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Orange is the new white

Hang on a minute, orange wine? Is that what Dale Winton drinks or the stuff they serve on EasyJet?

No and no! Orange wine is not new, centuries old in fact, but it has been growing in popularity over the past few years or so. Even the most distinguished and conservative lists like that of The Ritz have been updated with orange wines, so I read recently.

 

It’s made a bit like white wine but fermented like a red wine. Confused? While the grape juice and skins are separated immediately when making white wine, the skins are left in for an orange wine. This is a process called ‘skin contact’ which produces a coloured and more astringent flavour due to the development of tannins. In fact, the grape skins may be left in the wine for up to a year, making for deep colouration and often a nutty flavour.

Orange wine – or amber wine as it is sometimes called – is originally from Georgia, where it is still commonly produced, but you may also find it in Slovenia, Croatia, the east coast of Italy and latterly from Spain, Chile and South Africa.

 

So why drink it? Well, apart from being totally delicious dwarling it is super trendy and has been heralded as the new rosé in some circles and in the papers.

 

Manu, the General Manager at OAK N4, is passionate about amber wine, and has chosen two orange numbers for you to try. Catarratto is from the Old World, dry and unfiltered with apple on the nose that you will immediately associate with cider. The other, from Chile, is fruitier with hints of pink grapefruit in the mouth.

Tasting notes:

Baglio Bianco, Catarratto, a friendly Sicilian from the slopes around Marsala in the west of the island. This is an attractive and rich wine, playful and mineral on the palate. All the tannic structure and body that distinguish orange wines from whites but in a thoroughly approachable and downright easy-drinking form.

Or try De Martino, Viejas Tinajas Muscat, Itata Valley, Chile.h This has a remarkable ochre hue with vibrant grapey aromas, floral notes and hints of honey and a touch of earthiness on the finish. Its nice tannin structure makes for a terrific aperitif or as an accompaniment for cheese.

 

Try them and let us know which you prefer. We’ll be adding more examples soon to the list.

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