The Orange Wine Phenom?!

Orange wine…

Or is it?

With so much debate around the validity of orange wine, I’m often reminded of the scenes in Mean Girls where Gretchen keeps trying to make the word “fetch”…well fetch. And, for those not familiar with the term it means cool ;)

If you’re not hip to this wine phenom, there IS such a thing as orange wine. I know…it completely goes against everything we’ve been taught about wine…lol. But, just like in my favorite holiday commercial where the M&Ms discover Santa for the first time, orange wine does exist! *insert mouth drop*

So, what exactly is orange wine? Well first off, I can tell you that it’s not made from fermented orange skins! In fact, orange wine is actually white wine that is produced like a red. Orange wine is made out of white-fleshed grapes and is then left in contact with the skins for days, weeks or months. The longer it macerates, the more character, depth of color, tannins, and bitterness is extracted. It’s the way whites were made in ancient times, before stainless steel tanks, pumps, and filtration systems. Some producers today are even producing orange wines in clay vessels called amphorae, which are dug into the ground to protect the wine from oxidation, light, and temperature fluctuations. Rather than being orange, these skin-fermented white wines actually range from bright gold to tawny brown.

Ty’s Takeways…

So, on Monday, I stopped by 13 Celsius, one of my favorite wine bars in the city, because they were offering orange wine in honor of Halloween. Now, I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween, so drinking this wine was as festive as I was going to get!

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(Left to Right) 2014 Pithos Bianco – $13/glass; 2014 Steverjan – $10/glass; Gravner Breg Anfora – $25/glass

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I opted for the Pithos Bianco.

Soooo, orange wine (at least this one) was nothing like I expected it to be. The moment my server told me that this Italian wine was fermented in clay, I knew I was in for something different.

Lets start with the aromas…this wine had a funky, earthy stench that was quite unpleasant. Nope, there was nothing floral or fruit-based coming up from this glass. The smell was quite unbearable and did not go away…lol. Normally, the smell of wine kind of settles once you start drinking it. Nope, not this one. I found myself holding my nose every time I went for a sip. Unfortunately, the taste wasn’t any better. I found this orange wine to be be very tart and bland. Again, I couldn’t really identify any of what I was tasting. All, I know is that it was very acidic on the back of the tongue.

I was a bit very disappointed. With such high expectations for orange wine, all I could do was think of was how underwhelming it turned out to be. I’m just not sure on how “fetch” orange wine will ever be. *insert Kanye shrug*

But, hey you win some and lose some. I definitely recommend trying it once for yourself though. It’s a unique, acquired taste and at least worth the experience. Even though this particular orange wine wasn’t for me, whose to say that I won’t try another one. I’m an equal opportunist when it comes to wine!

Have you tried orange wine before? What were your thoughts? I’d love to read your comments below!

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