Orange wine from New Zealand
Let me introduce to you this absolutely stunning orange wine from Pyramid Valley Vineyards of New Zealand. This particular wine comes from the North Canterbury region which is located on the south island.
Typically when white wine is made, the grape skins are removed from the must to created a refreshing, light bodied wine. The grape skins add color to the wine as well as body, structure and tannin. Red wines typically have skin contact for various amounts of time. Orange wines are skin contact white wines which adds body, color, structure and unique flavors to the wine. This wine is made from 98% Pinot Gris. Gris translates to “gray” in French.
Above is a picture I took of Pinot Gris grapes almost ready to be harvested when visiting vineyards in northern Michigan. As you can see, even though this is a white wine grape, it has a beautiful pink tone on this skins of the grape. This is why it’s the perfect variety for skin contact white wine/ orange wine. This particular wine also has 1% Gewurztraminer and 1% Muscat which adds a lovely aromatic floral nose to the wine.
As you know, wine is typically aged in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. This wine, however, was uniquely aged in clay pots
(Picture by Summer Altice US Brand Ambassador for Pyramid Valley Vineyards)
This traditional method of aging orange wine, adds a very unique flavor profile to the wine. The aromatic nose reveals orange peel, white jasmine flowers, almond, mushroom and salinity. On the palate, the wine has some weight to it, yet is refreshing with a good amount of acidity (mouth watering sensation). We experience flavors of peach, orange rind, nuttiness and flavors of a Negroni cocktail. It is important to note that this wine is sourced from Biogro certified vineyards, 100% whole bunch fermented and left in open tops for 21-28 days. It is also unfined and unfiltered.
Lastly, what really makes this wine so special is how it develops in the glass. It’s a wine that develops and pairs with the entire meal. When chilled, it drinks like a white wine, pairing perfectly with the appetizers such as a seafood course or starter salad. As the wine warms up in the glass, it begins to drink more like a red wine. It becomes fuller bodied with a bit of tannin development (mouth drying sensation) which means the wine will pair with richer and heavier dishes as well. This wine would pair perfectly with Mediterranean cuisine such as a Greek gyro sandwich with tzatkiki sauce. This wine is such a unique and lovely wine which contains tradition, history and modern winemaking all in a single bottle.
Casleah Herwaldt, Certified Sommelier
SoCal Regional Brand Ambassador
Pyramid Valley Vineyards