The What and Why of Orange Wines

Dec 27, 2021 · 59 comments
George Nixon (Utica, NY)
Orange wines are the cilantro of wine, loved by some, and firmly disliked by others. I've been a fan for quite a while and was quite happy to have a COS Rami on hand to open for this occasion. I once had a friend get angry over a glass of Pheasant's Tears and while it was a minor surprise to see such a passionate response, that's part of the enjoyment for me. On the subtle end of the spectrum, Scribe's skin-contact chardonnay for is a great starting point IMO. The acid makes this a happy pairing with lots of food.
Rick Alles (Escondido)
My wife and I love the Coenobium—when we ordered it at Marta all the servers came by our table and said “we wanted to see who the coolest people in the restaurant were”.
VSB (San Francisco)
Good Morning: Received an email from a wine store this week that they had received a shipment of the COS Pithos Bianco. Decided to try it. The wine store was literally selling the bottles out of the boxes, not even bothering to put it on a shelf. Methinks Mr. Asimov has a bit of influence. The bottle proved overpriced and disappointing. Mr. Erdle's description of "limp and lacking firmness" was correct. Oh, well--Pacific Coast orange wines work for me.
Dan Barron (New York)
The Ruscum is deep pinkish-gold in color, stony and sour, with some hard-to-name botanicals that, imagining the winery, seem like, yeah, they could have come from a convent herb garden. On three successive nights the wine went from wildly novel, to really, really nice, to familiar. It needs some air, and is highly temperature-sensitive. (Too cold: flavorless; too warm: flabby; narrowest little Goldilocks window.) Had it Wednesday with Bittman’s simple buttered beets tinyurl.com/ybvyon57 plus added ricotta salata (also roast chicken). The PnP was inexpressive, but with a 2-hour decant it blossomed. The wine was fascinating–made other wines, including a nice red Burgundy alongside at the table, seem so ordinary! The R paired comfortably with the beets, contrasting gently with the beets’ mild-but-deep sweetness and, surprisingly to me, totally at ease with the food’s butter. Some added ricotta salata cheese was a salty, tangy plus. Mainly a “showcase” pairing, though. Thursday was chicken saltimbocca tinyurl.com/ycjux7x2 (also broccoli rabe). Wow. This was the kind of “alchemy” pairing I always hope for. Wine loved the juicy, salty food, cleaning up like a well-mannered napkin dab to the corners of the mouth, and leaving you eager and ready to snarf back in. Wine’s sourness was exciting. Thursday’s remains were had with reheated spinach fontina pasta tinyurl.com/25kju7a2 . The wine was familiar and way comfortable. Both of us were a bit spent. Didn’t pay close attention.
Bunk McNulty (Northampton MA)
From a piece I wrote back in 2011:"Orange” wines have a very practical origin. Saša Radikon, son of Stanko, grandson of Franz Mikulus, explains: “In 1995 we started making white wines with lengthy periods of skin contact. This was a technique that my grandfather used because he wanted to preserve his wine for a whole year. Before my father started selling our wines, my grandfather would make wine for the whole family from our vines, but this was for personal consumption only and it had to last an entire year until the next vintage.” [from an interview with the late Joe Dressner]. Leaving the wines on the skins (maceration) for weeks and months makes white wines last longer because the skins are a source of tannins, which act as anti-oxidants. There is a catch: While lengthy maceration protects the wine from oxidizing over the long term, the process itself actually increases oxidation during fermentation. Consequently, the wines all have a distinctive oxidative tang that can come across as sherry-like or cider-like. Yet another catch: While the wines are built to last, especially after they've been opened, they typically need hours and hours of exposure to air to become palatable. The wines at the this tasting were all opened and double-decanted four hours ahead of time; some of them would probably benefit from two or three times as much exposure to air.
