What are Orange and Blue Wines?
Aside from the better known red, white, and rosé wines, some new colors have been appearing and resurfacing recently, including orange and blue wines.
Though uncommon and not often heard of, orange wine is an ancient creation that first appeared over 6000 years ago in the Caucasus region, which is better known today as Georgia—the country not the state. Nevertheless, orange wine has made a resurgence today, transforming from ancient and obscure to unique and trendy.
While it started in Georgia, the skin contact process was also very popular in Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia. However, the process fell out of fashion as fresh white wines began dominating the market.
Lets first get one thing straight; orange wine is not made from oranges. In fact, the name ‘orange wine’ wasn’t coined until the year 2004 by the British wine importer David A. Harvey. Before then, orange wine was referred to as its technical name, skin contact wine.
Skin contact wines are basically white wines made like reds. In typical white wines, the skin and tannins are removed after the grapes are pressed, but skin contact or orange wines, are fermented with the skins and tannins, which colors the juice, and gives it tannic structure and bitterness similar to a red wine. Technically speaking, all orange wines are made from skin contact, but not all skin contact wines are orange. In reality, the term skin contact could be descriptive of all red wines.
For this process any variety of white wine grapes can be used, whether its Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay. Although deemed orange, the resulting color of this process can range from a yellow gold to a vibrant orange, depending on how long the juice ferments with the grape skins.
Due to the different grape varieties used and varying times spent with the grape skins, the flavors of orange wine come in a wide variety. Most orange wines are compared to a bolder, more savory version of the wines that come from the same white grape. Some display flavors of peaches, strong oolong tea, and honey, without actually being sweet. The flavors are subtler when chilled and become expressive as it warms up, therefore it should be served between a classic white wine temperature and proper red wine temperature.
Described as being as refreshing as a white wine, while incorporating all the complexities of a red wine, orange wine is praised for its versatility, full body, and great depth of flavor due to its high tannins. For food pairing it goes best with foods that match with a white wine but require the fuller body of a red wine. On top of that, it is a great match with strong spices and nut flavors.
Blue wine definitely does not have the extensive history orange wine does, and as far as many know it was created recently to feed the demands of the millennia’s desire for new products and aesthetics that will stand out on social media sites like Instagram.
The worlds most popular example of this intriguing blue liquid is called Gik, which was brought about Spanish based winemakers. Blue wine is made from red and white grapes sourced from France and Spain. In order to get the trademark ‘Gatorade blue’ color, the liquid requires the addition of the two organic pigments indigo and anthocyanin, both of which naturally occur in grape skins.
Those fascinated enough to give blue wine a try, haven’t had the best things to say about it. Many reviews claim that the blue drink smells incredibly sweet and tastes even sweeter than it smells with an offensively unnatural taste, which might come from the zero calorie sweeteners that get added to the bottles.
The creators of Gik blue wine recommend pairing it with equally trendy food such as sushi or guacamole, but most brave enough to try it say it would pair better with the sink drain and the trash can.
All in all, we recommend sticking to the classic red, white, and rosé wines that wine crafter all over the world have spent YEARS developing and perfecting. With all the trendy wines that arise time and time again, feel free to give them a shot, but know you can always count on our wine club for some of the best classics across the world.
Try these unique wine blends by joining our wine of the month club. Enjoy!