Orange Wine

Posted October 31, 2016

Stacy Brody


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Happy Halloween! There are pumpkins (and pumpkin lattes) everywhere. I thought I’d give you a treat to read while you're answering the door for trick-or-treaters: an article on orange wines.

Orange wines aren’t pumpkin orange or traffic cone orange in color (that’d be frightening). Rather, they are varying shades of gold or amber. And they aren’t made from oranges either.

So, how do they get that beautiful color?

Before we answer that, a bit of Wine 101:

- To make white wines, juice is pressed off the skins and fermented without skin contact.

- To make red wines, juice is fermented on the skins to extract color, tannin, flavor, etc.

Orange wines are made with traditional white wine grape varieties but with red wine methods. That is, they are made with varying levels of skin contact, from hours to days.
Orange wines were the original white wines
The world didn’t always have modern wine presses and temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. You couldn't make crisp, delicate white wines like you can today. If you had white wine grapes, you made them with skins and all, just like with the reds.
There are many shades of orange

At Cotar, the wines macerate on skins 4 to 10 days, and the wines are aged 2 to 3 years. Their 2011 Vitovska was featured in Decanter magazine’s article: No added sulfur wine: Five to try. The wine earned a 90-point review:

"Branko Cotar has been producing wine with no added SO2 and a week of skin contact for 40 years. The region’s indigenous Vitovska has lovely aromatics of pear and apricot, with a bit of wet stone. Taut and sculpted, with a bone-dry, umami finish. Pairs wonderfully with Chinese seasonings." March 2016

Kabaj’s Ravan was made with only 24 hours of skin contact, followed by 12 months in French oak and 4 months in bottle. The winery describes the wine, 

"The wine, made of the grape variety once called Tocai Friulano or Briški Tokaj, is crystalline with a straw yellow colour. Its bouquet is very fruity, with ripe peach, pear and apricot kernel aroma. The sensation of fruitiness persists in the mouth with a fresh and pleasant medium length finish. It goes well with white meat and fish."

When it's Time: Drink Orange Wine...

  1. At cellar temperature, i.e. 55 F

  2. When you want white-wine-like acidity and red-wine-like tannins

  3. With foods that are boldly flavored

  4. For the almost-savory umami character

  5. On Halloween and all year long

​​Happy Halloween: Enjoy all your tricks and treats. 


Item: 97244

750 mL

Retail: $24.99

$20.98 per btl

Product Label.

Cotar Vitovska

90 Decanter

Item: 97650

750 mL

Retail: $34.99

$29.99 per btl