Crushing: Orange Wines

By: Roberto Ferdman
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“That’s right: red, pink and white have company,” exclaimed a recent newsletter from the Chelsea Wine Vault. Laden with cartoony images of a wine glass filled with bright orange liquid and a grape vine dangling bright orange grapes, the newsletter featured an infamous, under-the-radar vino known as orange wine.  Save all judgment! Unlike gimmicky green beer sold on St. Pat's Day, orange wine has a legitimate backstory...

The practice of making orange wines, despite its relative anonymity, spans centuries, dating all the way back to Eurasian wine production in Georgia ( and we're not talking the Peachtree State here). Much of the orange wine that is commercially distributed today comes from Italy ( specifically its northeastern Friuli region), but other producers include France, Germany and California.

The lovechild of white wine grapes and the red wine production method, orange wine gets its color from a biodynamic process that’s similar to how red wine is made. The difference? To produce that orange color, white grapes are left to macerate with their skins. The result is a class of wine that ranges in color from pink to vivid orange, and yields a noticeably tannic structure and rich texture.

Not only is their orange hue fitting for the season, but they tend to be heavier than whites and lighter than reds—a perfect compromise for the fall. Make sure to serve it slightly chilled, at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and try pairing it with those increasingly heavier fall meals, like roasted vegetables and poultry.   Or just serve orange wine at your Halloween party and amaze your guests with your historic wine factoids...

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