Saturday, July 2, 2016

There are Red and White, but Orange Wines Too?

We have officially circled all 20 regions of Italy and are back for our 2nd tour around with a little twist.  Our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group this month discovers the orange wines of Italy as well as some food and/or travel to some orange wine regions like Sicily and Friuli.  A big thank you to Jeff of Food Wine Click for organizing this month while I await the arrival of my little one within the next few days. 

We all have our favorites whether we enjoy red, white or pink wine, but what about orange wine? Does it exist? Absolutely, and it doesn't mean a wine has gone bad. You'll find orange wines, or skin-fermented wines, in some of our favorite wine regions of Italy.

So exactly what is an orange wine?

Just as rose' wines are made from the juice being in contact with the skins for a short maceration time, the same goes with orange wines. They are basically white wines where the juice is left in contact with the skins and seeds for a certain period of time. It's a very natural process. Usually these wines have a distinct taste from the oxidation that they go through. The intensity of the result depends on how long the winemaker chooses to leave the juice in contact with the skins and seeds which affects the extraction of color, bitterness, tannins, etc.

How an orange wine is made
During fermentation @ Radikon

What do orange wines taste like?

These wines will typically have a rustic nature with nuttiness, honeyed notes, some sourness and are dry, full bodied wines. Some people love them or hate them. As with all wine it's just a matter of personal preference and that's ok, but it's all about putting yourself out there and trying new things.

What is an orange wine?

Where are orange wines produced?

The first winemaker to undertake this orange winemaking experiment was Josko Gravner back in 1997. In Italy orange wines are most commonly found in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region primarily made from the ribolla giallo grape.  A couple popular producers in Friuli are Gravner and Radikon.  In Sicily you'll find Azienda Agricola Cos making orange wines with the grecanico grape. You will also find some versions of orange wines in the Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Umbria and others. They're are also produced in other countries outside of Italy like Slovenia and Georgia.

Let me know if you've had the opportunity to try orange wines. I'm curious what your thoughts were and if you liked them.

Preview of What's to Come Join us this Saturday, July 2 at 11am EST on Twitter at ‪#‎ItalianFWT‬ to chat about skin-fermented white wines from Italy. Here is a preview of what's to come from our Italian blogging group: 

  • David at Cooking Chat shares “Bressan Pinot Grigio: Tasting an Orange Wine
  • Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog shares “Caspri Luna Blu and Grilled Moroccan Chicken
  • Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Piattino di Polpo e Patate with Skerk’s Malvasia
  • Mike at Undiscovered Italy shares “Gray Matters
  • Jill at L’Occasion shares “What Your Madre Never Told You About Orange Wine
  • Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva shares “The Aperitivo Hour with Orange Wine & Walnut Pesto
  • Michelle at Rockin Red Blog shares “What Color is Your Wine? Mine May Be Orange
  • Li at The Wining Hour shares “The Road to Orange Wine in Umbria
  • Jeff at FoodWineClick shares “Orange Duck, Orange Wine"

    Next month on Saturday August 5th, hosted by The Wining Hour, we'll discover the rose' wines of Italy as well as food and travel to Tuscany or Puglia.  If you'd like to be part of our group please reach out to me, vinotravels at!

    All pictures compliments of Radikon, a popular producer of orange wines.


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