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How to pair Orange wine with food

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If you a new to orange wine (and even if you’re not), pairing it with food may seem like a daunting task. Is it like a red wine? A white? A rosé? Is it heavy? Light? Tannic? A thousand questions may be running through your head. Hopefully, this post will act as a guide to ease you into pairing orange wine with food.

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First, it is important to understand what orange wine is. Usually when making white wine, the grapes are pressed to extract the juice from the fruit, leaving the skins and seeds behind. The white juice is collected into vats and then fermented. Orange wine is also made from white wine grapes, but instead of pressing the juice out and away from the skins and seeds, the juice is fermented with them to give them their pigment and some tannin. The fermenting juice is then left alone anywhere from a few days days to a year. This process is similar to rosé wine, which is made with red grapes that sit on their skins for only a few hours. 

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Do all orange wines taste the same? Just like all white, rosé, or red wines do not taste the same, not all orange wines taste the same. However, there are some similar attributes. Generally, there is a more pronounced smell than white wine. Notes of honey, nuts, dried flowers, and a sourness are common among orange wines. Many orange wines are considered natural wines, with less intervention and additives than most wines. Because of this, many have a cloudy appearance to the wine, which adds to the body, texture, and tannin to the wine.

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Okay, now that you have an introduction to orange wine, you have a better idea of how to pair it with food. You know that there is a heavier body, some tannin, and more robust aromas of honey, nuts, and citrus. Orange wine has lots of personality and works with a variety of foods and cuisines. Because of its body, you can pair bigger foods, like stewed game or grilled pork. Because of its acidity, you can pair it with acidic foods, like tomato based sauces or balsamic vinaigrette. Because of its nuttiness, you can pair spicy foods, like curry or kimchi. It’s also fantastic with earthy vegetables and an assortment of cheeses. You really can’t go wrong!

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Pictured below is the 2019 Subject to Change Productions “Blanc Space” Orange Sauvignon Blanc from Mendocino County, California ($18). It had notes of a very tart tangerine, Meyer lemon, a freshly cut bouquet of flowers, and dry, chalky rocks. I paired it with a vegetarian tofu tikka masala, which is a tomato based curry sauce. It tasted heavenly!


About the Author: Sarah Garrett is a wine blogger who pairs wines with recipes she makes at home. Sarah works in the wine industry and can be found on her Instagram page called GrapePairings.

Published by The Real Housewine

I'm the Real House Wine, also known as Amanda Claire Goodwin. I write about wine, drink wine, and also founded National Orange Wine Day.

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