At a Wine and Dine for the Arts event, like 3 years ago, I remember—perhaps incorrectly—some teddy-bear-of-a-local legend of a sommelier talking about how he used to have wine with the family dinner as a youngin’. But it was mixed with tang, or orange soda, or something. Four years ago that is what I knew about Orange Wine.
Fast Forward many life choices later, and I am out of my league in the rabbit hole of wine geekery. Meaning, I’m at a wine bar in Troy (you know which one I mean), and my lovely companion and I order the Orange Wine.
Neither the waitress nor the Bar-keep had much to say in being able to explain the (fairly) expensive bottle were had ordered (rather ignorantly). And “no, thank you,” they didn’t want to try any of ours. Policy?
Orange wine is neither made of oranges, nor does it taste like them. It didn’t even look all that orange in the candle light (or the natural light. Yes we wandered into all kinds of light sources. We looked pretty drunk.).
To imagine its color is to imagine the love child of Iron Man and the wind. Or, in the words of a the smartest vinophile that I know: “Orange Wine? That has had the hell oxidized out of it!” The skins also do special things. But learn about that on your own time.
“Bow-legged” is that a way to describe a wine’s legs? They atrophied and stopped short, doing something strange on the way down the glass. No tannin structure. No Minerality. Cloudy, like an Unfiltered (but as I would learn the next day, not the same brain-pain).
The wine was the opposite of cloying. My dictionary says the antonym for cloying is “clean,” but that’s not it. It was like Meade but *real Meade,* the kind made from fairies in tree holes (and would never give you cavities, being the nectar of something not of this earth).
12.5%. It punches you in the nose, but the way a California alcohol bomb makes you shovel food in your face to chew through the zip. But it did change everything on my meat and cheese board into something no Red, White, Rose or Sparkling had ever done.
When chorizo is too floral (like when flowers are too far into their life cycle and need to go to the compost bin?), and you eat it anyway (because you are fairly certain you are still far enough away from the human compost bin)? That too flowery nose on chorizo? Orange wine turned it into the nose on a good tequila.
It turned the speck into sorbet. The fennel salami into a liquorices’ kiss. Pate into smoked butter. By which I mean “lardo,” by which I mean “I miss Italy.” The cheese did other things, but I’ll leave that be. For now.
So, as you sit down to rewatch all three seasons of Orange is the New Black (because you know you have a problem), seek out a bottle of Orange Wine.
Piper would love it. Lines you can throw around in parlance:
-“Orange is the New Malbec!,”
-“Ruby Rosé ain’t got nothing on this,”
-“This is like frenching a dandelion,” and most importantly,
-“I’m so sorry I called your parole officer so I could finish the bottle. Trust no Bitch.”
More about Slovenia and Orange Wine:
Where I had Orange Wine:
Where you can find my buddy that knows everything about wine: