'Orange' wine makes New Year's splash
Thursday, December 31, 2015
We say "Orange is The New White." Others call it The New Rosé. Rather than the “new rosé,” consider orange wines an anti-rosé, with something of an inverse production process: While rosés are made from red grapes, with their skins removed early in the maceration time, orange wines are made from white grapes, which can stay with their skins—and even stems for an extended period, giving these wines a tannic structure that rosés generally lack.
So our Amber Folly was treated like a red wine — left to sit and ferment on its skins, which gives it depth and color unlike other white wines.
Blend: 100% skin fermented Semillon
Harvested: October 12, 2013
Pressed: October 22nd
Fermentation: 10 days in open top vats.
Undoubtedly you will at first notice the unusual color, and then perhaps the nose which evokes the countryside after rainfall or seashells plucked from tide pools, and when finally you do taste the Amber Folly you will know it is a thoroughly unique wine for its salted mango and fresh walnut mid-palate and white asparagus and dried lime aftertaste. This is for good reason. The process used to make this, our newest wine, is actually as old as the hills. The Caucus Mountains, to be exact, where winemaking has been underway for 6,000+ years, and where the technique of skin-fermenting white varietals is still widespread, particularly in Georgia. Those who can appreciate the complexity of a Rose may find themselves beguiled by orange wine, its inverted twin. The Yorkville Highlands are a far cry from the Caucuses though, with plenty of room to do things differently.
Orange wine will excite fans of food and wine pairing.
If you’re trying orange wine for the first time, it’s critical to enjoy them with an appropriate food — salty, smoky, richer fare like hard cheeses and cured meats are a safe bet — at a place that cares about them.
Californian white wines usually get their volume and weightiness from alcohol and oak, but the tannic structure means that the old white grape/white fish standby is outdated. But resist the urge to pair it with orange chicken! Reaching instead for more complex fishy tastes, such as smoked cod and curried mussels. However, if you were served orange wine at a Supra (traditional Georgian feast), you would likely pair it with Pkhali: spiced eggplant slow cooked with walnuts then rolled up like sushi and covered in pomegranate seeds, or a lamb and rice dish. The idea is simple, when the food is too intense for a white wine, but light enough that a red would overwhelm it, reach for the “Orange.”
The combination of the use of Semillon and the tannic structure means that this is an ageable wine.