UNCORKED: ORANGE WINE AND WHERE TO FIND IT IN SINGAPORE
At Brown Bag Wines, we love all types of wine - in a rustic and straightforward way. We love how the right wine makes our food taste so much better. What we absolutely adore is how wine elevates dinner conversations and fills the atmosphere with laughter and sometimes some very cheeky stories!
Yes, you guessed right - we get excited just talking about wine. Therefore we feel we must bring you up to speed on orange wine!
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz surrounding orange wine, but have no clue what it’s about. Well, you’re in the right place, and we’re here to tell you all there is to know about this amber-hued beauty.
Let’s get technical - what is orange wine?
Orange wine has become somewhat trendy recently being featured on wine lists at trendy restaurants and bars. If you are wondering if orange wine is a new kid on the block, the answer is - not really! Orange wine has in fact been around for some twenty years, with the process of making orange wine going back centuries. The name was coined by the British wine importer David Harvey at Raeburn Fine Wine.
Its orange hue has many folks wondering if this beverage has anything to do with oranges. Sommelier Patrick Cournot, from Ruffian in New York mentioned in an article that, “While there are a few obscure beverages made from oranges, this is not what sommeliers are referring to.”
An unconventional winemaking technique
Cournot mentioned that orange wine gets its colour from the “unconventional” manner it is made. Also known as “skin-fermented white wine”, orange wine is simply white wine with an orange tint. This is because its skin is left intact during the winemaking process. One of the most significant differences between red and white wine is how they are made.
When red wine is “vinified” (the term for making wine from grapes), their skins are left intact. However, when white wine is made, their skins are removed, giving it that beautiful pale golden colour we love.
Another wine that’s made unconventionally is rosé. The winemaking process is inversed from that of orange wine. While the grapes used for rosé is red, the method of winemaking is that of white wine.
Where is orange wine made?
Although orange wine is still not mainstream, many countries produce it. The biggest producer of orange wine is Italy, specifically along the Slovenian border in northeastern Italy. Besides Italy, orange wine is produced in Georgia, Slovenia, USA, Australia, France, South Africa and Austria.
The big question - what does it taste like?
“Often they’re so intense that you might want to make sure you’re sitting down when you taste your first orange wine,” says sommelier Madeline Puckette. She lists jackfruit, linseed oil, bruised apple, honey and juniper as part of orange wine’s flavour profile.
We feel orange wine is one of those flavours that make you stop, think and pensively proclaim to be, “interesting...”. Before taking a few more sips to confirm and put the finger on the lingering robust and bold flavour.
Others who have been able to pin down the underlying flavours say that the taste of stone fruits such as peaches comes through with prominent bursts of tea - think a strong oolong tea.
What is really interesting is that orange wine transforms when paired with food as the skin of the grapes carries a lot of aromatics and a myriad of flavours.
Best enjoyed chilled and most importantly - with food!
To best enjoy orange wine, serve it slightly chilled to 12 degrees. Our tip is to keep it in the fridge (away from the fridge doors) if you don’t have a wine fridge. If it is in the wine fridge, store it on the lower level of your white wine racks.
Wine experts Nicole Campbell and Krista Oben point out that orange wine pairs well with a wide range of food. “It has the acidity of white wine with the body and structure of red wine,” they add.
Given this range of flavour, orange wine can be paired with red meats to foods with a robust hit of herbs and spices. We especially feel orange wine perfectly compliments Asian food!
The best orange wine to start with
As you know, we only market natural and/or organic wines. If your interest is piqued on orange wine and you would like to taste some, here are our top recommendations.