Most of us are used to hearing the “red” or “white” before the word “wine”, however, now there is a new hue that’s taking over the wine world. Orange wines, also known as amber wine, are the latest trendy drink, and – surprise, surprise! – they do not contain any actual oranges.
How orange wine is made
In fact, its name is somewhat of a misnomer, as the actual shades of the wine can range from a pale lemon-yellow to a deep amber colour. Orange wine is, in essence, a white wine that has been made with a red wine technique, which is to say that it was left in contact with the grape skin that gives it its distinct colour. This is also how orange wine earned its other name of “skin-contact wine”.
The thing that differentiates red and white wines most significantly is the method that they were made.
Red wines are made by remaining in contact with the grape skin while white wines are not left in contact with the skins. In this way, a rosé is similarly made in a rather unconventional way like the orange wine, as it is a red wine made with the white wine method of not being in contact with the grape skins.
The history of orange wine
Despite orange wine only gaining popularity in recent times, it has actually been around for centuries and was made in regions of current-day Georgia using ancient techniques that included ageing the wine in large clay anfora (or urns). These terra cotta containers are still used by winemakers today although they are not as common.
Today, orange wine has seen a recent resurgence in its popularity in the past 20 years or so thanks to some Italian producers such as Josko Gravner in Fruili Venezia Giula, a northeastern Italian region.
How does orange wine taste?
Orange wine has been described as having a robust and bold, with honeyed aromas of jackfruit, hazelnut, brazil nut, bruised apple, wood varnish, linseed oil, juniper, sourdough, and of course, dried orange rind.
The taste and sensation of an orange wine actually differs quite differently from that of a traditional white wine, and some have described orange wine as having “the freshness and acidity of a while with the structure and dryness of a red”. After this, perhaps you’re keen to get your hands on this trendy albeit still rather niche wine.
Where to buy orange wine in Singapore
1. Supernova 2019 – Domaine Danjou-Banessy
The Supernova 2019 is made from Muscat d’Alexandrie grapes, which are intensely aromatic, tropical fruits. It has hints of bergamot, vervain, and a hint of Ylang Ylang. Made with two weeks skin contact and six months of maceration (the process of cold-soaking unfermented grape juice in the crushed skins, seeds, and stalk of the grapes) in barrels with little oxidation, this wine is rich, wild, and slightly more expressive.
It is a totally dry wine that is perfect for those looking to try an Orange wine for the first time. Its rich and fruity texture means that it pairs well with spicy foods or seafood dishes.
2. I Cacciagalli Zagreo
The I Cacciagalli Zagreo was made with native Fiano grapes and is a clean and lush wine with notes of orange and ripe apricots, as well as a toasty mouthfeel. It makes for a good option for entry-level Orange wine drinkers.
I Cacciagalli Zagreo retails for S$39.70 on Vivino.com.
3. Airene 2019 – Vinos Ambiz
The Airene is an orange wine that is full of apricot, poached pears, and quince notes. A Spanish wine, this wine is aromatic, bold, explosive and rich in fruit. It is a perfect wine for the seasoned orange wine lover.
4. La Stoppa Ageno 2017
A wine for the more seasoned drinker, the La Stoppa Ageno is an intense and dynamic wine. It has typical oxidised hints opening to notes of jam, caramalised cedar, and spices. It has a charming, elegantly astringent, and persistent taste, and is a wild and rustic orange wine.
La Stoppa Ageno 2017 retails for S$81 on The Straits Wine Company.
5. Si Rose 2018-19 – Domaine Christian Binner
A charming wine with the delicate aroma of roses, the Si Rose has a very fresh, fruity, floral, juicy, taught, and spicy taste. Leaning towards the sweeter side of life, this gorgeously-coloured wine is perfect for those who prefer fruity wines.
Si Rose 2018-19 retails for S$65 on Drunkenfarmer.sg.
6. Mine de Rien 2019 – Domaine des Mathouans
This wine is very drinkable even with its high level of tannins. It offers a floral explosion on the nose, particularly those of roses, and on the palate you’ll savour peach, dry honey, and jasmine notes. This wine needs plenty of time to open and it only gets more complex and better from there.
Mine de Rien 2019 retails for approximately S$34 on Natural Wine Dealers.
7. Vej Brut
An orange sparkling wine, this classically made beverage is glorious in its beautiful amber colour and intense flavour. Its floral, dry tannins and long finish make drinking this wine a truly unforgettable experience. This wine can be paired with fish or light meat dishes to elevate their taste.
Vej Brut retails for S$86 on Brown Bag Wines.