Orange Wine: What It Is And How It Differs From Rosé

16/04/2016 1:00 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Yeah, we know. You just put the pinot gris down in favour of rosé, but the fickle wine experts are always onto the next hot 'drop' faster than we can learn to correctly pronounce 'shiraz'.

This time it's not a resurgence of an old favourite like we saw with chardonnay a few years back. The drop in the spotlight right now is orange wine.

"It is a hark back to antiquity, synergistic with current trends citing minimal intervention -- organic or biodynamic viticulture, accented with a 'less is more' approach in the winery," Master of Wine Ned Goodwin told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Think about it. Before comprehension of the ebbs and flows of fermentation and the means to control it (such as temperature control, yeast selection and inert vessels), one simply threw grapes into a vessel and waited for it to turn to wine. This meant that even white grapes incorporated skin and stalk, eschewed by modern, conventional winemaking."

So, by going back to basics in a way we're encountering a type of wine we haven't seen since modern processes became the norm.

"Thus, orange wine is wine made from white (or lightly coloured) grapes with extended maceration of juice and skin. The skin contains not only colour, but also tannins and other phenolics -- as well as sought after aromatic and flavour compounds," Goodwin said.

"In essence, the longer the maceration the more of these constituents are leeched out into the resultant wine."

Interestingly, there has been need for clarification over the use of the word 'orange' on labeling, as it may be confused for the place (in NSW) and not the colour.

Steve Guy, General Manager, Regulatory Services for the Wine Australia Corporation explained in a statement that the suggestion that 'Orange' should be used for the geographical indication and 'orange' to describe the style may appear to be an good solution, but it does not comply with the Act and consumers are unlikely to understand the difference. Thus, you might not see the actual term orange on labels or bottles, even if the wine is classed as such.

In terms of if orange wine is best grouped in with whites or reds, Goodwin believes it's closer to the later.

"Orange wine is closer to a red, although this depends widely on the level of extraction (which is the period of time on skins and how much chewy tannin and other phenolic compound have been leeched out). Italian extraction levels tend to be culturally and thus, inherently, more aggressive. This results in bolder, chewier expressions with elevated aromatics," Goodwin said.

orange wine

It's not pink. It's orange.

Want to grab a bottle to try with dinner tonight? Goodwin suggests the following culinary accoutrements.

"It depends on just how orange wine is, but a slew of cheeses, veal done with apricots and other sautéed or poached fruits, quail and stronger flavoured fowl, bouillabaisse and similar fish stews or soups, and best of all, chinese roast meats all pair well with orange wine."

Drops to check out incude David Lowe Reserve Orange Riesling, BK Wines Skin And Bones and Lucy Margaux Vineyards.



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