The wine industry is a study in contrasts: it prides itself on history and tradition but yet is quick to embrace new trends. Case in point? Orange wines.
In the past few years, these sunset-hued sippers have captured the attention of sommeliers and wine buyers and are being showcased on wine lists as the new new. It's not uncommon to find a fourth category on the wine menu: sparkling, white, red, and orange.
Like rose, these wines are created by allowing the juice to stay in contact with the grape skins for an extended amount of time during fermentation instead of draining off immediately, which is the normal process for creating white wine. The difference between these wines and rose? The grapes. Rose wine is made from red grapes, orange wine is made from white ones.
These wines often have a bit of earthy funkiness and spice on the nose but also can showcase quite a bit of cherry.
I tried this Le Ghiare, Lo Zerbone, Cortese, Piedmont, 2010, at Maiden Lane in NYC (www.themaidenlane.com) and found it to be a great intro into the world of orange wines. The nose definitely has a bit of the earth, wool and curry spice on it, but a cherry juice essence comes through, along with pear and lemon. On the palate, it's crisp, acidic, and medium bodied. The orchard fruits sing loudly but are balanced with a citrus zest. It's a great match for seafood if you're wondering what in the heck to pair this with.
Keep tasting, friends...