Summer is the season of rose wine. It’s pink, it’s light, and it goes well with afternoons spent on the patio. But even as the fall arrives, we aren’t quite ready to turn to deeper red wines just yet. There are a few good patio days left, and we are going to hang on for dear life! So what do we drink in the meantime? Enter, orange wine.
To learn more about this previously unknown wine (how did we miss one?!), we turned to John Aranza, wine director at the local Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits in Berwyn, IL. He believes orange wines will continue to gain popularity on wine menus and as diners become more savvy, so let’s get ahead of the curve.
To introduce you to the flavor, orange wine is a brighter alternative to a sherry. They’re refreshing like a white, but produced like a red, orange wines are perfect chilled as a cool, refreshing beverage, but complex enough to enjoy with dishes like a briny prawn or spicy lamb meatball.
After that, we had to turn to John for more…
GIVE US THE RUNDOWN ON ORANGE WINE!
Orange wines are white wines that are left for extended amounts of time on the grape skins or lees. This gives the wines tannins and results in a savory, slightly sherry-esque experience on the palate.
WHAT SETS IT APART FROM WINES LIKE A ROSE?
Where roses are more dilate expressions of red wine denied skin contact, orange wines are the opposite where white wine uses skin contact to express a fuller, more exotic expression.
SHOULD WE LET IT BREATH JUST LIKE A RED?
Absolutely. The interaction with air allows the wine to evolve in the glass and show more complexity throughout dining.
WHERE DO ORANGE WINES TEND TO ORIGINATE FROM?
We are seeing natural expressions coming from the US now, but most are from lands bordering the northern Adriatic Sea. Italy, Slovenia, Istria, Croatia…. all have so much influence from former occupations that result in old world wine making techniques (such as orange, natural, amphorae etc…)
WHAT FOODS PAIR WELL WITH THIS WINE?
Dishes such as whole roasted fish with charred citrus elements. Pork, and dishes accentuated by North African inspired spices – these all allow the salinity and slightly oxidative notes to show through and compliment without having to go to a red wine experience for tannins.
Not convinced yet? Then this delicious cocktail recipe should do the trick!
ORANGE WINE COCKTAIL
Combine 4 oz. orange wine and 1 shake Angostura Orange bitters. Pour over ice then soda water to taste. Garnish with an orange twist…And enjoy!