George Erdle (Charlotte, NC)
For the first time in 91 classes of Wine School, we unanimously voted that the food prepared far outdid the wine sampled. We had trouble deciding what flaw or imperfection we thought the three wine flavors had in common. The words limp and lacking firmness both came to mind. We finally decided that the word flabby might describe our disfavor. The Montenidoli had a reluctant nose of dried fruit and possibly nectarine. We agreed that we could not notice any orange in the color. On the palate we discerned a creamy somewhat bitter aftertaste. When served with gnocchi and egg the wine improved but it was not a match. The color of the Cistercensi approached Tawny but was still fairly unique. The liquid was somewhat sweet and cloying. When served with ravioli and cooked prosciutto, the wine did its job and lessened the impact of the spiciness of the meat. With the last wine we finally found a food and wine match when we paired the COS Terre with flounder wrapped in spec with confit carrots. The salinity of the wine fit nicely with the fish. We could not agree on a favorite wine served alone. George Erdle – Harper’s Fine Dining Charlotte, NC
Shweta (Michigan)
I was excited to explore orange wines after hours of enjoyable research and careful note-making. But the online search for orange wines was incredibly frustrating. First, I was mislead by search results on wine retailers’ websites classifying (or misclassifying) orange wines as white. In fact, Mr Asimov’s first recommendation, Montenidoli Vernaccia di San Gimignano Tradizionale, is described (or misdescribed) as a “white wine” in the first six Google hits. Also frustrating was my experience trying to find orange wines from Slovenia and Georgia - out of stock or unable to ship to Michigan or simply unavailable practically everywhere online. So I decided to order whatever orange wine I could find - even this proved challenging. Do amber or golden-colored wines count, or must they be specifically orange? Is the “inviting golden to amber” hued Movia Rebula Ribolla an orange wine? But it is classified as an “other white blend”. And what on earth is an “other white blend” anyway? Is orange the “other” white? Is there a minimum amount of skin contact required for the wine to be called orange? Or are all skin-contact, skin-macerated whites technically orange, and therefore qualify for this month’s Wine School? Clearly, I need to read Amber Revolution but I am still disappointed by how unfruitful this exercise has been. So for now I reluctantly give up my online search and will follow Mr Asimov’s recommendation to visit a natural wine store.
D (New York)
In my opinion, this Montenidoli bottling should be handled as a white wine. Yes there’s brief skin contact during the fermentation period, but the wine reads like a white with texture. My favorite white wines provide that texture on the finish, and many wine makers, particularly in Spain are defaulting to that short maceration period to add some texture to their white wines. They label them as white, as Montenidoli does as well, and they should be sold as such. “Orange wines” imply much more pigmentation and experimentation/long maceration of the skins.
Peter (Philadelphia)
Education is all about expanding one’s horizons and so off we go to orange wines. I was able to order the COS and the Montenidoli. Based on Eric’s comments I also picked up a Georgian orange wine, Tevza Goruli Mtsvane, for no good reason other than it sounded like fun. This wine was made with the Goruli Mtsvane grape, fermented with wild yeast, and received 5 months of skin contact in qvevri. We tasted these wines over two meals. The first night was lamb merguez with a yogurt zatar topping and the second night chicken marsala. For this dinner Caretha and I were joined by a NYC friend down for the weekend who, unlike us, had tasted orange wine before. The COS and Montenidoli were good enough wines but didn’t seem all the unusual or special. They both had a light amber color. The COS seemed fairly bland while the Montenidoli had a bit more going on. Neither was much with the merguez, but the Montenidoli showed well with the chicken. It had subtle bite that cut through the sauce. Nice but with our eyes closed we would have thought these were just white wines. The Tevza was totally different. It was deep orange and so hazy as to be almost opaque. Tasted of ripe melons but with a tannic kick that kept it from being cloying. It was great on its own, went especially well with the merguez dish and, strangely, with the saffron carrot cake we had for dessert. Especially on the first night, this was the wine that had us talking. Educational indeed. A return to Georgia is planned.
