We discovered orange wine for the first time in our beloved Menorca (our summer destination of choice since I was about five) and since then we have always kept our eyes peeled for new ones to try.
Although the popularity of the so called 'Orange Wine' is relatively new, it has always existed and in fact it is the original way of making wine.
So what is it?
Orange wine is a white wine made with the same method of making red wine. Grape skins, seeds and stalks are left in contact with the grape juice thus imparting this deep orange colour to the finished wine.
Harvest white grapes
Mash them up
Put them in a large vessel (ceramic, cement or oak barrels)
leave the grape juice to ferment in contact with the seeds, stalk and skins for anything from four days, to over a year.
It is a natural process and commonly uses little to no additives. This unique process results in a wine that is entirely different from your traditional white wines, even if the grapes used are the same. Orange wines tend to have a savoury quality and a nuttiness that sets them apart.
One of the most noticeable differences is that these wines have tannins. Tannins are normally only associated with red wines and exist in the skins, seeds and stalks of the grapes. Tannins give wine its structure and contribute to its texture. What you will typically find is that orange wine has a lot more grip than its white wine cousins because of this it is an excellent choice to go with many different foods.
Here are two lovely examples of Orange Wine for you to try…
Tbilvino Qvevris Rkatsiteli 2020
This wine is a great example of Georgia’s most traditional style of wine. Rkatsiteli grapes from vineyards in Kakheti, are crushed and the juice, skin and seeds are put into clay barrels which are then sealed and buried underground, where fermentation takes place. The barrel is known as a ‘qvevris’ and is a conical shape which allows yeast and sediment to settle to the bottom and the wine to circulate around the vessel. As the wine is berried underground the wine is able to stay at a much more consistent temperature and is typically left for five months.
This wine has rich apricot flavours, lively acidity, nuttiness and a delicate grip from the tannins.
Available for £13.75 from Hic Independent Wine and Spirit Shop
Daphne 2019, Cosimo Maria Masini, Italy
‘Cosimo Maria Masini lies in the hill of San Minato, located in the province of Pisa and in the heart of Tuscany. An ancient medieval village found along the historical Via Francigena, San Miniato is famous for wine and world-renowned white truffle. In this area, viticulture has ancient origins with a history of more than 2 thousand years. Villa la Selva, the heart of the estate, is an ancient residence that belonged to the Buonaparte Family. It was later purchased by Marchese Cosimo Ridolfi, a famous agronomist of the time, who, during the mid 1800’s constructed the winery (which is still used today) and began to work the vineyards with innovative techniques of the time.’ - Cosimo Maria Masini, Italy
This wine is a beautiful orange-gold in colour and is delicate yet complex with refined tea like tannins.
It is available for £23.00 from fantastic independent wine shop Vindinista in Acton. It is also available to purchase via their website.
If you have a favourite of your own please get in touch and let us know...
Happy tasting x