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The history of Orange wine is as rich and fascinating as its unique taste. It takes us to picturesque Georgia, where the wine is made in Quevris in the traditional Kakheti style by maceration. This ancient method, in which wine is aged in large clay vessels buried in the earth, is probably the oldest of its kind, dating back to ancient times in Georgia as far as 5000 years.
Amphorae, the common storage and transport vessels for liquids at the time, were used specifically for wine production and storage. Buried in the ground, they provided optimal static and climatic conditions. This precious heritage lives on in Georgia to this day, and since the late 20th century has also found renewed international appeal - from Italy to Germany, from Slovenia to France.
It is a journey back in time to an era when grape varieties such as Sylvaner, known for its thick skin, were crushed in the vineyards and often not pressed until the next day. These traditional methods, once forgotten due to changing consumer tastes and motorization, are now experiencing a renaissance and are being used deliberately to create distinct, characterful wines.
The art of production - Orange wine
The making of Orange wine is a poem of patience and craftsmanship. In quevri, barrels or tanks, the wine ages for weeks and months through maceration. This long contact with the must allows for the extraction of more tannins and colorants, giving the wine its characteristic dark yellow to orange color.
Orange wines are true works of art - oxidative, with a strong and complex texture, often cloudy and taking some getting used to for some palates. They reveal more tannins than ordinary white wines and take you into a world where the varietal character of the grape varieties sometimes fades into the background to make way for new taste experiences.
The production of orange wine also enjoys great popularity outside the Georgian borders. Traditional practices are combined with modern winemaking methods, resulting in a variety of styles and flavors that enrich the wine world.
Craft in the bottle - arrived in the present time
The term "orange wine" was created in 2004 by British wine importer David A. Harvey, but the production method itself goes back thousands of years!
In the 1990s, the almost forgotten art of making Orange Wine was rediscovered and has since flourished, especially in Europe and overseas. With dedication and respect for nature, many winemakers do without chemical additives and follow the principles of organic and biodynamic viticulture. Whether in amphorae or concrete eggs, the production of Orange Wine is a poem of patience and love, often allowing the wine to age for years.
Orange - Variety in the vine
Varieties with reddish berries such as Pinot Grigio and Roter Veltliner paint the glass in vibrant shades of orange, while bouquet varieties add variety and richness to the aromas. Each variety brings its own personality, making each Orange wine unique! Each sip of Orange wine is like a dance of flavors - from baked apples, pears, nuts and caramel to figs, dried fruits and dates.
And although fruitiness plays a subtle role, bouquet varietals like Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc retain their distinctive charm. It is a wine that tells stories, with each aroma a new chapter!
Between tradition and modernity
The legal framework for Orange Wine or Orange Wein is still in flux, but that doesn't stop wine lovers from falling in love with this special wine. In Austria, the first steps have been taken towards recognition, and who knows, maybe Orange Wine will soon become its own category with clear production rules! Until then, orange wine mostly runs under the certification Landwein, so currently still flies completely under the radar.
Things to know about Orange wine
What is the optimal drinking temperature for orange wine? The optimal drinking temperature for Orange wine is between 10°C and 15°C. This allows the complex aromas and texture of the wine to come out best.
What does orange wine go with? Its tannins and complex structure make Orange wine the perfect companion for complex dishes. Especially with some residual sweetness, the wines also go well with spicy cuisine from the countries of Southeast Asia.
How do I store orange wine? Orange wine can be drunk young, but is usually aged for a long time by many winemakers and optimized for a shelf life of 4 to 5 years. It should be stored in a cool and dark place with as little temperature fluctuation as possible.
How long does an open bottle of orange wine keep? An opened bottle survives, resealed, three to four days in the refrigerator, depending on the nature and complexity of the orange wine.
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