Move over rosé, summer’s got a new go-to wine and it ain’t you. Orange wine has been taking the world by storm over the past few summers as warm weather’s new BFF and we’re not mad about it in the slightest.
We at SPY love wine. From Firstleaf subscriptions to bodega buys to the best natural wines at our local liquor stores, at this point, it’s safe to say we should be considered at least half-ass wine connoisseurs — and absolute wine lovers. That’s why upon hearing that orange wine is making its way onto wine shelves and Drizly carts across the country, we couldn’t help but become excited about sipping orange wine under the sun again.
What Is Orange Wine?
Before you ask, no — orange wine is not made of oranges. Orange wine is made up of mashed white grapes with the skin still on to ferment together over time. The process calls for little to no additives in total to create a wine that’s more sour and nutty than any white wine you’ve had in the past. Oh, and due to the skin staying on in the wine-making process, the color comes out with an orangey tinge to it, hence the name.
What Does Orange Wine Taste Like?
Like we mentioned, orange wine has a sour, nutty flavor to it that the majority of white wines don’t have. On the palate, they have an IPA-like tang to them that feels dry and bold. Unlike white wines, orange wines actually have tannins, the same way reds do.
The consistency is typically that of natural wine. It’s, in a way, gritty and tastes more like a tasty juice that’s gone bad but still tastes delicious. Because the flavor is so bold and pungent, orange wine drinkers also love pairing this interesting wine with wilder foods, such as a number of dishes found in a number of Asian dishes across the continent.
Why Should You Try Orange Wine?
Expand that palate, baby! Trying new wines (especially whole new styles of wine) is not only fun, but it’ll expand your wine knowledge and preferences even further than where they are right now. Orange wines are definitely a funkier option of the bunch but they’re damn refreshing, making them an excellent sipper for park picnics and relaxing on the patio with a good book all summer long. Ultimately, they deserve a spot on everybody’s bar cart.
Looking to try a bottle for yourself? Check out the best orange wines we’re eyeing up for warmer weather below and discover which suits you best.
1. Gulp Hablo Orange
You can’t go wrong with Gulp Hablo Orange. This is the orange wine you need to start off with and compare every orange wine to after. First and foremost, it ditches the standard 750 ml bottle size for a whole liter, meaning, yes, more wine. Additionally, Gulp Hablo Orange is typically always fair priced at around $15ish depending where you buy it. Flavor-wise, it’s kind of a mix between a sauvignon blanc and a tangy top-shelf natural wine with an almost floral feel. It’s super citrusy with tons of minerals and a nice cloudy consistency. If a day off work in the summer with nothing else to do but lounging in your backyard had a best friend, it would be Gulp Hablo Orange.
2. Uivo Curtido Branco
This scrumptiously citrusy wine with a bit of dryness is truly one to beat. The grapes used to make this stunning cloudy orange wine are from 35-year-old Moscatel Galego vines planted on schist and granite blended soil over in Northern Portugal for an end result that isn’t fined or filtered. It’s tangy, floral and tremendously complex to both wine connoisseurs and people who barely touch adult grape juice. It’s rather thin for orange wine, but that just adds to Uivo Curtido Branco’s uniqueness.
3. Anatolikos Natural Orange Wine
Greek wine just got better with Anatolikos natural orange wine. This vintage has an incredibly refreshing flavor on the hottest of days, making it perfect for drinking in the summertime. It’s bold and lively with a citrusy, sour taste that comes naturally to the best orange wines. It’s pretty powerful on the nose but well-balanced when sipping. For orange wine lovers, this one is a must-try.
4. Georgas Hoot Amber Organic Pouch
We know some of you have a lot to say about bagged and boxed wines, but trust us on this: the Georgas Hoot Amber Organic Pouch is a force to be reckoned with. This pouch uses Savatiano grapes from Greece for a glowing amber consistency and bold citrusy, almost tea-like flavor. Because it’s in a pouch, this orange wine will last you a couple of weeks if you manage to not drink it in one sitting. “This is an excellent wine for sharing with friends in the park,” says our e-commerce editor Tyler Schoeber, “the packaging makes it super discreet to drink out in the open. It’s also easy to carry. Taste-wise, this wine is insanely delicious for sipping in warmer weather.”
5. Papras Bio Pleiades
Papras are Greek nymphs associated with the stars, which is fitting considering this wine is made with grapes from the highest mountains in Greece, the famous Mount Olympus. Each bottle is packed with a citrus-driven acidity familiar to orange wine lovers near and far. It’s dryer than you might think with exquisite tannins you’d otherwise expect in a bold red. As you’d expect, no filtering here — this stuff is totally natural for a taste that will have you coming back for another glass until the bottle is empty.
6. Heaps Good Wine Skin Contact
Slovenian orange wine? Count us in. Heaps Good Wine Skin Contact is made from a mix between Furmint and Pinot Gris to get a spicy, fresh and acidy consistency. Surprisingly, it’s not as overpowering as you might think given the spiciness and has only mild tannins. It has a middle mixture in terms of heaviness, so it isn’t the thickest but it isn’t the thinnest wine either. Regardless, it’s absolutely delicious.
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