Orange wines are also called amber due to the orange or amber tint of color that they acquire during maceration on the skins, seeds, grape ridges. In English, such maceration is called “skin-contact” – in contact with the grape skin.
Oranges are aged in clay amphoras buried in the ground, which are called qvevri. This method of production is called the Akhetian method. Also used is aging in cement vats and oak barrels.
Otherwise, these wines are made in white, i.e. from white grapes. Therefore, they are classified as both white and orange. The most common in Georgia, Slovenia, Italy, also produced in other wine-producing countries of the Old and New Worlds: in the USA, Portugal, Austria, France, Chile, South Africa, etc.
Although extremely rare, there are also oranges from red grapes made by prolonged skin contact or, in other words, slow maceration of must from red berries for several months. The finished drink has a pink-orange hue.
It is believed that orange wines were white wines before the advent of more advanced production technologies, and this ancient technology attracts precisely with its authenticity, naturalness. This is a bright representative of the direction of natural wines. Accordingly, they are made from white grape varieties. These are Georgian Rkatsiteli, Kisi, Mtsvane, Italian Ribolla jalla, Cataratto, Blanketta, Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Neuburger, Weissburgunder, and also Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, Malvasia, Traminer and Gewürztraminer. This list is open.
They often have a hazy, opaque color, although not always, depending on whether the wine has been filtered or not. The taste differs from the usual whites: these are more aromatic and tannic wines, dense, with tones of oxidation, honey, quince, dried apricots, tea, chamomile, nuts, etc.
It is believed that orange wines should not be opened immediately after purchase, it is better to age in the bottle for a better balance, and decant for about an hour before serving. Serve chilled, at a temperature of about 12-14 degrees. They are gastronomic and go well with Georgian cuisine, without being limited to it. They will also accompany oriental: Asian, African and Arabic cuisines.