Peter (Philadelphia)
P.S I want to thank everyone who gave us dinner ideas. While we went our own way, the food you suggested gave us a direction. You all sound like great chefs. Bon Appetit! Peter
Dan Barron (New York)
Agree. A place to start from helps a lot. Schuyler’s puntarelle got me to blood orange avocado salad. Never would have gotten there otherwise. Thanks again, Schuyler.
David (Syracuse)
I believe Pete Wells brought a 2018 orange wine to Thanksgiving 2021--a 2018 Bloomer Creek skin contact Riesling. One of many outstanding skin contact/orange wines produced at a legendary NYS/Finger Lakes winery... (Yep, that's you Kim & Debra--legends)
Anne B (New York)
In New York State, Channing Daughters produces some lovely orange wine.
John M. (Phila, PA)
I find orange wines hit or miss but the Gravner Ribolla is iconic and delivers the goods. Pairing with these is a challenge - one recipe was pork belly & poached pears. Delicious but not your run of the mill dinner to put together.
Dan Barron (New York)
If I loved wine more, I might love orange wine more. I wish I did. They’re distinctive and original. After carping about the Montenidoli, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. But what I really love is wine and food, and, for me, orange wine falls in with a bunch of admirable wines, from champagne to rioja, that shine brighter on their own than as pairings. “Pairs well” for these wines means the wine is captivating and the food stays out of the way. Wish I had a nickel for every time a somm has touted such a pairing. Tha’d be at least a $.50. And ten big let-downs. I want a wine that wraps its boozy arms around my food and says, “you and me, kiddo!” Saturday had the COS with a downscale take on Mr. Schultz’s pasta alla bottarga with chives (thanks, Schuyler). Mine was the almondy tinyurl.com/y2uvg5xz with anchovy mock-bottarga tinyurl.com/2p8a2yd2 subbed for the real thing. The dish was oily, fishy, unusual and very good. The wine was stunningly bold, weird, confident, light, vibrant, saline, minerally, complex and original. Something to admire. The food let it bask in glory. The wine hardly knew the food was there. :( But… Our primi was a Sicilian-ish avocado blood orange salad tinyurl.com/2p849xdr p. 6, and that and the COS made whoopee. Like a thrilling SvBl-and-salad times ten. I’d love the COS at a setting large enough to justify a couple bottles for a couple courses. Am I asking too much? As the one wine for our whole dinner, the orange COS impressed and disappointed.
Schuyler Schultz (San Diego, CA)
Thanks, Dan. I’m so pleased I was able to assist. Re: your comments on pairings, I find that pairings often fall into a few different basic categories. There’s the “A B=C” interaction where the characteristics of the food and wine combine in a sort of alchemical way resulting in a new, unique experience born of the individual characteristics of each component complementing and enhancing one another (e.g Chablis and oysters). Another type is where the food and wine harmoniously coexist and have a pleasant conversation with one another—nothing objectionable, nothing “magical.” Each element carries itself through its own strength of character and allows room for the other. The old philosophy of “if it grows together it goes together,” comes to mind here. I think that these can often be equally enjoyable types pairings. Wines such as the ones we’ve been discussing have relatively big personalities that do sometimes lend unequal sway to the conversation—I might characterize this as being “showcased” in a pairing. (I mean, does anyone really think that a giant California Cab does anything to improve a charred ribeye?) Though different, and perhaps less satisfying on some level, these are the sort of fun, explorational pairings that can work really well in particular situations. Cheers.
Dan Barron (New York)
Nice pairing taxonomy!
Linda J. (New Jersey)
I have a long history of serious migraines. Red wines and whiskey are verboten. Years ago my neurologist told me that vodka made from potatoes, and rieslings, were the best alcohol bets for me that won't cause a migraine. You want info about excellent rieslings that aren't "sweet"? I'm a go-to person. I can drink rose's because they're "made" like whites, but does anyone have info on how orange wines, "made" like reds, affect migraineurs? (I can drink other whites besides rieslings, but they're the safest.)
