If, like me, you’ve been on Instagram a lot lately, you’ll have noticed that slowly but surely, a new wine is taking over from rosé. Spotted in a chilled wine glass on the accounts of Lindsey Holland and Brittany Bathgate, it has a lovely orangey hue, giving it the name of orange wine. So what is it exactly? Despite its name, it is not made from oranges.
I reached out to the experts at Buon Vino – importer, retailer, wholesaler of naturally produced wines – to get the lowdown.
What is orange wine made of?
Orange and skin contact white wines have experienced a renaissance in the last few years. With the advent of Natural Wine, this ancient method of producing wine from white grapes has once again become popular with artisan producers and consumers alike.
Orange wine is made with white grapes but with maceration or ‘skin contact’ like a red. White grapes also contain an element of colour in the skins which varies according to variety. The colour imparts an orangey or pinky hue to the white wine during the maceration. The depth of colour generally depends on the length of skin maceration, a few days giving a lighter orange, several weeks a deeper darker hue.
What does orange wine taste like?
The skin contact also imparts different flavours and aromas, like spices, dried fruit, savoury elements, ginger, vegetables and more. Lastly orange wines have tannin from the skins like a red which gives them texture and structure in the mouth and helps them age well.
It is not a particularly dry wine nor is it a sweet wine, and the taste varies depending on the grape and the level of maceration, but some taste notes include honey and sone fruit.
Great wine is about emotion, when you drink it, you feel something unique and special and you want to know more; more about the wine, the life of the producer, the place that it comes from. That is what we are looking for with natural wines.
Orange wine food pairings
They go with almost anything. Superb with cheese, amazing with white meat, they work with chilli and other spices, Asian cuisine and often desserts too.
How to drink orange wine
It’s not recommended for orange wine to be too chilled, the experts recommend a halfway house between a cold rosé and a room temperature red, so aim for around 12 degrees celsius. With natural wines such as the ones you can buy at Buon Vino, it’s often advised to drink them young to retain the freshness.
Where to buy orange wine
Although some orange wines are available at the supermarket (Asda and M&S have some), it’s more widely available online. As to which ones to buy, Buon Vino recommend: An entry point into orange wine would be the Baglio Catarrato (£14.95), L’Orange from Courbissac (£26) or Slatnik from Radikon (£36), these are wines made with shorter skin contact, up to about 10 days to two weeks. A favourite with us is the Domaine de Bellevue Maceration (£30, pictured above).
That’s our summer drinking sorted. Cheers.