In the world of wine, where red, white and rosé dominate, it is hard to imagine a wine of another color. Orange wine is trending hard nowadays and no, it is not made of orange or other citrus fruits. The term “orange wine” is referring to the wine color, and it comes in a spectrum that ranges from light coppery amber to intense orange. Orange wine is not a novelty in the wine-making world. In fact, it has been made in the country of Georgia for thousands of years.
Orange wine is made from white grapes, but the wine-making method is different. In the case of white wine, the grapes are picked and pressed immediately and the skins of the grapes are discarded. The making of orange wine begins with letting white grapes macerate on their skins. Fermenting the grapes with their skins releases tannin and creates a fuller-bodied wine with interesting flavor profile. This is also the main reason why the wine eventually takes on an orange hue.
Complex and bold, evoking scents of honey, jackfruit, hazelnut and orange rind, orange wine has been described to taste like cider or a fruity beer, and can be dry with a tannin structure close to red wine.
For food pairing, a bottle of well-balanced orange wine can be served in place of a lighter red wine, going very well with food like cured meats, hard cheeses and tapas. For a bolder orange wine, you could pair it with spicy dishes like Indian or Moroccan. Orange wine with strong tannic structure could even be served with proteins such as fish, pork and beef.
While orange wine is considerably rarer than the usual red, white and rosé, there has been a revival recently, with producers becoming more interested in this natural method of winemaking. We can definitely anticipate seeing more of this fascinating wine in time to come.