We can start by saying it’s not a wine made with oranges, certainly not a Mimosa, and it doesn’t have a Florida orange juice color or taste like it.
To make an orange wine, the first thing you need is white wine grapes. Then you press them and let the juice, skins (hence the name Skin Contact wine) and seeds to macerate and ferment together (usually in large ceramic or concrete vats), from a couple of days to even 12 months, depending on the producer or style of wine.
Orange wines are produced in a very natural way, using little to no additives, sometimes not even yeast is added. Because of that, the wines tastes very particular (definitely not your typical Pinot Grigio) and, due the level of oxidation, there’s going to be a good sourness and nuttiness.
Many people describe these wines as bold and robust, with many aromas including honeyed fruits, hazelnut, oxidized apple, linseed oil, juniper, sourdough and dried orange rind.
On the palate these wines are big, off-dry, and sometimes have tannins like a light red with a sourness similar to Lambic Beer and some bitterness due to the skin contact. The perfect aperitif.
Orange wines are ancient, but in the last 20 years many winemakers have resurfaced this style of wine, bringing their popularity back due to the growing natural wine movement.
These wines pair excellent with Indian, Korean, Moroccan and Vietnamese cuisines because of their bold flavors which match perfectly with the boldness, sourness and bitterness of the wine.