Orange wine is not a rosé or wine made of oranges, as someone may think. It is in fact a white wine made with a process for red wines. Around the world, and even in Slovenia, this is actually an old process of producing white wines, although its global popularity among gourmets and wine experts has only flashed in the 90’s. Apparently it was named orange by an English sommelier, and in some parts of the world it is also called amber wine because of its colour.
Orange wine, also known as skin-contact white wine, skin-fermented white wine, or amber wine, is a type of wine made from white wine grapes where the grape skins are not removed, as in typical white wine production, and stay in contact with the juice for days or even months. This contrasts with conventional white wine production, which involves crushing the grapes and quickly moving the juice off the skins into the fermentation vessel. The skins contain colour pigment, phenols and tannins that would normally be considered undesirable for white wines, while for red wines skin contact and maceration is a vital part of the winemaking process that gives red wine its color, flavor, and texture.
Orange wines are characterized as robust and bold with honey flavours of tropical berry, hazelnut, Brazilian nuts, mature apples, linseed oil, juniper, sourdough and dried orange peel. On the palate it is perceived as a dry wine as you can taste the tannins typical for red wines and the acidity of a fruit beer. Orange wine is often so intense that it is advisable to sit down when tasting your first sip.