Orange is the New Blend: Orange Wines Get a Refreshing Revival


Wine has always been red or white for most of us — pink, for some people who insist on a lighter, fruitier white. And as we mentioned in a previous post, there is also blue wine.

For better or for worse, those aren’t the only colours that are taking over the wine world.

Orange Is The New Blend

Orange WineA different hue of wine is experiencing a resurgence in popularity this summer: orange wine made in a style favoured by the Romans.

To clear the name, orange wine has nothing to do with the orange fruit. But rather it refers to the color of the wine during its fermentation process.

Orange wine, just like any other wine, is created from grapes. This new summer tipple is made by leaving white grape skins in the grape juice for a certain number of days or weeks–just until the skins impart the right amount of colour to the liquid. This maceration technique is the same method used for red wines and rosé.

An Ap-peeling Technique

Although this technique has gained recent popularity in the UK, orange wine originated from the Anglo-Saxons back in the 8,000 BC. It was the prime approach for wine until the industrial revolution took place.

David Harvey, an importer from Raeburn Fine Wines, coined the term “orange wine” back in 2004.

So, why the sudden revival of the Orange Wine?

Wine expert Amelia Singer expounded on the various reasons for this phenomenon on ITV’s The Wine Show.

“Firstly people are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, and this naturally influences what wines they drink. Secondly, it’s about food trends. At the moment there is a real trend for tapas-style dishes and sharing platters, and that means people want a wine that can accompany lots of different flavours.” This is where the flavours of orange wine come into play.

“Finally people are becoming more adventurous, especially the younger generations. They’re less put off by what their wines look like, and more willing to try something new.”

A Fresh Revival

Orange WineThe revival of orange wine in the UK was pioneered by Chapel Down Winery — where Bacchus Grapes were used from their vineyard in Kent.

Chapel Down’s Josh Donaghay-Spire says the inspiration behind the creation of their orange vino was to explore the possibilities of their Bacchus grapes.

“We still don’t know the full extent of their capabilities and so we’re always experimenting. People are always looking for something a bit different in wine and this certainly ticks that box.”

Citrus and More

The essence of the orange wine is similar to its white counterpart. Nonetheless, orange wine contains a more complex flavour with a strong aroma.

From Donaghay-Spire’s previous statement, the taste of orange wine attracts people who are in search for something new. He added, “The taste is smoky and it has a texture to it too. The volume of orange wine we make is small in comparison to the rest of our wine but the reaction to it has been brilliant.”

“It is a unique style of white wine with an interesting tannic edge that is rarely found in white wine and this can split opinion with wine drinkers.”  

The Orange List

There are many orange wines in the market, and the flavours will vary depending on the vintner. Here are some blends worth trying:

Gewürztraminer Vin Rustique. A dry, aromatic wine made by the Shaw Vineyard in the Finger Lakes region in central New York. The blend features flavours of dried apricot and figs, with hints of dusty florals on the nose. This deeply textural, rippling wine comes with a fringed finish with a bristling citrus acidity from lemon and tea tannins.

Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli. This amber-tinted wine from the Republic of Georgia is aged in clay vats buried in the earth. On the nose, it has a smokey and honey aroma. On the palate, it’s unexpectedly dry and full-bodied with notes of walnut, apricot, and lychee. Another blend from Pheasant’s Tears is their Mtsvane, which is a deep gold wine made from mtsvane grapes. The wine is crisp but not mouth-filling, and tastes of smoky apricots.

Dirty & Rowdy Sémillon. This tense wine features peach fuzz, beeswax, grape tannins, and a refreshing acidity reminiscent of spring. It has a deep straw hue and a subtle haze that will delight any Sémillon fan.

Channing Daughters Ramato. This alluring copper-coloured wine has aromas and flavours of baked apples, brown spices, coriander, dried apricots, honey, peaches, pear skin, and tropical citrus, with a balanced acidity to finish.

COS Pithos Bianco. This wine undergoes seven months of maceration giving it  a complex mix of dried apricot, marzipan, orange peel flavours, as well as other deep, lemony and earthy tastes. On the nose, it packs a punch of mint, green tea, and wildflowers.

Whatever colour your wine is, the important thing is that it tastes great.