Orange wine

Put simply, orange wine is white wine made in the same way as red wine, and here in Spain it is becoming quite a smart thing to drink

ANDREW J. LINN

Orange wine ('vino naranja') is not made from oranges, so what is it really?

For most of history wine has been a sort of dirty white colour, rather like old fino sherries, as the skins and other debris stayed in the fermenting vats until the wine was bottled.

This is still normal practice in countries with a long history of winemaking, like Georgia and Armenia, where they know that the best way to keep the wine from oxidising is to leave in the grape skins and stems.

It is probable that this method is instrumental in promoting natural sulphites that conserve the wine.

Put simply, orange wine is white wine made in the same way as red wine, and here in Spain it is becoming quite a smart thing to drink.

Although most orange wines are just as clear as any bottled white variety, there are unfiltered versions.

The length of the maceration process with the skins intact makes all the difference to the resulting colour of the wine.

It seems that Spain is leading the European field in this matter, and orange wines are being produced in Penedés, Costers del Segre, Terra Alta and even Rioja.

Orange wines may even be good for you, with vitamin C and more antioxidants and tannins, flavonoids than the usual glass of run-of-the-mill red. It is also classed as more 'natural' or 'low intervention', using little or no additives during the fermentation process.

If you are reading this column, you are probably a regular wine drinker, but how many of you have tried an orange wine?