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.