Aug 13, 2019
We tackle a wine style that is adored in certain hip, wine
"in-crowd" circles: "orange" wine, which is actually white wine
made like a red -- there is long contact with the skins and seeds
that give the wine a darker, orange-ish color, and VERY different
M.C. Ice and I are not big fans, but we do our best to explain
the phenomenon of these whites made with skin contact.
Here are the show notes:
- You know it's time to cover a topic when, in Europe, the
supermarket chain Aldi sells a bottle of skin-contact wine for less
than $8 US!
- WHAT THE HECK IS ORANGE WINE??
- First and most importantly, it's not from oranges but from
- Made exactly like a red but with longer maceration (the time
during winemakig when the grape skins and seeds stay in contact
with the juice)
- Reds with skin contact are red wines, reds with little contact
are rosés; whites with skin contact are “orange”, without contact
they are whites
- Rosés usually undergo less than 12 hours macerating on their
skins before the juice is pressed off
- Orange wine is the opposite of Rosé
- Can make skin-contact wine from any grape – length of time with
the skins will matter to flavor and the longer the time the more
likely the wine is to mask terroir
- Length of time varies, but maceration is LONG – days, weeks,
- Not all are orange so it’s better to call them
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MACERATING WHITE JUICE WITH SKINS?
- The wine takes on a darker colored/orange-ish white color, as
well as phenols, pigment.
- Aromas: Bolder and more intense same grapes vinified as
traditional white – like rose v red
Flavors: Nutty, oxidized flavor, very sour with a cider
note. Can be bold, nutty, like old apples, sourdough bread
Textures: Dry, tannic, intense (not very pleasurable
- Lightest ones, are acidic, aromatic wines, with fresh apricot,
- Medium ones – slight oxidation, some acetone notes, old
- Then full-bodied, boldly tannic, and often smoky, nutty, lots
of VA, off notes
- The Republic of Georgia: Qvervi—underground
vessels sealed with beeswax or oil soaked clothes. The practice of
skin contact whites likely originated here 6,000 or more years ago
(the practice still goes on today, although the Greeks and Romans
quickly realized the best wines were those from free-run
juice/whites not macerated, which is our "traditional" style
today). Rkatsiteli is the main grape
- Listen to the Georgia
- Italy: Most prominent in Friuli-Venezia
called ramato “copper-colored” wines from
Pinot Grigio but Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano are often
- Fruili producers who re-started the orange wine
movement: Radikon, Gravner
- Sicilian producers: Cos, I
- United States
- Long Island: Channing Daughters, Shinn
- California: Some Sonoma
- Others: Australia – Sauvignon Blanc,
Greece, South Africa, Croatia, France
Food Pairing: Skin Contact wine is
versatile with food pairing but it depends on the weight and the
treatment of the wine (length of maceration, barrel v. stainless
- Serving temps – 50 – 55˚ warmer side
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