Since we talked about blue wine last week, I thought it would be fun to talk about orange wine this week. Have you ever tried it? I haven’t it, but I would love to.
Key Differences Between Blue and Orange Wine
- Dye vs. Natural – Blue wine uses dye to achieve the beautiful blue color. Orange wine uses a very natural process to achieve the orange color. According to Wine Folly, “To make an orange wine you take white grapes, mash them up and put them in a vessel (often in large cement or ceramic vessels). Then, they are typically left alone from 4 days to sometimes over a year with the skins and seeds still attached. Orange winemaking is typically a very natural making process that uses little to no additives sometimes, not even yeast.”
- Getting popular vs. in its infancy – Unlike blue wine, which is brand new, orange wine is starting to show up in all kinds of restaurants. According to the Huffington Post, Brooklyn’s Four Horsemen “serves about 30 orange wines in response to demand. Justin Chearno, the restaurant’s wine consultant, explained that ‘it is amazing when you come in, to see how many people have chosen [orange] wine to drink … I would say that we’re [selling] about one-to-one, rosé to orange wine. I’m just completely shocked.’”
Bloomberg tells us that these tannic white wines originate in Georgia in Eastern Europe and “have been trending for four or five years as vinous exotica, touted as the fourth wine color. Typical whites are pale in color because the clear pressed juice is immediately separated from the grape skins; for orange wines, the juice is kept in contact with the skins for a week to a year, picking up tannin, weight, color, and extra aromas and flavors.”
Wide Range of Wines
- Colors – Colors range from golden to bright amber to peach to rust to even brownish.
- Tastes – Tastes range from fresh-cut apricots to spice to herbs to tangy, smoky, nutty, and savory. Wine Folly Orange says that the “wines have been described as robust and bold with honeyed aromas of jackfruit (a fleshy tropical fruit), hazelnut, brazil nut, bruised apple, wood varnish, linseed oil, juniper, sourdough and dried orange rind. On the palate, they’re big, dry, and even have tannin like a red wine with a sourness in their taste similar to fruit beer. Often they’re so intense that you might want to make sure you’re sitting down when you taste your first orange wine.”
- Aromas and texture – Aromas tend to be much more intense than white wine. According to Bloomberg, it’s “the texture and structure of reds without the heaviness.”
Wine Folly says that “because of their boldness, orange wines pair excellently with bolder foods including curry dishes, Moroccan cuisine, Ethiopian cuisine (like those spongelike pancakes called Injera), Korean dishes with fermented kimchi such as bibim bap, and traditional Japanese cuisine including fermented soybeans (Natto). Due to high phenolic content (tannin and bitterness) along with the nutty tartness, orange wines pair with a wide variety of meats from beef to fish.”
If you’ve tried orange wine, I would love to hear about your experience.