Orange wines, or skin contact wines, are actually a type of white wine that are made by leaving the juice in contact with the grape skins for an extended period. This gives them their distinctive orange colour, firm tannins, and intense flavours of honeyed tropical fruit, nuts, sourdough, and even tea leaves. Thanks to their bold flavour profile, orange wines pair well with vibrant dishes like spicy Asian curries, complex Moroccan tagines, or Korean dishes with fermented kimchi.
Key Orange Wine Regions
Orange wines are made all over the world, but the birthplace of this style is thought to be the country of Georgia in the Caucasus. From here, you can buy orange wines that are made in large qvevri or earthenware amphorae which are traditionally sealed with beeswax. Orange wines are also found in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northern Italy as well as over the border in Slovenia. Natural winemakers in the US, Australia, and South Africa are also experimenting with new orange wines.
Orange Wine Grape Varieties
Orange wines are made from white grape varieties. Italian orange wines are often made from Sauvignon Vert (Friulano), Ribolla Gialla, and Pinot Grigio, while in Georgia the local Rkatsiteli grape is used. Vin Jaune from the Jura region of France is made with the local Savagnin grape.