Ferd T. Elvin (Montreal)
I like orange wines, but they are different and take a little getting used to for most folks. I find them to be very versatile with food, frequently with a sour, yeasty flavor. One of the best matches I've found is with the appetizer sampler ("Mahkhloot") at a local Persian restaurant. It includes the following (served with pita for dipping): "Mast-O-Khiar"--yogurt with cucumber, mint, raisins; "Mast-O-Mussir"--yogurt with wild garlic; "Zeitun Parvardeh"--dip of green olive, pomegranate juice, and walnut; and "Mirza Ghassemi"--eggplant, tomato, and garlic dip.
Susanna Finke (Pittsburgh, PA)
When I clicked on this article, the title led me to believe that it would explain what orange wine actually is. Beyond saying that it’s a white made using the process for red, the author didn’t explain a thing about what that actually means. Full disclosure: I am a wine novice. But I’m sure I’m not the only one. I felt brushed off as a reader, which actually dampened my curiosity and made me feel unwelcome to the club. It would have been nice to have a little more info - just a sentence or two would have done it - for those of us who aren’t already in the know.
Scott (Philadelphia)
@Susanna Finke Susanna, click on the link in the first paragraph.
Ed O’Donnell (NYC)
I agree, Asimov really didn’t explain any details as to how this is made. I assume??? That if/when whites are made from red grapes, the skins are removed immediately? And for rose, skins are left for a short/shorter period? So orange wines have skins left for…longer? But clearly not long enough to make a red? Eric???? Help?
Lon (Norwich)
Most red-skinned grapes have white flesh. Red wine gets its color from long term skin contact during fermentation, and the developing alcohol helps extract that red color. Most rosé is made from red grapes. The grapes are crushed (skins are broken) and the mixture steeps for a limited time, imparting only a little color. The pink juice is then pressed off the skins and seeds before fermentation begins. (Some rosés are made by other methods). White wine is made by crushing white wine grapes, then quickly pressing out and fermenting the juice. Orange wine is made by crushing white wine grapes, then letting the mixture “steep” for awhile before pressing out and fermenting the juice. Alternatively, the entire mixture ferments partially or completely. The juice, which is becoming wine, is then pressed out from the skins and seeds.
G (NJ)
It's exhausting to read articles like this. How many of us spend $420 plus tax for a case of wine? Seriously?
Craig Avery (New Mexico)
@G More than you would think.
VSB (San Francisco)
Good Evening: Greatest strength of orange wines: you have no idea what to expect. Greatest weakness of orange wines: you have no idea what to expect. Onward Capp Inn Ranch Suisun Valley Malvasia Bianca 2019, "Fermented on Skins & Hand Punch Down." Dinner: almost the same cheese board as the night before. Music: the exact same Anouar Brahem mixtape as the night before. Color: yellow with an orange tint, slightly hazy. Nose: peach, melon, floral, bubble gum (!), apple, lightly spicy. Taste: same as the nose, short finish, nice mouth feel, very delicate. Food and music pairing: as good as last night. Food and wine: good but not as great as the Antiquum Farm. Had I drunk the Onward on my fire escape overlooking Haight Street on a late afternoon last summer, would not have hesitated to call it one of the most enjoyable wines ever. But it did not succeed with the olives and did not complement the cheeses as well as last night's wine. The Onward did work very well with the Spanish tinned fish. But the Onward is a better wine for drinking by itself on a summer afternoon. When you buy a Chablis, you have a pretty good idea of what you'll get. An orange wine? How would you know? The grapes and wine making techniques differ wildly from one bottle to another. How does one cope with a wine when buyers don't know what the heck they will get? Unpredictability makes me happy, but how does one advocate for that?
