Everything You Were Wondering About Orange Wine

Posted: Jan 26, 2022

Just when you thought you’ve figured wine out, a new style of wine hits the scene and it’s time to catch up or you’ll be left behind. Enter: skin-contact wine. You may have noticed a new category listed on your favorite restaurant’s wine list, or an unfamiliar array of wine colors on the retail shelves. Don’t fret! Skin-contact wine, which is commonly referred to as “orange wine,” has been around for centuries but really became mainstream in the last decade. So what made this rare, ancient way of making wine the most asked for wine over the last few years? Was it the growing presence on trendy wine lists and retail stores? Are we to thank Action Bronson and his love of French natural wine bars? It doesn't matter! Skin-contact wine is here to stay.

Here’s The Cliff Notes On Skin-Contact Wines:

Don’t be alarmed when you hear the terms skin-contact and orange wine being used interchangeably. When it came to brand marketing, the term “orange wine” won the popularity contest and the rest was history. Wine professionals prefer to use the term skin-contact because “orange wine” creates a whole slew of confusion: First, the wine is not made from oranges, it’s made from white wine grapes, and second, it has a range of colors outside of orange so the name can be quite misleading.

Any wine that has color—think rosé or red—gets its color from the maceration process. That’s when the grape juice and skins are fermented together for an extended period of time. When making a red wine, maceration can take anywhere from a week up to six months to complete. Similar to red wine, rosé is made by leaving the pressed red grape juice in contact with the red grape skins. The primary difference is less maceration time when making rosé—typically six to 12 hours. When this same maceration technique is used with a minimum of one day to several months using white grapes, a skin-contact or orange wine is produced.

What To Expect From A Skin-Contact Wine

No skin-contact wine is the same, but what never changes is the uniqueness of this style of wine. But the reality is, there’s something about skin-contact wine that does not appeal to everyone. It’s like the cilantro of wine. The birkenstocks with socks of wine. It’s a bit polarizing for some. But those who love it, love it in excess. Skin-contact wines always keep you guessing. Each time you take a sip, the flavors can be wildly different.

It’s important to not serve skin-contact wine too chilled. The texture and tannin structure can be a bit aggressive if you drink it too cold, similar to drinking a tannic red wine too chilled. And much like a red wine, skin-contact whites could use a little time in a decanter.

By Margaret Eby
Source and complete article by: food52.com

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