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Red, White, Pink and now…Orange? What is an Orange Wine & Why is It so Trendy?

The Juice

If you go into any trendy wine bar, restaurant, and in many wine shops, you may find a selection of burnt-rust colored wines. These are orange wines, and they’re becoming quite popular.

What makes a wine orange? If we revert back to our knowledge on how wines get their color, you know that is has to be from the skin. But where are the orange grapes?

Orange wine generally comes from skin contact of white grapes. They’re known varietally as white grapes, but because of their slightly copper hue, they can create orange wines. Some of the most popular varieties of orange wine are Pinot Gris or Grigio, Muscat, and Torontes. But there are many others out there too.

Pinot Grigio (https://www.wine-information-online.com/pinot-grigio-wines.html)

Muscat

(https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/wine-educational-questions/grapes-for-wine-making-flavor-characteristics-explained/muscat-wine-grapes-flavor-character-history-wine-food-pairings/)

Torontes (http://www.wineguy.nz/index.php/glossary-articles-hidden/879-torrontes)

When these grapes are picked, they are hauled into the winery to be destemmed, crushed and to allow the juice to soak up all of the color and flavor from the skins. This period of soaking, called maceration, creates a beautiful orange rust color on the wines.

Most orange wines you’ll find today are made as “natural wines.” By this we mean many are not fined or filtered, and often will use native yeasts for fermentation as well as little to no sulfur dioxide.

Flavor of Orange Wines

Generally, the orange wines tend to be much more coarse. They can be bright and acidic, and usually have notes of orchard fruits, citrus and minerals. So yes, an orange wine can taste orangey

One of the most prominent aspects of the taste of this wine are the tannins. Even though this is a white wine, due to the extended maceration period, the wine extracts tannins from the skins. This makes orange wines great for pairing up with more unique food items that may be too hefty for a standard white wine.

Wine Pairings with Orange Wines 

When you wish to pair orange wines with foods, you will need to think about pairing foods that have creamy textures, high acid, and are packed with unique citrus and savory flavors. The creamy texture will pair nicely with the high acid and the tannic structure of the wine. The citrus flavors in the orange wine will help guide your palate and enhance savory flavors in the food and in the wine.

Some foods we recommend pairing with orange wines:

  • Goat cheese
  • Manchego cheese
  • Prosciutto
  • Lamb
  • Mediterranean dips like humus, baba ganoush and tahini

Here are some great orange wines for you to try:

Maturana Wines Naranjo Torontel 2020

Costador – ‘La Metamorphika’ Macabeu Brisat Orange 2018 (750ml)

2020 ‘Preconceived Notions’ Skin Contact Muscat


Written By Amanda Greebaum

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