First off, calm down. We’re not about to tell you to stop drinking rosé. Pop a bottle and pour a glass as you’re reading this, if you’d like.
But as we shift from summer beaches to fall leaves, and from crisp Bibb lettuce salads to warm grain bowls, we’d like to suggest another option for your drinking pleasure. Enter orange wine.
Even if you’re not an orange wine aficionado (yet!), you’ve likely heard of it. Probably from that insider-y friend who’d have given you a pitying look if you didn’t pretend you knew exactly what he or she was talking about. Orange wine is often and unfairly categorized as “that weird wine that my snobby wine friend keeps blabbing about.” With the right tools, however, the orange stuff can be totally approachable.
Flavor-wise, white wine is to orange wine what fresh custard is to crème brulee —you’ve just further developed the flavors. With orange wine, this happens by leaving the grape juice on the grape skins for longer than you would with a typical white, giving it more structure and making it imminently pairable.
Like rosé, orange wine comes in many different styles and we shouldn’t leave it all for the wine nerds. We’re calling it — orange wine is the rosé of fall.
You Like: Rosé in General (and Aren’t So Sure About This Whole Orange Wine Thing)
Try: Saumur Blanc ‘Linnea,’ Filliatreau – 2015
It’s a bit of a stretch to call this an orange wine, but it does spend a small amount of time macerating on the skins. Consider it a gateway orange wine. It’s an affordable way to start introducing your palate to the unique textural and flavor magic of orange wine. It’s also delicious with your favorite soft cheese. Average price: $15
You Like: Old-World Rosé
Try: Kisi, DOQI – 2014
Orange wine may feel new and trendy to us, but the Georgians have been making it for 8,000 years. In this DOQI made with Királeányka grapes, the wine rests on the skins for six months underground in clay pots called “amphora.” Expect notes of tea leaves, quince, and rose petals. It’s delightful with spicy biryani. Average price: $23
You Like: Sparkling, Off-Dry Rosé
Try: ‘Paleokerisio’ Dom. Glinavos – 2015
The Epirus area of northwestern Greece has a long history of making off-dry sparkling wines. Domaine Glinavos makes this “Paleoskerio” —meaning “old-fashioned” — in the traditional style of the region. With notes of tropical fruit punch and baked pear, this wine makes a charming companion to a warm quinoa salad or rice pilaf. Average price: $13
You Like: Provencal Rosé
Try: Amphora Zagreo, Fiano Roccamonfina, I Cacciagalli – 2013
Provencal rosé is wonderfully versatile. It’s not too serious, not too playful, and it pairs well with salads, fish, burgers, or really whatever fare you want to throw at it. If you’re a fan of that “best-of-all-worlds” style, try this amphora-aged Fiano from Campania. After a year in amphora, it develops notes of pink peppercorn and mandarin. It’s especially awesome with pork tacos. Average price: $37
You Like: To Drink Rosé in the Hamptons
Try: Channing Daughters, ‘Ramato’ – 2014
Christopher Tracy, the winemaker for Hamptons-based Channing Daughters, is known for his personality-filled winemaking. His Pinot Grigio-based “Ramato” is anything but basic. The skin contact transforms the expected Pinot Grigio notes of yellow apple and underripe peach to preserved, spiced lemon, and candied almonds. Try it with roast chicken. Average price: $24
You Like: Tavel Rosé
Try: Ribolla Gialla, Gravner – 2006
The original brosé, Tavel was reportedly among Hemingway’s favorites. It spends more time on the skins than most, developing a deeper raspberry color and heavier tannins. For those who prefer a bit more bulk, Gravner is a hefty option from an iconic orange wine producer. Its complex Ribolla combines traditional style with modern production, and benefits from decanting and a slight chill. If the price tag blows your dinner budget, pair it with cheap Chinese takeout — the two are lovely together. Average price: $65
You Like: Doesn’t Matter, As Long As It’s Pink
Try: Milan Nestarec, ‘Podfuck’ – 2015
Pinot Gris is a bit of a weirdo. Some grapes are white and some are deep purple. When you let the wine macerate in those skins, you get a pink wine that’s also technically an orange wine. Much like the grape it’s made of, this wine is a little strange. When the winemaker, Nestarac, gave it to one of his friends to try, he asked if it was a “Podfuk” (fake). It’s not, but Nestarac thought it would make a nice name. The “c” is just for fun. Pair with a burger and never look back. Average price: $51