Orange wines. What they are: A style of wine made from white wine grapes that stay in contact with skins and seeds after pressing. They are frequently fermented with natural yeasts and aged in clay amphoras, and slightly oxidated. They tend to have more tannins and body, like red wines, but retain the minerality of a white. What they are not: Wine made from or with oranges.
Wine Enthusiast defines orange wines like this:
Orange wines are white wines produced more like reds, with prolonged maceration of crushed grape skins and seeds. Often made in clay vessels or wooden barrels, they are relics of ancient winemaking traditions that trace back to the Caucasus.
The first time I tried an orange wine (confession: It was a Slovenian wine) I was intrigued. I am in the process of tracking down more to try. So in my searches I have come across a couple of notable Spanish orange wines. While not technically an orange wine because of limited contact with the skins, the Terroir al Limit (Priorat) Terra de Cuques, a blend of Pedro Ximénez and Muscat d’Alexandria, is a golden-toned white. See the interview with winemaker Dominik Huber. Another Spanish orange wine is Esencia Rural, Pampaneo 2014 (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla), made from Airen, the most widely planted white grape in Spain. Reviewed by Jancis Robinson.
If you have any Spanish or Portuguese orange wine recommendations, we'd love to hear from you.
Photo European Cellars