Does that immediately make you say: the new black? Or do you think, like us, of wine? The series has come to an end – gloriously so. But for the age-old orange wines, we think there are still many more episodes in store.
What is orange wine? The name, of course, refers to the colour. By making white wine the way red wine is made, but from white grapes (do you still follow us?), white wine becomes orange. Practically: white wine is normally made from pressed white grapes. Seeds and skins go on the compost pile. Red wine, on the other hand, is made by letting the red grapes ferment for a while with skins. This also happens with orange wine: the white grapes ferment for one to six months under so-called skin contact – something that takes on an extra dimension in these corona-times.
Furthermore, orange wine is often wine without standardised yeasts, without controlled temperatures, without sulphites, etc. This is because the origin of orange wines lies in Georgia. In Georgia, wine has been made from white grapes with skins for eight thousand years. The grapes underwent natural fermentation at low temperature in open kvevi – ceramic containers. Slovenia, too, probably has a long tradition of white wines with skins. It is therefore not surprising that the first orange wines to become widely known came from the Italian Friuli region, on the border with Slovenia.
Orange wine does not taste like white wine. Of course, there are big differences depending on the grape and the winemaking process, but in general the wines taste wilder, a little more bitter and in particular more powerful than the white classics.
This is also true of Elemental Bob’s orange wines. This one-man business about 100 kilometres from Cape Town produces very small quantities of wine and lets the elements do their job: earth, wind, water, fire, ether. Maker Craig Sheard sees his wines as an expression of his creativity and calls on us to use all our senses to enjoy them. At Paradisi Wines…