Orange Wine – Taste Tested and Wine Road approved
Written by Marcy Gordon
Orange Wine! Orange you glad to see me?
Orange Wine isn’t new, but it’s suddenly trendy.
Orange wine, also known as Amber wine, is a type of wine that’s been made in the old world for centuries. It’s basically a white wine made in the style of a red by leaving the grape juice in contact with the skins to deepen and develop the flavors and structure. While Orange wines may have the body of a red, they still retain the freshness of a white. Think of it as a Rose in reverse. Orange wines exhibit stronger tannins than a typically white wine and can exhibit deep flavors of dried orange peel, honey, spice, fig, apricot, and caramel. Because of their structure and complexity Orange wines are great for pairing with a wide and varied range of foods or enjoyable on their own as an aperitif. Lightly chill before drinking and notice how the flavors develop and intensify as the wine warms up.
Along the Wine Road several producers are making Orange Wine and we sampled a handful.
Here are our tasting notes and impressions of the Orange Wines along the Wine Road.
Joseph Swan 2014 Grenache Blanc Cuvee Orange Catie’s Corner Vineyard RRV (library wine not currently available)
Color light to medium amber. This wine smells like fall with notes of dried leaves, honey, and cinnamon. Flavors of candied orange, candy corn and vanilla with soft smooth tannins. Old world style.
Mercury Geyserville 2015 Skins Alexander Valley Chardonnay
Deep amber in color with a lovely scent of sandalwood and ginger. Juicy and fruity in the mouth with flavors of apricot, nutmeg, pear, fig, caramel apple and hints of vermouth. Complex and appealing with great structure and finish.
Frick 2016 Grenache Blanc Cuvee Orange
Rose gold in color. Subtle nose at first, then opens up with aromas of ginger, citrus and spice. Flavors range from zesty grapefruit and candied peach to a deep nutty and vanilla notes. Marvelous earthy, dry finish with medium tannins.
Christopher Creek 2015 Chardonnay RRV
Clear and bright, light amber color. Nutmeg and all spice scent. Tastes chardonnay-esque but with a depth of flavor that includes notes of quince, honey, and dried orange peel. Style Reminiscent of old world orange wine, with great balance and structure.
Harvest Moon 2016 Estate Dry Gewürztraminer
Very pale in color, clear straw yellow. Hints of white pepper on the nose with green melon and fresh crushed herbs. Flavors of loquat and bright citrus, very juicy and very intense like a Gewürztraminer on steroids with a long creamy finish.
D’Argenzio 2015 Falanghina Mendocino
Orange to deep amber hue. An expressive and multifaceted orange exhibiting a distinct toasty brioche scent along with dried rose petal aromatics. Light tannins with a nutty and spicy quality and notes of candied ginger, green melon and juniper.