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5 To Try: Orange Wines

orange wine

By now you’ve likely heard wine drinkers toss around the term “orange wine.” The style—technically a skin-fermented wine made from a white varietal—goes way back, especially in European countries like Italy and Georgia. Eager to stretch the flavor and structure parameters of sometimes linear grapes, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, even Gewürztraminer, adventurous winemakers are producing impressive orange wines this side of the Atlantic as well. No, they’re not always orange and no, there are no outside ingredients added in the form of citrus. Instead, the wines, which are often darker and hazier than their fresh-pressed counterparts, can offer broader flavor profiles, added tannin and a longer cellar lifespan. Here are a handful worth trying, including a couple of Old World standbys.

Anne Amie | Huntington Hill Rosé of Pinot Gris 2015
Incredibly pristine for an orange wine, Anne Amie’s offers a lemon-lime nose with flavors of peach, pineapple and lemon curd on the palate. The fruit flavors are chased by a gentle nudge of tannin and a subtle sweetness. $25, anneamie.com

Bressan | Verduzzo 2007
A classic producer from northern Italy, Bressan has been turning out excellent orange wines for years. The 2007 shows what a well-constructed orange wine can become over time: soft, complex, tannic and lasting, with a bronze hue and fino sherry notes. Made from friulano, the wine macerates for two days before being soft-pressed and aged on the lees in barriques. Get ahold of the current vintage if you can. $45, bressanwines.com

Atwater | Skin-Fermented Chardonnay 2014
Compared to the traditional, near-clear standard Chardonnay, Atwater’s skin-fermented version offers quite a bit of color. Cloudly and deeply golden in color, this wine yields big apricot notes, with hits of fennel, golden raisins and an underlying brininess. Hailing from New York, it’s the product of hands-off enology—unfined, unfiltered and barrel-aged for six months. $17, atwatervineyards.com

Reuilly | Pinot Gris 2014
The Reuilly drinks like a pinot gris on steroids, with bold flavors of pear, peach and citrus rind. This wine should mature nicely over the next few years and is already showing a slightly oxidized, honey-kissed finish. There’s an unique sour character to the wine that makes it especially memorable. Look for lingering bottles of the ’14 vintage at your local bottle shop. $20, kermitlynch.com

Brennan | Cellar Select Viognier 2015
Self-described as the first orange wine from Texas, this offering from Brennan Vineyards spotlights the Rhone varietal Viognier. It offers honeycomb, melon and pistachio flavors before exiting with a bracing, zesty kick. $25, brennanvineyards.com


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