orange wines are available in Still and sparkling style.
Orange wines are quenching the thirst of those looking for natural wine and those who love to rediscover old wine making styles. It will take long time for Orange wine to reach out to the corners of the world, as the production is in small batches only. With the growing interest on Orange wine among wine lovers, Sommeliers, and consumers, I do expect the interesting status “Fourth Wine” category to this rediscovered old wine.
Cheers to Orange wine and keep capturing the Wine world