Schuyler Schultz (San Diego, CA)
As a chef and beverage director, I find skin-contact whites to be some of the most fascinating and versatile wines out there. True, many perceive their various idiosyncrasies as “flaws,” but that would be like saying the sour beers of Belgium are flawed. The particular fermentation characteristics of the “natural” examples very much reflect their terroir in that they are an expression of the microflora in the vineyard. Additionally, the physiological ripeness of the grapes contributes much more than richness and alcohol here. The extended skin contact allows for unique aspects of the varieties to come through in ways that free-run must can’t extract. As for pairings, the additional texture and occasional acidity of these wines opens up options not available to more singularly-focused (though no less dynamic) wines. The COS shows ripe fruit, minerals, and coastal herbs that would be an excellent pairing with the region’s bottarga in a pasta. The Coenibium Ruscum’s tart, multifaceted texture reveals the minimalistic winemaking approach. Fatty pork w/ fennel pollen alongside a garlicky puntarelle salad would be exceptional, as well as with the Vernaccia. Keep an open mind and try many examples and you’ll soon find that these unique and thought-provoking wines deserve equal standing in your pairing repertoire.
R.A. (Huntsville, Alabama)
“Supremely delicious” is a fine way to describe Radikon. Olfactory tinntinnabulation!
miller (Illinois)
I like orange wine.
VSB (San Francisco)
Good Afternoon: Best part of trying a completely new type of wine? Knowing that wine expertise will never happen for me, so tilt back the glass and enjoy. Couldn't find any of the Big 3; no problem, tried an "Antiquum Farm Aurosa 2019 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris." Decided to discover best food/wine pairings by serving a giant cheese board for dinner. Music: my 75-song Anouar Brahem mixtape. Color: halfway between orange and salmon. Nose: Orange, yeast, apricot, lemon, roses (!). Taste: gorgeous. Same flavors as nose, plus cherry blossom, hibiscus, some steely and mineral character in the background. Long finish, velvety texture, well-balanced. Wine and music were excellent together, but the big story consists of wine and food. Fresh vegetables, plus olives and marinated artichokes: neither helped nor hindered. Dried apricots: good. Ham, 2 chorizos, salchicon: good. Homemade hummus: very good. Onion, shallot and garlic dip: very good. Fancy tinned salmon w/eggplant & tomato: excellent. Fancy tinned mackerel in spicy olive oil: excellent. Homemade version of Boursin: excellent. All other cheeses, esp. soft ones: outstanding. The wine intensified the flavors of the cheeses and emphasized their best qualities. All of the cheeses tasted great with the wine. Fun month. Looking for food/wine pairings for you Orange Wine? A pescavore cheese board with tinned fish and shellfish, ripened soft cheeses and dried fruit might work very well.
Dan Barron (New York)
Want something to cheer you right out of those mean old omicron blues? I sure do. This ain’t it. Tuesday night’s Montenidoli was sour and aloof. Got minerality and dried apple, and a clean, clear mouthfeel. Imagined hint of sweetness on the attack; bitter finish. It was intense, and cleansing, and interesting. Not much fun, though. Reminded me of zoom meetings and going around in face masks. Paired with house staple mustard salmon it gave a quick “hi” to the mustard; totally ignored the fish. With roast fennel and pecorino, it was, yes, cleansing, but I was kind of hoping for more. Best pairing of the night was some roasted pistachios I tossed in with the fennel. Not that the fennel needed ’em, but the M did. It really did like the nuts. I had tried this wine a couple times before over the last 7 years. Couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. Solved that problem.
LawScott (NYC)
I had no idea orange wine existed. Too bad I don’t drink or I’d try it.
Peter (Philadelphia)
I've just ordered the Montenidoli and the COS. I have no idea what sort of meal would work with these wines. Anyone have suggestions?
Dan Barron (New York)
Peter, after three tries with the Montenidoli (see crankiness above), best I can suggest is nuts and sharp, tangy cheeses.
Peter (Philadelphia)
@Dan Barron Thanks Dan
S.Garrow (Seattle)
@Peter Best I can recommend is to drink a glass or two of the wine and see what comes to mind. If you really like it you'll have more options. For me the best is salty or savory foods ...I didn't think they played well with sweets.
