The Drink Trend for 2018 – Orange Wine?

Orange Wine

My knowledge of wine is very much like my dad’s knowledge of ballroom dancing. He doesn’t know his foxtrot from his waltz, but put him in front of Strictly Come Dancing and suddenly he has opinions.

I know next to nothing about wine, but I sure drink a fair bit of it. When Pina wrote in a local magazine about how orange wine is going to be big in 2018, I knew I had to get in on it.

So…what on earth IS orange wine? It’s the term used when wine is made with white grapes with the skins left on for the fermentation process. It doesn’t taste like oranges, it just talks about the colour.

The first stop was to ask my alcohol connoisseur brother. I wondered if he’d spotted any of this orange wine about in his travels. He said that places like M&S and Waitrose would sell it, sending me a link to Waitrose.

I happened to be in town, so I popped into M&S. After hopping around the alcohol aisle for a few minutes, the lady there was quick to come to my help. “Orange wine?? Never heard of it, love. Let me ask Louise, she’ll know”. Sadly, Louise was nowhere to be found. We will never know if Louise is part of the “in crowd” with regards to orange wine.

So I got in the car and headed across town to Waitrose. I had a screenshot of the wine from their website that Tom had shown me – it was an English wine as well, meaning double points for “on point” wine trends! I hopped around for a bit, then walked, then paced. Finally I caught the wineman, thrusted my phone in his face and asked where I could find this orange wine.

“Orange wine? Never heard of it.”

“But it’s here…on your website. Where can I find it, please?”

“You’ll have to order it online, then. You can have it delivered to your house, or to the store”

Little did Wineman know, I had booked in time with Cambridge power couple Andrew and Angelo to try out this wine – I needed it THEN. I stormed back to my car, jabbing into my phone to Tom about how I dislike Waitrose.

As I pulled out of the carpark, Waze took me through town to get home, and I spotted a little shining hut of light there next to the road. “Noel Young Wines“? Huh. I wonder if THEY can help me?

When I went inside the guy (Noel’s brother, it turns out) was serving another customer so I did a thorough search of the shop to see if I could spot any of this orange wine for myself. I do like to exhaust my own ability before asking for help.

Once he came over, I explained my conundrum. “Orange wine?”

“Hmm. Now, I have this” he handed me a bottle of Specogna Pinot Grigio. “By orange wine, do you mean a natural wine?”

“I have literally no idea what I mean by it. I just saw it in an article and I want to find it. I have done next to no research on this thing that I so very keenly want to write about”.

He didn’t look like he was judging me, just shrugged and said “well, this one here could be what you’re looking for…but many people don’t like it”

“…oh”

“and you really ought to drink it with food”

(Thinking of my plans to sit on the sofa with A&A downing the bottle sans food) “…oh”

We talked for a short while about wine trends, and how English wine is something people overlook, especially sparkling wine (note to self, write next wine post on English wine). Then I bought the bottle and headed home.

“Bro…the dude in the shop said that no one likes orange wine”

“Yeah, I’m not a fan of it myself”

Oh, poo. What have I just gone and done.

What’s more, it doesn’t seem to even be a true orange wine. It’s a “ramato”.

Copy and pasting from some dude on a wine forum:

“Oeil de Perdrix” refers to a very light rosé style that may have originated in Burgundy, but is now only popular in Neuchâtel, Switzerland (where it has a legal classification). It’s a wine made from Pinot Noir, with just a few hours of skin contact to give a light salmon pink hue to the wine.

“Ramato” refers to a (lit) copper or bronze coloured wine made from the white (albeit pink-skinned) grape Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, given around 4-24 hours of skin contact before pressing (and mostly therefore before fermentation)

“Orange wine” at least in the generally accepted modern usage refers to a wine made from white grapes, where the skins are left in contact with the must for some or all of the fermentation – and sometimes longer. So far Canada is the only country with an official classification for orange wines. They call them “macerated white wines” and require a minimum of seven days of skin contact for the wines to qualify.”

AWESOME.

So…how was the wine itself? It was really very nice. After having some with A&A on Saturday night, I’ve been having a small glass of it here and there this week, with food and without, and it’s fine with either. It has a heavier taste to white wine…sort of like a sherry? But not quite.

Look, guys, I told you I’m not a wine expert. I just drink it. I liked this a lot, though. Maybe not enough to buy another bottle (came in at around £18) but I would be very keen to get that bottle from Waitrose that was much cheaper. At least it claimed to be real orange wine.

Have you tried either ramato or orange wine? Let me know in the comments!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout out. Glad Noel Young Wines came through for you. “Ramato” means “auburn” in Italian and it’s made in an orange wine style. However, skin contact for the Specogna Pinot Grigio is only a few days so it’s not the full extent of an orange wine with skins left on for a much longer period in the fermentation process. It doesn’t pack quite the same punch but I think it was the perfect introduction for you.
    Pina at One Two Culinary Stew recently posted…Italian Sausage and Mushroom TortiglioniMy Profile

  2. Last year it was blue wine and now this 🙂 I am a huge wine drinker (okay.. that sounds alarming) but I haven’t tried both. Would love to though. Will ask the bottle shops here in Melbourne whether they sell orange wine.

  3. I am not a wine drinker by any stretch of imagination, but I enjoyed your Wine Quest story.
    Steven recently posted…Two They Might Be Giants Shows, Twenty Years ApartMy Profile

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