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Red, White... and Orange?

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

By Kiki Ogino

We all know someone who will only drink red wines, but the next time you see them try offering them orange! Orange wine is made by mashing up white grapes and letting their seeds and skins ferment with the grapes for anywhere between four days and a year. They're typically bold wines with tropical, jackfruit undertones. It's great for the red-loving drinkers to venture into whites, as the skin-contact fermentation allows them to take on red-like flavor profiles such as tannin and gives them more body. On the other hand, they're also the perfect introduction for your friends who swear by white wine, as it's still made from white grapes but have red-like flavors.

Orange wine is definitely a controversial topic in regards to whether it stands as its own category of wine despite being made of white grapes. Marissa Ross on Bon Appétit feels strongly about the term "orange wine" going away forever; recognizing that "orange wines" are simply skin-contact whites. Others like Eric Asimov on the New York Times, on the other hand, take a more neutral stance in understanding that neither "red" nor "white" wines are named very accurately either.

Whether you are pro or anti-"orange wine," or if you simply don't care, here are some sommelier recommended orange wines:

Kabaj is a family-owned business in the village of Šlovrenc having won several accolades including Wine & Spirits Top 100 in both 2013 and 2015.

This 2012 Sauvignonasse pairs well with rich fish such as tuna or salmon, and holds a lighter end of acidity while holding up floral and citrus notes.

A crisp blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion from Cullen wines in Washington, their 2018 Amber wine pairs great with Manchego cheese. A tannic wine with notes of toffee and a soft saltiness in the finish. Yum!

This California wine stays in skin-contact for 29 consecutive days with notes of honey, stone, apricot, and white flowers. "Skins" the new wine by winemaker Andrew Jone's, who is behind several wine brands, and has exploded since coming out this year.

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