"The Polarizing Power of Orange Wine": Our Favorites from the Latest NY Times Article!

Posted by Mark Grimaldi on May 29th 2020

"The best orange wines succeed not because they are orange but because they express nuances of beauty and culture in profound and distinctive ways."
- Eric Asimov
Eric Asimov, the New York Times wine writer, just published an article highlighting some of the world's best orange wines. Despite its long history, orange wine remains a controversial category. But it's one we believe in, and one we've been beating the drum for since our doors opened seven years ago. Indeed, it was heartening to see some of our absolute favorites in the category, wines we've had on our shelves whenever we could, highlighted in the article. We're taking this opportunity to spread the good word on orange wine and share these wines with you.

But first, what's orange wine? In short, it's wine made from white grapes, made like a red wine. In "classic" white winemaking, the juice of the grapes is separated from the skins and allowed to ferment on its own. This is in contrast to a red wine, where the juice ferments in contact with the red skins of the grapes, taking on color, structure and flavor. An "orange wine" – a colloquial, not technical, term for the color many of the wines take on – is one made from white grapes in which the skins are allowed to stay in contact with the juice throughout the fermentation. The resulting wine is in a category of its own, often tannic like a red, with flavors reminiscent of tea, dried fruits, and herbs. The best examples are totally singular experiences.

And while many treat them as a new trend, orange wines have a long and important history. To quote Mr. Asimov, "...wines made like this are the oldest form of whites, stretching back centuries if not millenniums. In some parts of the world, like the Republic of Georgia, white wine never stopped being made this way, despite formidable political and cultural pressure during the years of Soviet domination to adopt more conventional methods of mass production." Orange wine's origins may lie in Georgia, but Italy is now the hotbed of orange winemaking. Friuli's Josko Gravner and Umbria's Paolo Bea helped bring the style back to prominence, and Giulio Armani of La Stoppa makes one of the best orange wines in the world year in and year out. All of them are on offer below.

These wines certainly aren't for everyone; they require an open mind and palate. And many of them are rightfully ridiculed as being oxidized or otherwise flawed. But when they're great, as in the case of all the wines on offer here, they can offer some of the best wine experiences you'll have. We're offering them individually and sharply discounted in 4-packs at some of the best prices in the country.

To order, please click here. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to respond to this email or call us at (607) 319-0500. Wines arrive Friday, March 15th.

1) Aphros Vinho Verde Loureiro Amphorae 2018 750ml
Sale Price: $25.99/btl!! BUY NOW
Mixed 4-Pack Price: $22.99/btl!!

100% Loureiro crushed, destemmed, and pressed by artisanal processes (read: made in a facility without electricity), then fermented spontaneously on the skins in beeswax-lined clay amphorae. The juice remains in contact with the skins for about six months. Bottled without filtration. Aphros produces wines that are an expression of their region, reflecting the unique soil conditions and varietals that are exclusive to the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. Vasco Croft leads this project as winemaker, with Rui Cunha as a consultant winemaker. The Aphros team harvests from 3 different Quintas, the oldest of which dates back to the 16 century. The sites are farmed using biodynamic techniques, producing harmony between soil, plants, animals, and human activity.
Eric Asimov, New York Times: "From Portugal, the Aphros Phaunus, made of the loureiro grape, was fermented in amphorae. It’s bright, lively and balanced."

2) La Stoppa Emilia Bianco "Ageno" 2015 750ml
Sale Price: $44.99/btl!! BUY NOW
Mixed 4-Pack Price: $39.99/btl!!

Primarily Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, a wildly aromatic grape indigenous to Emilia-Romagna. Ageno offers a range of aromas and flavors you don’t find anywhere else: wildflowers, peaches, and juicy tropical fruit commingle with black tea and warm spices. Full-bodied and tannic with
Eric Asimov, New York Times: "La Stoppa, Elena Pantaleoni’s wonderful estate in Emilia-Romagna, makes Ageno, a dark, spicy, herbal wine that is made mostly of malvasia. It’s a lovely, full-on example."

3) Paolo Bea Umbria Bianco "Arboreus" 2012 750ml
Sale Price: $62.99/btl!! BUY NOW
Mixed 4-Pack Price: $56.99/btl!!

One of the early success stories in the modern-day revival of skin-macerated white wines, Bea's legendary "Arboreus" originates from exceedingly old Trebbiano Spoletino vines (up to 130 years of age) in the village of Spoleto. A striking instance of non-standard training, these ancient vines wrap themselves around the trunks and branches of trees (hence the wine's name), growing and ripening high above the ground. Bea picks the fruit quite ripe, and conducts an extended skin maceration.
Eric Asimov, New York Times: "An excellent example...Paolo Bea's Arboreus [is] a waxy, bright and juicy wine made of trebbiano spoletino."

4) Gravner Ribolla Gialla 2010 750ml
Sale Price: $74.99/btl!! BUY NOW
Mixed 4-Pack price: $66.99/btl!!

The wine that started it all. 100% Ribolla Gialla from Friuli macerated for 90+ days and aged in amphora.
Eric Asimov, New York Times: "Energetic, with aromas and flavors that, like many orange wines, tend toward pressed flowers and dried fruits rather than fresh ones...The Gravner wines are vibrant yet intense. They are deeply philosophical, yet not without joy."

To order, please click here. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to respond to this email or call us at (607) 319-0500. Wines arrive Friday, March 15th.