🧡 Drink Better Orange Wines
All the colours of the (orange) rainbow, from light and mellow to obnoxiously funky.
Orange wine. Amber wine. Skin contact. Tannin balls. Groovy juice. It goes by a few names, we may have made up a couple. Here is the thing: if you go into a bar and ask for an ‘orange wine’ you could, really, get any number of wines in every shade. Like a rainbow.
Before we speed ahead to the actual wines, I should probably mention a bit about how it’s made. Skin contact wines are produced much the same way you’d make white wine, only the clear grape juice is left to ferment with its skins, seeds, sometimes stalks and other phenolic components. The longer you leave them on, the more tannin, colour and texture you will get. Kind of like how a tea bag works in hot water.
Two days: not much colour. Three weeks: quite a bit of colour. Six months: basically pink or light red. Longer? You probably don’t want to drink it, and weirdly at this stage, the wine will start to lose all colour. Wine is science and science is crazy and here is the orange rainbow. As as the Skittles marketing team would say, TASTE IT.
WINE 1: WORLDS APART HOPE FOREST
Drink this if: you’re wining and dining someone new to natural wine, like grandma.
Days on skins: 3 days.
On the orange rainbow: light and clean and jubey.
Why it’s good: it’s just a good wine, the perfect intro. There’s a bit of old oak, it’s textural, it’s tropical. The skin contact element is so light touch, it’s basically a classic-ish sauv and don’t grandmas love to down those. Maybe even add a splash of soda or some ice cubes, if that’s how she rolls. Do your thing.
WINE 2: CRÉ SAUVIGNON BLANC
Drink this if: you’re going to the beach and you want something refreshing but not boring but you also don’t want to be the weird friend with the weird wine.
Days on skins: 4 days.
On the orange rainbow: same as above but with a bit more weight and texture.
Why it’s good: So you overthink your wine choices? Hey, you just want everyone to be happy!! It’s nice you care so much :). This one’s got a bit of old oak again and a big chunk of acid, but it’s still impeccably balanced. By two young lads in the Yarra Valley having a crack, which is all you can ask for really.
WINE 3: LATTAVINO GOOD TIMES HALF MAGNUM
Drink this if: you want some fizz, but you also want some skin contact. For good times, obviously.
On the orange rainbow: right down the middle.
Days on skins: not many, if any.
Why it’s good: the fizz means this wine is about as fresh as wine can get. The skin contact element is light touch, but you’re still getting that really nice colour and some grippiness in the mouth as you’re drinking. Good old Owen on the ‘half magnum.’ LOL. For more of his hair-brained ideas, here’s our Good Chat.
WINE 4: MONASTERO SUORE VITORCHIANO RUSCUM
Drink this if: you want to give someone a religious experience (it’s made in a literal convent).
On the orange rainbow: we’re getting there—plenty of tannin and grip.
Days on skins: 14 days.
Why it’s good: Paolo Bea, who is one of the original Italian natural legends, helped set up this winery in a convent near Rome and still looks after the wines. That’s one reason it’s good. The other reason it’s good is because it’s really good—dried apricot, black tea, orange candy good. Lastly, we only get about 48 bottles a year, so it’s also kind of rare. Bottom line: rare and good.
WINE 5: SETE SAFARA
Drink this if: you want to get adventurous or you want to bring someone to the other side of the orange wine border. Safara = safari in Swahili.
On the orange rainbow: edging into heavy-hitter territory.
Days on skins: 3 days.
Why it’s good: besides the whole young couple restoring ancient Italian vineyards with organic principles thing, this white blend is also an absolute pleasure to drink. Why? It’s fresh. The acid is huge. But it’s still a little crazy, enough to make you or the friend you’re trying to impress go woo.
WINE 6: FARNEA EMMA
Drink this if: you want to shift paradigms, blow minds etc.
On the orange rainbow: the pot of gold. Welcome.
Days on skins: 21 days.
Why it’s good: I’ve drunk this wine with hard out natty haters and it still blows minds. It’s a wild style, a blend of Moscato Giallo and Bianco from pretty old vines in Teolo and a little something else from a small parcel nearby. But it still has elegance and refinement because Marco, the grower and maker, is a genius. If you can’t beat them, bite them.