Orange wine at Momofuku, Anfora and The Tangled Vine

Your wine choices get a new color

Forget the confusing name: Orange wines aren't made from oranges, and they aren't exactly orange in color, either–they actually range from salmon pink to dull copper.

The name is an attempt to classify something that defies easy categorization: white wines made by keeping crushed grapes in contact with their skins for days, weeks, even months. Many are aged in ways that give them a nutty, oxidized pungency reminiscent of sherry.

Orange wines often taste more of cooked fruit than fresh, and they tend to be unfiltered, with a hazy appearance that suggests the unholy combination of Tang and wheat beer.

But for those who prefer a drink that's quirky and character-driven, orange wine can be dazzling. It ventures where most whites can't, shining next to bold cheeses and cured meats. If you order one, you might be treated to a visit from the sommelier checking to be sure you know what you're getting into.

Lately, a handful of local bars and restaurants have embraced the category, serving orange wines by the glass or featuring them in distinct sections on their lists. Here are three ways to blow past the usual Pinot Grigio:

2002 Domaine André et Mireille Tissot Savagnin ($20/glass; $75/bottle) A mellow introduction to the style, it's nutty with hints of anise. Available at The Tangled Vine, 434 Amsterdam Ave. (between 80th and 81st sts.); 646-863-3896 or tangledvinebar.com

2008 Scholium Project "The Prince in his Caves" ($17/glass; $68/bottle) Believe it or not, this is Sauvignon Blanc: tawny and voluptuous, with a dense and earthy fruitiness. Available at Má Pêche, 15 W. 56th St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.); 212-757-5878 or momofuku.com

2005 Cantina Giardino Coda di Volpe "Sophia" ($16/glass; $56/bottle) The grapes in this earthenware-aged wine from Campania spend a full year soaking on their skins. Available at Anfora, 34 Eighth Ave. (between W. 12th and Jane sts.); 212-518-2722 or anforanyc.com