The Best Orange Wines for a Tasty Drink This Summer

(Evening Standard)

There are few things as refreshing as the first sip of a cold glass of wine as we enjoy an al fresco dinner in the summer heat.

Naturally, in warm weather we’d gravitate to a familiar rosé or white, but this summer the unexpected star of the show is orange wine.

What is orange wine, you ask me? Well, you’re not alone, many people – including us before we embarked on this boozy survey – have heard relatively little about it, let alone how to enjoy it or what to pair it with.

To find out more about this type of emerging wine, we spoke to Hannah CrosbieDalston Wine Club founder: “Georgian winemakers have been making skin-contact wine for thousands of years, but we’re only scratching the surface of its incredible potential.

“Making orange wine follows the same process as making white wine, with one crucial extra step. For white wine, the grapes are crushed and pressed immediately afterwards. When making orange wine, the broken skins are left in contact with the grape juice after crushing – this imparts additional layers of flavor, aroma and (of course) color”.

When it comes to wine pairings, Crosbie notes, “Orange wines are often indulgently aromatic and textured, making them the ideal pairing for infamously hard-to-pair cuisines such as Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.”

We tested eight orange wines and here are our verdicts.

Cramele Recas Solara Wine Orange 2021

We always appreciate the fizz, so this wine immediately hit the crowd and made us feel like we were enjoying a seasonal spritz. The bottle design was fun – an orange segment created to look like the sunset, and the color of the wine was exactly orange (which is surprisingly rare apparently).

Served over ice, this dry wine gave us that instant summer feeling and we could all see ourselves basking in the sun sipping a few too many glasses of this delicate Romanian wine. If the sun could be bottled, we imagine it would taste like this.

Buy now £9.95, the whiskey purse

Natural Wine Orange JP, Domaine Recas 2021

It was an impressive orange wine. From bottle to taste, our testers rated it highly. It was refreshing to see a vegan wine in the range, not to mention a wine with no added sugar, yeast or sulfates (does that mean no hangovers?!).

Testers noted it was slightly lighter – more like yellow than dark orange. If you’re looking for an orange wine that tastes smooth, almost like a blank canvas, then this is the one for you as we think it could be paired with almost anything and still taste great. Similar to others, the aftertaste is rather sweet and dry.

Buy now £9.95, the whiskey purse

Essensia Orange Muscat 2019

If you’re like us and tend to buy wine based on the aesthetics of the bottle and the label (as well as the discounted price, obviously), you’ll love this bottle. The fun abstract design was instantly eye-catching and the bright yellow and red colors complemented the darker wine perfectly.

Made from the rare Orange Muscat grape, it has the most distinctive flavor and shocked us with its sweetness. The sweet taste, coming from hints of apricots and marmalade, meant that while a sip or two was pleasant, drinking a large quantity would not be possible. A small glass in place of your traditional dessert wine would work perfectly at the end of a meal.

Buy now £13.95, The Whiskey Exchange

Domaine Le Soula, Maceration of Soula White No 19 Orange Wine, 75cl

From the first appearances, this bottle impressed us with its elegant design and high-end label. Slightly lighter in color than other orange wines, our testers correctly guessed that this is one of the most expensive in our roundup.

Coming from the Fenouillèdes, an old road on the border of Spain and France, it combines the two influences. When tasting it felt slightly heavier and more complex, with some tasters comparing it to the smoky taste of Australian wines. t linger at all.

Buy now £35.00, Fortnum & Mason

Rigal Orange Wine 75Cl

At the cheapest bottle on our list, our testers felt this one was on the higher end of the spectrum thanks to its minimalist design – but that’s not the case at all.

We were excited to taste it but were slightly apprehensive due to the strong initial smell. We found it to have a very sharp, almost acidic taste that lasted a bit longer than we would have liked in the mouth. After persevering and having another drink (or two), we got used to the taste and figured it would work well with the right food pairing. Save this one for your next on-the-go pad thai or spring roll.

Buy now £7.50, Morrisons

Villa Melnik, Orange Wine, 2019

For those of us who don’t list sommelier under “skills” on our resume, having information on the back of a bottle is extremely helpful. This bottle was not only elegant and well-designed, but it provided detailed information about the orange wine process, flavor and pairings – which we attempted to take in as we gulped it down. The unique flavor was certainly distinct yet simultaneously unassuming – both at the start and in the aftertaste. We recommend it to adventurous drinkers who want to expand their wine tasting horizons.

Buy now £28.25, humble grape

Bizarra Extravaganza Orange Petit Manseng/Gros Manseng 2019

Straight from Uruguay, we have this ultra-cool orange wine featuring two retro pin-ups with green hair, yellow cat-eye sunglasses and a bold purple outfit. We found the wine as good as the bottle – our testers liked the light, crisp flavor, making it the perfect summer drink served cold. We also thought it would work as an aperitif or with some light snacks like a charcuterie board. With hints of apple and honey, it tastes like adult fruit juice.

Buy now £14.95, guest wines

Shirley M. Pinder