Paul and I were driving back from Florida yesterday after spending a few cold and rainy days with friends. While Paul was at the wheel, I read an article about “orange wines” which I at first thought meant wines made from oranges. Oh, how wrong I was.
Turns out that orange wines, named for their color, are the darlings of hip sommeliers and wine intellectuals. So trendy…so cutting edge. I like to pretend that I’m in the forefront of current fashion and figured I’d better do some more investigating when I got home. Today, I called around to half a dozen retailers and discovered that none of them knew about orange wines (all of them thinking, as I had, that they were made from the fruit). This got me excited because it means that, maybe for once, I really am ahead of the curve.
The article I read in the car said only that the wines were “kept at length on the grape skins as they are made.” So how are these different than rosés, I wondered. Rosé wines are made by leaving the crushed skins of red grapes in contact with the juice for a short period of time (hours or days) which imparts a pink color. And here’s what I found out about orange wines: They’re made by leaving the skins of white grapes in contact with the juice for a prolonged period of time (days, weeks or months) which imparts an orange color.
How do orange wines taste? I don’t know. Yet. A couple of the retailers are trying to find some for me to try. But just the fact that the juice is in contact with the skins for so long, you can expect these to have tannins that you wouldn’t ordinarily find in a white wine. I’ll report back.
One thing I did find out: this technique of fermenting white wines with their skins goes back thousands of years. But the process was pretty much abandoned when the “correct” way to produce white wines came into vogue. And now, it’s back.
It’s a lot like clothing. If you lived through the 60s or 70s (or have pictures of your parents during that era) you know that fashion repeats itself. Look around: wrap dresses, peasant tops, platform shoes. What was old is new again. That goes for wine too.
By Saucy Sis 1