Wine Talk

Snooth User: Flamefighter

Orange Wine

Posted by Flamefighter, Mar 5, 2010.

Anyone else see this article in the WSJ?   Just wondering if it is some sort of NYC fad or has someone come up with a new wine? 

Here is the link:


Reply by Philip James, Mar 5, 2010.

Flamefighter - our very own Gregory Dal Piaz wrote about orange wines about 2 months beforethe NYT article:

They are slowly becoming more popular.

Reply by GregT, Mar 5, 2010.

Not a new wine.  Been done for a long time but like everything else, you're always cooler than someone else if you can say you had something they didn't.

A lot of those wines aren't really all that good.  Kind of like Gruner Veltliner becoming popular - some was good but there was also the "latest is greatest" element working there. 

I suppose that if an importer is going to bring some to the market though, they'd be like this one, from people who have a modern sensibility, so they'll be better than some of the more "traditional" ones

Reply by Philip James, Mar 5, 2010.

Actually i heard that they don't age well - something to do with too much lees contact gives the wines a shorter life. Is that true?

Reply by amour, Mar 5, 2010.

They do not age, that I know.

Tasted ok to me.

Friends of my Family made it !

Reply by GregT, Mar 6, 2010.

Phillip - one has nothing to do with the other.  The orange wines are made by leaving the skin in the juice to macerate.  Lees are spent yeast cells. Completely different.  Leaving wine on the lees adds richness and complexity to the wine.  It can also help malolactic fermentation, because the bacteria that causes it likes the compounds of the lees, but some winemakers prevent malolactic fermentation and still leave the wine in contact with the lees.

In some cases lees contact is mandated.  Some sparkling wine for example, that ages quite nicely, must spend a year or more.  Some people leave it even longer and if anything, it enhances the aging potential.  In the Loire OTOH, there is a limit as to the time they can leave the wine in contact with the lees. 

Skin contact is a different story.  Skin contains different compounds, including tannins, which are anti-oxidants themselves.  So even tho white grapes have fewer tannins than red, the extended skin contact shouldn't affect the aging ability as far as I know and if anything, it will enhance it.

If there's an aging problem, I think the main problem is, as I mentioned, many of those wines are just not very good to start with.  You get a wine from Slovakia or some fairly rustic producer and the wine may get part of its color from simply being oxidized.  Moreover, if you're making your first batch in an attempt to use techniques you don't know, you've got a learning curve.  In some cases, where producers have been doing it for a while, you get good stuff.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 8, 2010.

Some of the wines can be pretty good, if a bit unusual. There is a long history of Oraqnge wines from Pinot Grigio in northern Italy. The wines are white only recently, and in large part due to Santa Margherita's success.


I tasted over two dozen Orange wines last year at a big dinner organized here in NYC. At their best the wines are remarkably complex and work very well with a broad range of foods. At thier worst they are volatile, muddy, and difficult to drink, much less pair with food.


I think one of the main issues with their not aging well is that they are already, to a certain extent, aged. Many of the orange wines are made in an oxidative style so that they exhibit many of the notes of eged wines on release.


I'll continue to try these wines and enjoy drinking them occassionaly but for me they will continue to be a curiosity more than a staple.

Reply by Snoother 2161658, Nov 17, 2017.

We put together an article about orange wine a few months ago. We are seeing a little bit of a trend at California wine tastings.

Reply by ApelsecS, Nov 30, 2017.

wow! I've seen some funny blackberry wines but... orange?! The only Orange wine I aware of - is a Screwdriver... Thanks for info anyway, now I'm excited to taste the difference!

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