Say Hello to Orange Wine
Allow us to formally introduce you to Amber Folly, one of our favorite wines here at Yorkville Cellars. And no, you’re not seeing things, this really is an orange wine! Not white, not Rosé — orange.
At first glance, some might assume that this wine isn’t made from grapes or that maybe it’s some new, trendy blend, but orange wine is actually just as ancient as red or white, albeit untraditional. Surprisingly, it dates back some 5,000 years, but we can all roughly agree that its big revival came about in the Republic of Georgia in 1998 when two Italian winemakers believed that white grapes were capable of producing more complex flavor profiles than previously known in winemaking. This belief led to an experiment, which ultimately led to an orange wine! It’s this untraditional production method, however, that lends a certain magic to the end result
While orange wine can be made from any number of white grape varietals, our orange wine starts with golden Sémillon grapes, which are native to France’s Bordeaux region. The crop is beautiful and heavy on the vine, but it’s the vinification technique that creates the eye-catching copper color in the glass. While Sémillon grapes are a white varietal, they’re handled like red grapes when it comes to the production of orange wine at Yorkville Cellars. With a typical harvest of white grapes, the skins are removed before fermentation begins. But after the Sémillon meets the crush pad we don’t touch the skins. We leave them in the liquid during fermentation just as we would for a red varietal. That’s the secret to the intense orange hue and the lingering tannic structure that you won’t find in Rosés.
The phenolics (compounds that ultimately affect the taste, color, and mouthfeel of the wine) trapped in the grape skins, soak with the juice in our open-top fermenting bins creating not only dynamic color but also flavor. It takes about two weeks for ambient native yeasts to convert the grape sugars to alcohol. Then after a few months of aging in French oak barrels, we are rewarded with a complex, rustic structure of wild honeysuckle, peaches, and apricots in our Amber Folly.
At Yorkville Cellars, we pride ourselves on making outstanding wine, and the Amber Folly is no exception. The Sémillon’s tannins are more subtle than in a red, but the natural layers of stone fruit, flowers, and nectar are slightly more pungent than in a typical white. The elegance of this vintage, orange wine is a perfect intervention between its red and white counterparts, both in color and in taste. If you’re looking for the perfect dish to pair with our Amber Folly, we suggest foods with hearty and robust flavor profiles, like eggplant curry or spicy cowboy beans.
Ready to give orange wine a try? You’re in luck - we just released our third vintage of the Amber Folly and it’s definitely calling your name. Get yours soon, while supplies last!