If the last few summers are any indication, orange wine is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Some have even declared that orange wine is the new rosé.
But what is orange wine and how should you drink it? Here’s what you need to know about this ancient vino that originates from the country of Georgia, 5000 years ago, as the first form of white wine — and has made a comeback over the last 20 years
What Is Orange Wine?
Also called a skin-contact white wine, orange wine is white wine that’s made like a red wine. Generally, white wines have the grape skin taken off before soaking and fermenting take place. But in the making of orange wine, the skin of a white-wine grape, like Muscat, is left on during the fermentation process, just as in typical red-wine making.
This gives the wine an orange hue, which can range from a light tangerine to a dark amber color. The process also imparts a drier, tannic flavor that more closely resembles a red wine than it does a white. Some people even describe orange wine as having a tart or sour flavor.
In a nutshell, an orange wine is the opposite of a rosé, which is made when the skin of a red-wine grape is removed at the beginning during the fermentation process. This results in a pink-colored wine that can often be sweet or have fruity notes. Orange wine is considered to have a more complex profile than your average rosé.
How To Drink Orange Wine
If you’re looking to pair orange wine with food, a charcuterie board with smoky or salty meats and hard cheeses would be a great complement to the typically rich, nutty notes of orange wine.
Orange wine also goes well with the flavors of Indian and Ethiopian cuisine, or any meal where a lighter, more refreshing red wine would be ideal to serve. Its lighter taste but fuller body goes well with meals that include a spread of dishes all served at the same time. Orange wine also pairs well with bold, fermented foods such as those in Korean cuisine.
For more warm-weather drink ideas, check out this cocktail that has been dubbed the “official summer pool drink.”
Where To Get Orange Wine
Countries making orange wine include Italy, France, Georgia, Slovenia, Australia, South Africa and the U.S. Notable orange wines come from Josko Gravner and Radikon, but there are plenty of others you can try for under $30.
Thanks to its trending popularity over the past few years, you should be able to find orange wine at a number of U.S. retailers, although you may have to search a bit. Look especially for stores that sell natural wines. Even Aldi in the U.K. jumped on the orange wine bandwagon in the last few years, so you may see it more often in the future if you’re having trouble locating it now.
You’ll want to make sure you’re getting a true orange wine as compared to an orange-flavored wine, especially if you are purchasing them online at retailers such as wine.com, which does have a selection of them. Just remember a few states do not allow deliveries of alcoholic beverages.