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In Good Taste

Guide to Orange Wine

Guide to Orange Wine

What is Orange Wine?

When talking about wine, there’s no shortage of new things to learn about. Just when you think you’ve mastered the basics of reds, whites, and even rosés - boom! - there’s a new wine in town to discover.  Wine lovers from near and far, let us introduce you to the funky, fun, and oft-misunderstood orange wine. 

Remember that friend in high school that went off to college and came back with, shall we say, a deeper sense of their natural self? You recognize them, yes, but now they wear funky clothes, drink kombucha, and have developed an affinity for alternative music. This is the human equivalent of orange wine. It’s still a wine just like any white or red, however, it has unique characteristics that make it stand apart from the rest, both in color and in taste. 

Orange Wine Production

The secret to the distinct color and flavors of orange wine is all in the production. Although it may sound like orange wine is made with some orange grape mutation or with actual oranges, it’s actually made with common varietals of white grapes. 

Some refer to the production of orange wine as being more natural, because the process itself is old and very traditional, so it is seen as more “natural” compared to some modern wine production. It also requires no additives or preservatives to keep the wine from going bad. To better understand the process as a whole, let’s hop into the wine time machine and look at the history of orange wine. 

History

The process of making orange wine is ancient. We’re talking approximately 8,000 + years ago ancient. The technique originates from the Eastern European country of Georgia. The process involves taking white wine grapes, crushing them, putting them in a large, ceramic vessel called a qvevri with the skin and seeds still in contact, then sealing the qvevri with beeswax and letting the product ferment underground anywhere between four days and one year. Leaving the skin and seeds intact is what gives the wine its distinctive orange hue. 

Wine Making Began 8000+ Years AgoTechniques Originated from Georgia, in Eastern EuropeOrange Wine is made from white wine grapes, fermented in a Quevri

Resurgence

Prior to the early 2000’s, orange wine was not widely known outside its country of origin, that is, until Italian winemakers visited Georgia and decided to bring the techniques and a few qvevris back with them. In 2004, the term “orange wine” was coined by a British importer, David Harvey. Since then, it has become more and more popular, with some winemakers even predicting that orange wine will become the new rosé. Orange wine is still somewhat rare to find in the United States, however, as more wine lovers discover this unique vino, it is becoming easier to snag a bottle in the store or online. 

Orange Wine vs. White and Rosé Wine

Now we know that orange wine gets its unique color from the way that it’s produced. High five on learning something new today! But now the question remains, how is orange wine different from white wine or a rosé?

One way that’s helpful to distinguish between an orange wine and a white wine is this - orange wine is basically a white wine that’s made like a red wine. White wine grapes have little to no contact with the grape skins before they are processed, while red wine grapes are made with the skins left on, which is what gives them their color.

Orange Wine

What is Orange Wine?

White Wine

Orange Wine vs White Wine

Red Wine

Orange Wine vs Red Wine

Rosé Wine

Orange Wine vs Rose Wine

Orange wines are made with white wine grapes such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Moscat Ottonel, and others, but leaving the skins on gives it a much different color and flavor profile. Orange wines have a fuller body and funkier notes than most white wines. Because the skins are left on during production, orange wines are also more tannic than whites. The skins are where tannins come from, which is also why red wines are more tannic than white wines. These tannins allow orange wines to age much longer than white wines as well, anywhere from a few years to a couple of decades.

What about the difference between orange wine and rosé? Rosé can get its pinkish, champagne hue from a couple of different methods. It is typically made from red wine grapes with color attributed to minimal skin contact, or less commonly may be a blend of white and red wines. The production process is not quite the same as an orange wine. Additionally, orange wines have a bolder flavor and fuller body than most rosés. Orange wines and rosés do have one thing in common though - they aren’t afraid to show off their stylish color, and we love them for that. 

How to Serve Orange Wine

Are you convinced that you need to try orange wine ASAP? We don’t blame you! With such an intriguing history and unique flavor, who wouldn’t? Let’s take a look at the best ways to enjoy orange wine so that you can incorporate it into your wine collection. 

