From Paris to Tokyo, orange wine has recently become more and more popular. Thanks to its light bubble, striking color and fresh taste, orange wine has stolen many hearts.
After the first sip, you discover: this is a special wine, actually incomparable. It tastes layered and fresh at the same time, with an amber-like depth that cannot be traced in white wine.
CN Traveler crowned the Orange Puglia wine “The Quarantine Wine of 2020”. As many are now in a lockdown/quarantine period, it’s time to dive deeper into the world of orange wine.
Orange wine: what exactly is it?
Orange wine is an organic wine, produced in a traditional way. That means: carefully picked by hand, without a filter process, with minimal addition of sulfites and fermented with natural yeast. Orange wine is made from white grapes, but is produced in the same way as red wine is made. The production process of orange wine is thousands of years old and originates from Georgia. The Georgian wine making process is even listed as UNESCO heritage.
What’s the difference between white and orange wine?
Orange wine is made from white grapes, but with the same production process as red wine. That means that you let the skins of the white grapes ferment, contrary to white wine. In the case of white wine making the white grapes are first destalked, pressed and filtered before they are fermented. The fermentation with the skins ensures the production of tannins, which makes the wines last longer. That is why almost no white wine was made in the past. Nowadays, sulfites are added to white wine, so that it can be kept longer. Orange wine does not contain sulfite additives.
The wine makers destalk the white grapes for orange wine, place them in large barrels and wait for fermentation to begin. The barrels for the pulp fermentation allow a little oxygen, so the pulp can oxidize. After the fermentation process has lasted about 25 days, everything goes into the press. Next the ripening is started. In Georgia, orange wine is buried in terracotta barrels, but most wine makers ripen the orange wine in special ceramic eggs made in Italy.
How does orange wine taste?
Orange wine is usually quite accessible. Very fruity and aromatic. It tastes blossomy, with hints of roses and apricots. The small bitterness of the tannins gives it a nice complex and lively structure.
Orange wine used to be for the real wine pioneers, but has recently become more and more popular. Especially in Tokyo, Paris, London and New York it is drunk a lot. All orange winegrowers produce on a small scale, it is much more traditional. That’s why there are so many different kinds of orange wine.
Which dishes go best with orange wine?
Pair orange wines with dishes that also have sour and firm components, such as from Moroccan or Indonesian cuisine. Spicy fish and vegetables also work great with this wine.
It’s the kind of bottle you order in a restaurant to drink next to tapas or oysters, but that pairing is also delicious at home. Although I leave a lot of things with love in 2020, I hope that “The Quarantine Wine of 2020” will also find a place on many menus in 2021.