Lighter than reds along with earthier than whites, orange wines have created a buzz in trendier quarters. along with winemakers reviving the ancient practice like how the “skin-fermented” wines introduce more complex flavors to the bottle.
“Pretty outgoing characteristics. Very spicy, peppery. A lot of tea flavors, too, come through,” winemaker Vinny Aliperti said, taking a break via harvest duties at Atwater Estate Vineyards on Seneca Lake. “They’re more thoughtful wines. They’re more meditative.”
Atwater can be among a few wineries encircling these glacier-carved lakes which have added orange to their mix of whites along with reds.
The practice dates back thousands of years, when winemakers inside the Caucasus, a region located at the border of Europe along with Asia, would likely ferment wine in buried clay jars.
the idea has been revitalized in recent decades by vintners in Italy, California along with elsewhere looking to connect wine to its roots or to conjure fresh tastes via the grapes. Or both. Clay jars are optional.
Aliperti has been experimenting with skin fermenting for years, first by blending a bit into traditional chardonnays to change up the flavor along with more recently with full-on orange wines.
This specific fall, he fermented Vignoles grapes with their skins in a stainless steel vat for a couple of weeks before pressing along with then aging them in oak barrels.
Orange wines account for “far less than 1 percent” of what can be handled by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the nation’s largest distributor with about a quarter of the market, according to Eric Hemer, senior vice president along with corporate director of wine education.
Hemer expects orange wines to remain a niche variety due to little-scale production, higher retail prices — up to $0 for a premium bottle — along with the nature of the wine.
“the idea’s not a wine which’s going to appeal to the novice consumer or the mainstream wine drinker,” Hemer said. “the idea truly takes a little bit more of, I think, a sophisticated palate.”