Temperature and Glass Type

Depending on the body of the orange wine, it is typically best served below room temperature. Lighter orange wines taste best almost chilled, while fuller-bodied orange wines will shine at a cool temperature, somewhere between room temperature and chilled. When looking for a glass, orange wines will do best in a white wine glass, which usually has a more narrow bowl than a red wine glass. Unlike red wines, orange wines don’t need as much room to breathe to showcase the full range of their flavorful notes. 

Serve orange wine at room temperature in a white wine glass

Foods to Pair with Orange Wine

The bold flavors of an orange wine pair well with equally bold flavors in food. Look for spicy, fermented dishes like kimchi, or curry, put together some cured meats and cheeses on a charcuterie board, or pair with hearty-tasting foods such as red meat and mushrooms. You also can’t go wrong with traditional Japanese cuisine or fall flavors such as squash and pork. 

Orange Wine pairs well with equally bold flavors in food

See, Smell, and Tasting Notes

Orange wines are, not surprisingly, easily recognized by their unique color, which can range from a light, honeyed amber to a bold, tiger orange. Lighter hues will usually indicate a lighter body, while a darker orange typically points to a fuller body with bolder flavors. 

On the nose, orange wine typically has bright, sweet aromas with scents of lemongrass, clover honey, and stone fruits like apricots. 

The taste of orange wine is unlike any white, red, or rosé you’ve ever encountered. Its high tannin content gives it a fuller body, and it’s described as having honeyed notes that are nutty, with hints of bruised fruit, dried flowers or hay, juniper, sourdough, and orange rind. Many even describe orange wines as being similar to a sour fruit beer, and is a good choice as an introduction to wine for those that describe themselves as being “more of a beer person”. Orange wine may just be the perfect gateway beverage for those wine non-believers!

For those nights where a glass of red or white just isn't cutting it, consider trying out a bottle of tangy, tantalizing orange wine. With a process that’s been perfected over the course of over 8,000 years, it’s safe to say that orange wines are a time-tested beverage. If you come across a bottle of this unique vino while on the hunt for a new wine to try, you may want to give it a go! Now, you are basically an expert on all things orange wine… orange you glad?

Summer Picks

Our Favorites

Warm, sunny days require wines that are crisp and oh-so refreshing. With two delicious rosés and a delightful Sauvignon Blanc, our Summer Picks are the perfect addition to your sunshine-filled adventures.

$61.97

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California Wine Mixer Top 3

Our Favorites

Californian wine is a state of mind. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosé, and Red Wine from our California Wine Mixer bundle can transport your state of mind (and palate) all the way to The Golden State.

$77.97

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International Whites

Our Favorites

Experience a world-class wine tour for your tastebuds from the comfort of home. This bundle features incredible selections from France and Italy that will have you ready to grab your passport and hop a plane.

$67.97

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Vine Voyage Top 3

Our Favorites

The Vine Voyage bundle will remind you why France and Italy are two of the most well-known, wine-producing countries in the world. Take your senses to the European countryside with Montepulciano, Rosé of Sangiovese, and Nerello Cappuccio.

$58.97

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Light Reds

Our Favorites

Like the infectious laugh of a best friend, these wines will warm your soul and lighten your mood. Our Light Reds bundle with a Grenache, Coteaux Borguignons AOC, and Pinot Noir are sure to be your new wine besties!

$79.97

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Big Reds

Our Favorites

Big. Bold. Unapologetic. The rich, unmistakable flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, and Bordeaux Rouge in our Big Reds collection are perfect for the unwavering palate that demands something more.

$81.97

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Rosé of Sangiovese

Andiamo

Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. A rosé wine is actually made from red grapes (like the Sangiovese) that haven’t fully ripened by harvesting time. Try as these grapes might, they ended up a little too tart and a little too light in color for a typical red; but that’s where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink—it’s everything you want in your bottle of rosé and more.

