Welcome to Chow with Me, where Chowhound’s executive editor Hana Asbrink shares all of the irresistible things she’s cooking, eating, reading, buying, and more. Today: An orange wine subscription for orange wine lovers, old and new.
Have you heard of orange wine? Perhaps from that adventurous friend who introduced you to the wonderful world of natural wines a few years back. Or maybe you’ve seen a couple of orange wine options sneak onto the wine list at your favorite wine bar where the proprietor always looks impossibly cool in a $5 thrifted tee and very expensive Japanese denim.
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Regardless of where you are in your orange wine journey, let’s get one thing straight: Orange wine refers just to the color, not the grape variety. Orange wine is made from white wine grapes, but the skins are left on to allow for fermentation and contact with the juice. This skin-contact technique is more commonly seen when making red wine, which explains the orange hues (which range from pale straw to dark amber), and the different levels of tannin and taste that result. There may be a growing trend of orange wines in bars and restaurants these days, but orange wines can actually be traced back thousands of years to the country of Georgia, where it’s referred to as amber wine.
If you’re curious to learn more about and taste this wine category for yourself, sommelier Doreen Winkler has created Orange Glou, an orange wine club membership offering monthly subscriptions at three bottles ($105/month) or six bottles ($195/month). The orange and natural wine expert handpicks a selection of sparkling and still orange wines that aren’t readily available to the public.
The three bottles I had a chance to taste ranged the gamut from a zippy pét-nat (short for pétillant-naturel) that would please any fans of lower-alcohol ciders, a more earthy and aromatic Czech bottle of wine, and an Italian orange wine with a great streak of salinity. It wouldn’t be fair to categorize orange wine style as a whole, but what I love about the ones I’ve tried so far is that they’ve all got character, whether it’s through a bit of funk or texture. None are ever sweet, per se, but you can usually detect some honey, stone, or dried fruit notes on the taste buds. I also like wines with balanced acidity and a bit of chill (even the reds), which is usually the temperature at which to enjoy orange wines.
Libbey Signature Greenwich 12-Piece Wine Glass Party Set, $78
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Even if you don’t have that wine- or drink-loving friend in your life, you do have Doreen hand-selecting a curated variety of orange wines for you—and that might be even better. (Psst, a monthly Orange Glou membership would also make the perfect gift for that aforementioned friend.)
Header image courtesy of Orange Glou