Orange Wine - An Introduction

Breaking down orange wine

Confession: We're still grappling with orange wines.

Our struggle is due in no small part to the category's misnomer: "Orange" wine is rarely orange. Some are barely pink and others are bronze and resemble a liquid penny.

Rather than color, it's technique that bands these eccentric bottlings together. How much contact the juice has with its own grape skin determines the liquid's hue.

So we created a timeline of orange bottlings–with skin contact varying from three hours to an entire year (click here to see the infographic).

Each selection on the chart is compelling and delicious on its own, but together they form a strategic lesson plan. The barely tinted 2010 Denis Jamain Domaine de Reuilly Pinot Gris looks and drinks like a rosé, but because it is made with a white grape rather than a red, it falls under the orange umbrella. However, it couldn't be more different from its brother in style, the Movia Ribolla Gialla, which has skin contact for eight months and goes into the bottle unfiltered.

Try them all and find your preference. The path to loving orange wine, it seems, is only a matter of time.