Everything You Need to Know About Orange Wine

Staff Writer
The hottest new color in wine is orange

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Joe Campanale enjoys nothing more than giving his customers a strong sensory memory, which is why he serves orange wines by the glass at each of his four New York City restaurants, dell’anima, L’Artusi, Anfora, and L’Apicio. Assuming the role of virtual sommelier, he shares with Bottlenotes 10 things you need to know about orange wines.

1. Orange wine is white wine made with extended skin maceration, the winemaking term for soaking crushed grape skins in fresh pressed juice. Normally used for red wine, the process imparts flavor, color, body, and tannin for added structure.

2. Orange wine is an historical style of winemaking with roots dating back 5,000 years in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

3. Orange wines are traditionally made in qvevri, beeswax-lined terra-cotta amphorae with a pointed base.

4. The difference between an orange wine and a rosé is that a rosé is a red wine made like a white wine (with little or no maceration), while an orange wine is a white wine made like a red wine (with extended maceration).

5. Orange wine does not have to be orange. Its color can range from pale gold to amber to tawny brown.

6. Orange wines are best when decanted and serve at cellar temperature, 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. The wines can taste slightly oxidized, like a fino sherry without the high alcohol content.

8. The current vogue for orange wine began with Josko Gravner, the iconoclastic Friulian winemaker.

9. The wines gained traction with the natural wine movement because, among other reasons, grape skins possess antioxidants and thus the wines require little or no sulfur dioxide to maintain freshness.

10.  Orange wines pair beautifully with white meat, mushrooms, and all types of cheeses.

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