Why Orange Wines Capture the Essence of Fall | Wine

Lagar de Costa Albariño Natural, Rías Baixas, Spain 2021 (£21, botteapostle.com; shrinetothevine.co.uk) There is something absolutely in tune with the times with orange wines, a relatively new category among wine merchants (or, more accurately, since they are based on the revival of an old tradition of winemaking, a “new-old” category). Partly it has to do with color: wherever they are on the spectrum from light gold to full amber, to use the palette of shades adopted by Britain’s leading importer of orange wines, Les Caves de Pyrene, they are reminiscent of a shade of leaf in an autumn wood. But the orange-autumn connection is also about the range of flavors and textures you’ll find in orange wines, which often have something of the orchard about them: even if the wines don’t taste like apple, pear, quince, or stone fruit (as they often do), they usually have the flavor and tannic chewiness of a Cox’s apple, as is the case with Galician producer Lagar de Costa’s gorgeous rendition, which also adds a hint of zesty citrus and salty minerals to the mix.

Fabien Jouves Skin Contact, France 2020 (from £28, brettshop.co.uk; corkandcask.co.uk) Orange wines are actually white wines in that they are made from white grapes but, rather than separating the juice from the skins before fermentation, winemakers choose to let the wine macerate for weeks or months. on the skins. It gives orange wines their red wine like tannin, plus the panoply of spices, nuts and herbs and dried flowers, even hop notes that fans of the style (and I include myself in that club ) find so appealing. How long maceration takes depends a lot on the winemaker: the team of siblings behind Lagar de Costa give their albariño grapes several weeks of maceration, for example. Fabien Jouves, who makes a range of superb natural-leaning wines (red, white and orange) in the Cahors region of south-west France, gives his blend of local varietals Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Muscat d ‘Alexandre, three months to bring the flavors of fresh dried tropical fruits and crisp tannins to his wonderful Skin Contact, which was lovely in 2020 and even better in 2021 about to hit the market.

Macerao Naranjo Orange Wine, Itata, Chile 2021 (£8.99, waitrose) The modern orange wine trend has its roots in northeastern Italy and modern master of the OG style Josko Gravner, who turned to ancient ways of making wine with the skins in clay amphorae traditional. The fashion has spread all over the world, and my recent favorites range from Dario Princic in Friuli to Menexes in Crete and Domaine Bohn in Alsace. Gravner himself was inspired by the amphorae tradition in Georgia and Armenia, and the modern Georgian clay winemaking scene is the source of many of the best contemporary orange wines. A superb and (for a style that isn’t always the easiest to find or cheapest to buy) relatively accessible introduction to the Georgian qvevri style, in which wine is both macerated and fermented on the skins in pots in traditional buried clay pots called qvevri, I was very impressed with the relatively pale and elegant yet intensely fragrant Qvevris Kisi Orange Wine 2021 (£14.99, at 40 Waitrose stores from November). Meanwhile, the same retailer has the delightfully floral and slightly grippy Chilean Macerao.

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Shirley M. Pinder