Olga Mosso (Germany)
We first tried COS orange wine during our summer holidays in sunny Sicily, in area of Agrigento, where ancient Greeks had their settlements thousands years ago. What a perfect location to try a wine made in amphoras! We had a dinner in an amazing restaurant - truly a gem in a middle of no where, with a wine list as big as an encyclopedia. A lovely restaurant owner “warned” us that this wine is not like others and some people find it odd. Since we love the unusual wines we ordered it. Till this day it is one of our favorite wines and i just opened a bottle to help me to write this review. Cheers!
david (Upper West Side)
I opened a bottle of 2017 Domaine Thillardon Lá Haut last night. A complete surprise. First off, it came with a crown cap rather than a cork, but that made sense because there was a rush of carbonation. Poured, it was petillant, almost sparkling. Color was a cloudy pale orange (it's non-filtré). Bouquet was between champagne and beer, yeasty with chardonnay notes, with the sour quality of beer on the palate. I'm not sure I liked it at all but it went with the shrimp/tomato/feta dish we were having for dinner. Couldn't find anything about the wine online, the famille Thillardon are making a pet-nat gamay right now but seem to have discontinued this.
Wanda M (NYC)
There is a wine shop in NYC, Orange Glou, that exclusively sells orange wines. I'm not sure if they sell the bottles recommended by Eric, but they do ship and also have a wine club. I purchased some interesting bottles from Friuli and Czech Republic and really enjoyed them.The store is owned by a sommelier with an encyclopedic knowledge of orange wines. I have tried the COS wine that Eric recommends and loved it. Cheers.
Charles (Los Angeles)
If orange wines are anything like rose wines, I'll take a hard pass. I've tried (as has my wife) dozens of rose wines over the years, including the most well known ones from the south of france. Fads are fun when you're a teenager...unfortunately, those days are long gone!
david (Upper West Side)
@Charles Orange wines are the *opposite* of rosé wines. Rosé is made by removing the skins stems pips from red grape juice. Orange wine is made by fermenting the white grape juice with the skins and pips.
RayTucker (USA)
We have been enjoying 'Orange Wines' since the 1990s when we were lucky enough to meet John Munch at Le Cuvier Winery in Paso Robles. Munch has been making 'natural wines' for many decades and styles himself a Grape Shepherd -- ensuring no harm comes to them, using no chemicals and allowing the 'beasties' that naturally inhabit the grapes to do their important work. His Chardonnays and Viogniers are extraordinarily complex and still very tasty...many years after their 'white wine' contemporaries peaked and were discarded.
Carol (Baltimore)
My intro to orange wine was one called “our wine” from Georgia. Had it there and was happy to find it in the states. Tried some others but this is by far my favorite. It’s kind of funky and may not be to everyone’s liking, but I bought a case.
Ryan (Bingham)
I have experience with Radikon wines, and at the time they were 100% organic. I liked them very much, as much as any other wine.
Ryan (Bingham)
I have experience with Radikon, and at the time they were 100% organic and I liked them very much.
Rick Alles (Escondido)
You’ve picked two of my favorite wines—the Montenidoli and the Coenobium. When my wife and I ordered the Coenobium at Marta in 2015, all the servers came by our table saying, “We wanted to see the coolest people in the restaurant”.
Jason C (New York)
Orange wines, just like any other "color" of wines really can't be categorized or generalized. Orange wines are made from a wide array of grapes and they still carry the signature usually. There is a lot of lazy cynical orange wine meant to directly appeal to the clear bottle crown cap instagram influencer crowd and that is fine, but they are a wonderful exploration as well. Many also need some age for the tannins to integrate with the rest of the structure. I have been drinking the Donkey and Goat Stone crusher for a long time and to me it really is great super young or then left alone till 8 years or so old, where it explodes into complexity.
