Orange wine is the new summer treat #TryThis
Orange wine is all the rage amongst a young generation of trendy drinkers, but the style is actually about as old as you can get. Winemaking in this way dates back to Georgia thousands of years ago, and stems from the practice of putting whole white grape bunches into buried clay amphorae jars called kvevri, allowing time (weeks, months or even years) and nature to take its course, et voilà! A deep amber coloured wine, with rich tannic texture and unique character is born, thanks to the grape skins remaining in contact with the fermenting juice. While these orange elixirs all but disappeared for a time, now every wine bar and hip eatery has one or several on the list.
Turner-Pageot Le Blanc Rousanne/Marsanne 2017, Languedoc, France ($26)
This is a gateway orange wine, perfect for those introducing themselves to the style for the first time as it is made with only a small amount of skin contact juice blended with white wine. Floral, fresh, with just a touch of dried apricot. The palate is more akin to white, with the acid outpacing the tannins. Finishes clean and precise.
COS Rami Grecanico/Insolia 2016, Sicily, Italy ($35)
Using a 50/50 blend of two native Sicilian grapes, and aged on skins in concrete vat. Showing a super lifted nose of dried citrus blossoms, Meyer lemon peel, apricot and peach. Well structured, bone dry, with racy acidity and grippy tannin. Persistent finish of chalky earth and stone fruit flavours.
Josko Gravner Ribolla Gialla 2009, Venezia Guilia, Italy ($45)
Gravner is a godfather of modern orange wine, and has been making it since the mid-nineties. This is a hauntingly beautiful wine, with so much complexity. Layers of orange blossom, buttercups, honeysuckle, with ripe and dried peach, mandarin, dried fig and saffron spice. The piercing acidity is balanced by harmonious tannin, integrated and medium grained.