8 Orange Wines We’re Loving Right Now

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Orange wine, also known as amber or skin-contact wine, is made similarly to red varietals, mingling grape skins with their juice during fermentation. This is different from traditional winemaking practices for white or blanc wine, for which grapes skins are removed prior to fermentation.

Visually, the grape skins impart a deeper, naturally occurring orange/amber hue that stands in contrast to the traditional golden of white wines. Texturally, as with red wine, the inclusion of skins means the tannic quality of the wine will be more apparent. This adds to the weight of the wine’s body as well. Due to reserved tannins, another benefit to orange wine is that it can be more stable in the bottle, allowing it to remain drinkable after the cork has popped longer than some whites.

How Orange Wine Is Changing Australian Wine Culture

Plus, there’s something about orange wine that feels downright autumnal. Our advice? Slip into your favorite armchair, put up your feet and prepare to enter the pumpkin-hued world of orange wine.

Anselmo Mendes 2020 Contacto Alvarinho (Vinho Verde)

93 Points Wine Enthusiast

Born and bred in the Minho Valley, Anselmo Mendes finds close ties with the region’s native grape, Alvarinho. This skin-contact wine brings out a rich, textured side to the variety. It is ripe, dense and full of rich citrus flavors. Drink from 2022. #31 Enthusiast 100 2021. —Roger Voss

$20 Wine-Searcher

Biokult 2019 Naken Made with Organic Grapes White (Burgenland)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Pink-hued and funky, this skin-contact orange wine brims with clementine and orange peel notes on the nose, supported by an overtone of honeysuckle. The light palate has a texture reminiscent of citrus pith and tingles with freshness, while clementine and white pepper notes are highlighted by the bone-dry nature. It is compelling and wonderfully light. #70 Enthusiast 100 2020 —Anne Krebiehl MW

$19 Vivino

Good Intentions 2018 Gris Diddly Dee Pinot Gris (Mount Gambier)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Pinot Gris on skins, so technically this is a skin-contact white, although it looks and tastes like a rosé. Don’t let the cloudy appearance deter you. It’s highly perfumed yet delicate, like a summer breeze that carries scents of cherries and apricots still on the tree, wild strawberries in the fields, and stones along a nearby stream. Feathery light on the palate, the wild red berries are crunchy and fresh thanks to bright acidity. A spicy, cocktail bitters flavor adds a base note. Drink chilled to kick off an evening of merriment. Editor’s Choice Christina Pickard

$29 Wine-Searcher

Grosgrain 2020 Skin-Contact Les Collines Vineyard Sémillon (Walla Walla Valley (WA))

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

This is a one-of-a-kind wine in the state, fermented 14 days on skins and aged in clay amphorae and stainless steel. Aromas of lemon balm, herb, graphite and cream lead to a textured palate backed by bright, lemony acidity, with clay notes throughout. It’s a statement for this producer and valley. #94 Enthusiast Top 100 2021 Sean P. Sullivan

$40 Wine-Searcher

Reyneke 2018 Reserve Biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc (Stellenbosch)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

There’s a richness right off the bat of this pour, expressed in scents of lightly toasted apple skin, nectarine pit, melon rind, orange oil and pressed lemon verbena. A delicate flinty overlay adds lovely depth to the experience. On the palate, riper and rounder tones of just-ripe peach and mango unfold, though they’re briskly countered by a pronounced cut of acidity and vibrancy that results in a mouth-watering flush through to the finish. On the back of the close, pithy lime and bitter melon sensations linger long. —Lauren Buzzeo

$22 Vivino

Tinto Amorio 2021 Monje Skin-Contact Orange Gewürztraminer (Paso Robles)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

This uniquely delicious “amber” wine, which is more of a rosé color in the glass and comes from Gewürztraminer grown in Paso Robles, begins with complex aromas of muddled plum and herbal tea. The fascinating palate is zesty with crisp plum flavors, yet dusted in hints of oregano, mint and sumac. Matt Kettmann

$32 Tinto Amorio

Cullen 2020 Amber Wilyabrup Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon (Margaret River)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

This vintage of Cullen’s skin-contact Sauvignon, Semillon blend needs to air in glass or decanter to open. When it does, it offers both herbal and honeyed characters alongside lemon peel and nectarine. A pithy bite adds interest to the palate, as does the zingy acidity and citrusy finish. Refreshing but with enough weight to be quite food friendly (goat cheese comes to mind as a potentially tasty pairing). C.P.

$37 Wine-Searcher

Fritsch 2021 Zeit Orange Grüner Veltliner (Weinland Österreich)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Cloudy and lovely skin-contact white, with a seductive texture and a vibrant palate. Wet stone and fleur de sel notes give it a savory feel, while orchard fruit notes make it appealing. Focused finish. Aleks Zecevic

$22 Wine-Searcher
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Published on September 27, 2022
Topics: Buying Guide