It’s not white wine, it’s not rosé, and it’s certainly not made from oranges (although that was an excellent attempt). This seemingly new type of wine is popping up on your feed and finding its way into your conversations, but what is it? The short answer is that orange wine is made from white wine grapes where the skin is left on for a longer period of time–typically from two to three days to six months, as opposed to being removed. This is also known as skin-contact wine. The contact gives orange wine its flavor and, you guessed it, its distinct amber color.
While orange wine seems to be the newest trend, this type of winemaking has been around for quite some time. The origins of orange wine date back 5,000 years ago in the Caucasus region of modern-day Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. However, the age-old process of skin-contact winemaking took a back seat when the technological advances of the 20th century brought forth modern winemaking. But perhaps the only thing millennials love more than nostalgia is reintroducing traditional processes to the mainstream as novel and trendy.
While orange wine is typically associated with natural wine, not all orange wines are natural. That’s where Primal Wine comes in.
Primal Wine’s selection of natural wines are made in small batches from hand-harvested organic or biodynamic grapes with minimal intervention in the cellar.
Following the industrialization and homogenization of wine in the past three decades, natural winemakers have inspired a movement that rejects industrial winemaking techniques and the excessive use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers in the vineyard.
Depending on your choice, you can expect anything from a light, jackfruit walk in a garden to a robust, nutty, funky experience. A good rule of thumb here is that the longer the fermentation with the skins, the deeper the flavors. As such, orange wines are versatile when it comes to food pairings, since their flavor falls somewhere between white and red wine. They can offer a bitterness that will cut through all of your favorite desserts but also have enough body to stand up to more flavorful dishes.
The bolder orange wines work particularly well with dishes where you might typically serve a red wine—think hearty root veggies like squash and pumpkin with roasted meats. The lighter orange wines pair nicely with charcuterie or even a slice of pumpkin pie. Basically, the versatile wine is a must-bring for all of your Thanksgiving activities this year. Plus, now you happen to know a thing or two about orange wine.
Pro-tip: Skin-contact white wines should be served cool, not cold, to display their range of flavors.
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Danielle Feria is law student at Loyola Law School and a proud graduate of Loyola Marymount University. When she’s not wearing her law student hat, you can find her at yoga, pilates, or tinkering around her kitchen making plant-based treats. She loves poetry, podcasts, and strongly prefers tiktok over all other social media platforms… Follow @danielle.fairy for a good time.