$19.99

Sauvignon Blanc

La Pluma

We couldn’t have rosé and Pinot Grigio at the La Pluma party without inviting its ring leader, Sauvignon Blanc. If Pinot Grigio is the dry, acidic friend of the group and rosé is the always sweet and highly affable one, Sauvignon Blanc exists between the two to create true Zen. An interesting and addictive blend of grapefruits and herbs set this white wine apart and make it incredibly difficult to resist, especially when the temperature is high and your desire for a refreshment is higher. La Pluma Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect poolside or beach companion; just be sure to bring a few bottles because your friends will definitely want to partake, and we don’t blame them!

$23.99

Barbera

Wild Child

The perfect pizza wine. Barbera is a simple wine that’s not only easy for winemakers to make, but easier to drink. It’s low in alcohol and an Italian red wine we implore you try chilled because it’s truly *chef’s kiss*. Classic Barberas are fruity, medium bodied and offer the perfect hint of tartness. It’s also the best of both worlds in terms of light and heavy red wines. Let’s say you’re having a friend over who always prefers a cab, but you’re more of a Pinot Noir kinda gal. Order a pizza and open the Barbera for a perfect middle ground kind of evening. After all, the combo of good red wine and pizza is the great equalizer.

$24.99

Montepulciano

Andiamo

Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

$20.99

Cabernet Sauvignon

Unprecedented

If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

$34.99

Rosé

La Pluma

While it’s the unofficial official wine of summer and warm weather situations, La Pluma’s Rosé is one you can drink year-round, no matter the occasion. All rosé wine is derived from red grapes that didn’t quite make the cut, but the result exceeds expectations in terms of highly-sippable, easy-drinking wine. This La Pluma Rosé is as light as its feathery namesake and is best served extremely chilled for an extremely chill afternoon of nothing but vibes. And maybe a few snacks.

$17.99

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

$19.99

Pinot Noir

Unprecedented

We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

$25.99

Coteaux Bourguignons

Passport

The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.

$25.99

Nerello Cappuccio

Wild Child

This is not your average Italian red. Nerello Cappuccio is a dark-skinned grape variety from Sicily, the Mount Etna region to be exact (yes, the volcano). Although its color is vibrant, you might be surprised to know that it’s a much softer red than it looks to be. Our Nerello Cappuccio is cherry-forward, with other tasting notes of vanilla, light coffee (like your favorite breakfast blend), and minerals. The delicate tannins in this Sicilian wine will surprise and delight you and tastes exceptionally good paired with margherita pizza or arancini balls (drool).

$17.99

Chardonnay

Unprecedented

Ah, Chardonnay. The buttery, oaky, rich white wine that is polarizing in its very nature. This is the type of wine you either love or hate; it’s rare to find someone who lies somewhere in the middle. If you’re in the “love” category, our classic Unprecedented California Chardonnay will surely become a new favorite. Its buttery vanilla nature pairs extremely well with like minded buttery, creamy foods such as brie cheese, lobster, crab cakes, crème brûlée, squash, corn, and mushrooms.

$33.00

Verdicchio

Andiamo

A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you’re into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit bitter, the more you sip, the sweeter it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Red Wine

Unprecedented

We’d love to introduce you to our old friend: Unprecedented Red Wine. She’s a 2019 blend that has been with us through it all and grown to be one of our more popular wines. She’s a mix of all the best Italian grapes: Barbera, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo with a splash of Mourvèdre and a few others. They’re all hanging out, having one big, juicy, delicious party! Tasting notes include a touch of spice, a hint of leather, and some of the best juicy fruits, including blackberries. She truly gets along with just about everybody!

$24.99

Côtes du Rhône White

Passport

This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

$23.99

Bordeaux Rouge

Passport

When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

$21.99

Ventoux Rosé

Passport

You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

$21.99

Tempranillo

Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.

$27.99

Grenache

La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

$27.99

Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they’re low in alcohol, medium bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we’re in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera is the perfect marriage of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a ladies who lunch kind of afternoon.

$21.99

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn’t not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape grows exclusively along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that’s incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it’s “weird” only because it’s not widely known by name, but chances are you’ve probably had it before if you’ve ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

Unprecedented

For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

$24.99

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