If you’ve never tasted or even heard of orange wine, you’re in for a real treat. With its rich amber hue and exceptionally medium-bodied notes, orange wine is both delicious and beautifully photogenic.
You might have a few questions about this unusual wine. What gives it its extraordinary color? Is orange wine sweet or dry? What types of foods does it pair best with? In this comprehensive guide to orange wine, we’ll answer these questions and more regarding this unique beverage.
What Is Orange Wine?
When you hear the phrase “orange wine,” a wine made from oranges or a mimosa cocktail might come to mind. However, orange wine is actually a type of white wine that uses a more unconventional fermentation method to alter the color.
While the standard for white wines is to remove the skins after pressing the grapes, orange wine is created by leaving the grape seeds and skins in contact with the juice — similar to the red winemaking process. The final product can range from a light to deep orange hue, depending on how long the juice ferments with the skins and seeds.
Though its name and tangerine hue may suggest otherwise, orange wine doesn’t come from the fruit, nor is it artificially colored. The beauty of this beverage is that it’s 100% natural.
How Is Orange Wine Made?
To create an orange wine, the winemaker starts by gathering white grapes, mashing them up without removing the skins and seeds beforehand, then placing them in a large ceramic or cement vessel. The grapes are then left to ferment, developing a unique flavor and color. They can be left to sit anywhere from a week to a year.
Making orange wine is a natural process that places great emphasis on the surrounding environment. It involves little to no chemical or artificial additives. Therefore, some orange wines can have a distinctive nuttiness and sour flavor from oxidation — a complex profile that comes with many natural wines.
Where Does Orange Wine Come From?
The orange winemaking process dates back 8,000 years to the present-day country of Georgia. During this era, wines were fermented inside large clay vessels called “qvevri,” which were sealed with beeswax or clay and buried underground to keep cool.
While the process of making orange wine stems from ancient techniques, it largely resurfaced in the early 2000s when Italian winemakers — like Josko Gravner from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy — visited Georgia and decided to bring this traditional winemaking practice back to his home. Though orange wines are relatively rare, many countries show a growing interest in its natural winemaking style, including:
- The United States
- South Africa
What Does Orange Wine Taste Like?
Most orange wines carry a similar bitterness and tannic structure to red wines. Resembling a strongly brewed iced tea or fruit beer, they display bold and robust notes of peach, jackfruit, hazelnut, apple and juniper. Orange wines have a dry, sour and intense effect on the palate, so you might want to sit down and prepare yourself for that first sip.
Most orange wines are fermented to be dry, so it’s less common to find a sweet orange wine on the market. However, you might come across some off-dry, or slightly sweet, orange wines.
Is Orange Wine Healthy?
Since orange wine is made similarly to red wine, the two of them share multiple plant compounds and characteristics, which contribute to several potential health benefits.
Both red and orange wines have compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, resveratrol and catechins. These contain antioxidant properties and are linked to potential health benefits like reduced risks of heart disease, inflammation and certain cancers.
That being said, consuming orange wine — or any type of wine, for that matter — shouldn’t be a fundamental method to improve health. Remember to consume it in moderation, limiting your wine intake to one or two glasses a day to prevent excessive sugar, alcohol and calorie intake.
What Does Orange Wine Go With?
When it comes to orange wine and food pairings, the key is to match the bold, robust flavors of your orange wine to an equally bold cuisine. With this in mind, orange wine tends to pair wonderfully with the following dishes:
- Spicy dishes: Orange wine has a rich tang that accompanies spicy dishes like chili and Indian curry blends, particularly those rich in turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Meat: Orange wine’s full, robust nature allows you to pair it with heavier meat dishes — like beef, lamb and pork — that would normally overpower a white wine.
- Vegetables: Orange wine is a fantastic complement to vegetal flavors. It goes especially well with roasted or grilled bitter veggies like artichokes, asparagus, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage.
- Aged hard cheeses: With its tannic structures and full-bodied flavors, orange wine is incredible with salty, aged hard cheeses that would typically clash with white wines. Think pecorino Romano, gouda, feta and kashkaval.
Best Orange Wines
Just like red, white and rosé wines, there are multiple varieties to consider when choosing an orange wine. If you need ideas, below are some of the best orange wines to try:
- Orange Pinot Grigio: This popular pick is worth a try if you’re looking to experience the unique flavor of orange wine. Orange Pinot Grigio boasts notes of citrus, stone fruit and honeysuckle.
- Orange Sauvignon Blanc: With its floral aromas of saffron, apricot and orange peel, orange Sauvignon Blanc is another type to look out for. Like with most orange wines, many tasters find that this variety is best when dry.
- Orange Riesling: This wine is known for its complex sour flavors, which often come with the oxidation of natural wines. Orange Riesling is a rather acquired taste. Some enjoy its tart, beer-like flavor profile, while others find it a little off-putting. Give it a try to make the judgment for yourself!
- Orange Muscat: Orange Muscat wine gives off powerful aromas of apricot, orange blossom, spicy fruit and pear.
Shop Orange Wines From Marketview Liquor Today
After learning all about this wine’s fascinating taste profile, color and winemaking process, you might be wondering where to buy orange wine to experience these flavors for yourself. If you’re looking for the best orange wine brands, look no further than the selection at Marketview Liquor.
Whether you need something bold enough to withstand flavorful food pairings or want to explore beyond typical reds and whites, we have an orange wine with your name on it. Boasting exotic notes of honey, pear, tropical fruits and other unique aromas, orange wine offers a tasting experience like no other. Browse our orange wine selection and order yours today!