Sometimes, people talk about seeing the world in black and white. All too often, wine lovers tend to think of the world in terms of red and white. Occasionally, we let a little pink peek through. But pink has an obscure cousin that we think you should know about: orange wine.
Like most rosés, orange wines gain their distinctive character from contact with skins during maceration. While rosés owe their pink hues to contact with red grape skins, orange wines gain color and flavor from extended maceration with white grape skins, lending them a surreal amber orange tint.
The practice of making orange wines may have originated in Georgia, a country with a rich and ancient history of winemaking. These days, the idea has been embraced by a small group of enthusiasts in Italy, especially in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. One of the best known of these orange wines is Vodopivec Vitovska ($70-85), based on the little-known vitovska grape. The wine was lauded by New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov for its complexity and depth. For a starter bottle, you may want to look for Plonzer Malpelo ($25-35), an orange wine based on pinot grigio. While your local wine shop may not have a wide selection of these wines on hand (or any), keep orange wine in mind next time you're looking for a wine adventured guaranteed to move beyond the boundaries of red, white, and rosé.