Orange is the new white
Well, actually, orange is the old white. Orange wine is seemingly the new kid on the block as the world of low-intervention (or ‘natural’) wine grows in popularity and visibility, but actually it is the most historic form of white wine.
Dating back to Georgia and the Caucuses around 8,000 years ago, orange wine is made by leaving the juice of white grapes with their skins. This skin-contact, or maceration, extracts colour, flavour and tannins from the grape skin and is exactly the same process as red winemaking. It has the same range as red wine too, maybe even broader. There are orange wines made from thin-skinned grapes, with maceration for only a day or two that look similar to white wine but with added dimensions of structure and complexity, and there are orange wines that have been made with months of skin contact from thick-skinned grapes that look almost brown in colour - and could challenge some of the most robust red wines in terms of power and tannins.
Most orange wine is in the grey area in between these extremes and can express wonderful aromatics, exaggerating the natural characteristics of each specific grape or in some cases changing it completely. Because of its tradition and heritage, more and more winemakers who produce natural wine are making white wine with maceration. It can work fantastically with a range of food, and is often used for wine pairings at fine dining restaurants in cult natural wine cities like Tokyo, Copenhagen and Paris.
Here at NAW, we love all shades of orange, ranging from delicate and subtle to structured and mind boggling. You can browse the entire range here - happy discovering!