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We Found Out What Orange Wine Is Once and for All

Five years ago we thought there were two main types of wine: red and white. Then, rosé came along and we recognized the merits of pink. Now we hear orange wine is a thing? Interesting. We got the scoop.

What is orange wine? Despite its name, orange wine does not, in fact, contain oranges. According to Shana Sokol of Brooklyn Oenology, orange wine comes from grapes that have stayed in contact with their skin for an extended period of time. The longer they were in contact (or maceration), the darker the wine. The grapes that produce orange wines are left in their skin for longer than those used in rosé--but not as long as those of a red.

Is this something new? Quite the opposite, actually. Orange wines are centuries old and were traditionally made in clay vessels buried underground.

So what does it taste like? It depends on the specific variety you’re sipping, but Sokol says orange wines often have earthy and nutty notes, as well as hints of cherry. The longer maceration also means orange wines contain more tannins than whites or rosés. Tannins work as natural antioxidants and make wine drier and more astringent.

Got it. So what should we drink it with? Sokol suggests pairing, say, a 2012 Gewurztraminer ($26), with pork, robust fish, pasta and medium-bodied cheese. We suggest pairing it with next week’s book club.

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