Meg in MD (Bethesda, MD)
I'm going to need some guidance on how to locate these wines. Is it usually best to search through the distributor? I'm still a novice at wine so I'm trying to get familiar with what key words and phrases are best to google to find a store near me that carries the specific bottle. Any help is appreciated!
Rubén Guzmán (Manhattan)
The best places to find these wines are at Natural Wine Shops. Or wine shops that have a big selection of Natural Wines. They are thought of as the epitome of Natural Wine because the wine making method is usually associated with aging in clay pots instead of wood or stainless steel. Think Ancient Egypt.
Nick (Elkins Park)
There are some good natural wine shops in DC—like Domestique—which isn’t that far from you. You could try there. They might not have the wines listed here, but they would have a fairly wide variety of orange wines.
TLeaf (Denver)
About 40 years ago Joseph Swan Vineyards in Sonoma experimented with making a Chardonnay with skin contact as if making a red. The result was interesting but tannic and clunky. Would orange wines taste indistinguishable from high-acid reds if served in a black tasting glass?
Tony (Westchester)
@TLeaf No, you won't mistake for red. Still, they taste very different from standard whites and the shock of this on the palate strikes many as unpleasant. We don't expect a white to be tannic so many think it is sour or spoiled in some way, but the tannins are the point of the skin contact to make whites with more body and depth of flavor and complexity that most (not all) whites lack. It's mostly about expectation and receiving something truly unexpected. The best often taste like some of the more aromatic gewurztraminers, sweet or dry.
Steve Ell (Burlington, Vermont)
I was glad to see the COS wine included. Having travel Sicily pre-pandemic I became familiar with a number of the local wines and actually stayed in a restored farmer’s house in the vineyards of the terre nere. Several other wines came occhipinti - the daughter of the O in COS. The agrees we’re in Sicily long before the Romans and established winemaking there. Hmm. What should one drink with cannoli from Roberto’s laboratorio di cannoli? Cappuccino?
Steve Ell (Burlington, Vermont)
A few autocorrects, the most important being Greeks. Not agree
J.L. Rivers (NYC)
France, Italy and Spain were very important places where these wines started the receive more attention in recent years. Some importers of Georgian wines did a great job in introducing us to some of the wines being made in the country that were deemed worthy of traveling without getting spoiled in transit. One of the first ones is Pheasant's Tears, whose Saperavi red (or black wine as they call it in Georgia) was the introduction for many Americans to Georgian wine. The quality of their offerings does not shine as it once did, since more producers in the country have started making better wines from all the regions in the country. There is also a government backed effort to reintroduce neglected grape varieties in the market that were once more well known in the country. A favorite producer of mine is Kapistoni Wines, located in the region of Kartli, not far from Tbilisi.
Vincent Meade (Paris)
Ok if orange wines are more popular. But it should be mentioned who created this style n are still the standard bearers of it. It is in La Loire in France. Notable the wines of Vondome and les Coteaux du Loir
J.L. Rivers (NYC)
@Vincent Meade I must intervene and respectfully disagree with you. Orange wines have been made in Georgia for thousands of years. Before France, before Spain, before Italy. Even before Greece!
Tony (Westchester)
@J.L. Rivers Agreed. In fact, until modern times virtually all white wine was honey hued skin contact wine, though some makers took the juice off the skins somewhat sooner than with reds. These are wines with body and structure derived from the tannins in the skins and can easily accompany meats, often even a steak. Even after immediate skin separation after the crush became standard, these orange wines never went out of production. Every European country had many local holdouts. My family in Italy has been making this style of wine on a tiny scale for centuries selling in the local valley to restaurants and private individuals and it was always considered perfectly normal. I'm glad a new generation has discovered and re-popularized them. I'm curious as to when and where the clear, skin separated version started and took over. May be a research project for Eric.
Jason C (New York)
@Vincent Meade Not really. this style has been continuously made in Georgia for thousands of years.
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