What is orange wine, anyway? The not-quite-white-wine solution to overdoing rosé.
If you’re looking for a new slightly-sweet-and-always-chilled wine to bring on board your next Instagram-ready vacation, orange wine is the next big thing you’ve been praying for to look like you’ve got a leg up on the most basic wine drinkers. Literally everyone drinks rosé, but only the cool kids have any idea that orange wine even exists, has nothing to do with oranges, and is utterly delish.
So what is orange wine?
“It may seem misleading, but orange wine has nothing to do with the citrus fruit and doesn’t reflect the flavor at all,” explains Joel Anthony Caruso, U.S. Brand Ambassador for Vivino. “Orange wine references the color of the wine since the skins left on during fermentation put a little tint of orange on the finished product. Orange wine is made in a similar style to red wine, where the skins and seeds of the grape come into contact with the wine during fermentation. This adds color and that grippy, drying mouthfeel called tannin. Grape skins contain anthocyanin that leech color into wine when left on during fermentation. Since that skin is only left on for a short time, you get an orange or salmon tint instead of full blown red.”
Where is orange wine from?
If you’re thinking orange wine sounds like an exotic New Zealand or even an Argentine import, think again. This exciting answer to your rosé habit of the last several years is more typically found next to a bowl of pasta than a plate of something covered in chimuchurri. “Orange wines are found in northern Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and one of my favorite producers, Gravner is in Slovenia. Any white grape fermented on its skin will technically fall under the orange wine umbrella, and the skin that is left on during this process will in make the wine more assertive the longer the skin remains in contact with the wine.”
What is orange wine best paired with?
“While red wine tends to lean on fruit and tannin, orange wine also incorporates a bit more acid and oxidation, meaning in a addition to mouth drying tannin, you’ll also find hints of almond, marzipan, honey and citrus fruit all with the mouth cleansing feel of a proper white wine,” says Caruso, meaning you probably won’t need as many wine wipes for your teeth as you’ll need after drinking a glass of Shiraz. “Food pairing here is a bit more straightforward than you might think. While the profile of the wine combines some elements of both white and red wine you’re able to get away with a broader spectrum of food pairings. Finger foods and snacks such as fried chicken tenders, chicharrón and more serious fare such as pork tenderloin. A good rule of thumb to remember with orange wine is white meat and rich flavors. Even Lobster thermidor or a hollandaise drenched eggs benedict with dungeness crab during brunch would be marvelous.” You can check out our guide to wine pairings with diet foods, too.
You know what that means, right? Orange wine was basically designed by the heavens to be the perfect brunch wine, snack wine, and elegant happy hour wine. It pairs with just about everything, and let’s you eat chicken fingers in a sophisticated-seeming way. Were you praying for that? We were, and now we’re just hoping someone invents orange wine slushies.
Now you’re obsessed with throwing your rosé away and need an orange wine to try.
“A great way to get acquainted with this style of wine is with Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato. This wine has the hallmark color and grippiness in the mouth all the best orange wines have but it’s not so assertive that it’s jarring, as many orange wines can be. Instead you find a subtle copper hue lending hints of raspberry and lemon on fresh baked rhubarb with a cleansing rinse of honey-lemon citrus toasted almond on the finish.”
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