|Orange Looks Good...|
Just when you thought that you had it "down", knowing what red and white wines to serve with what food at your parties - along comes "orange" wine.
So now it's back to the drawing board.
Am I really just confused and talking about orange juice? Or, is this purely "libational propaganda"?
It's neither. The passion for orange wine is growing hotter all the time. What you might find extremely interesting about orange wine is, when you dine at a restaurant that's hip enough to know about them and serve them, most of these establishments don't even bother going through all of the hoity-toity trouble of trying to describe them - you know, like they usually do when you order more traditional red and white wines. What you'll more than likely find is that they've been given their own section on the menu instead.
Upscale wine shops, restaurants, and catering companies that stock and sell orange wines seem to have a common thread of underlying passion between them; an affinity toward the wild-fermented beers made in Belgium. And oh, how we beer drinkers love our beer, don't we? Although beer has been showing up on some the "out" lists for being a less than politically correct beverage because of the gluten.
What exactly is orange wine? And how is it made?Orange wine is actually made with white grapes. It's white wine that becomes "orange wine" by the extended contact that it has with the grape skins during it's maceration. This is the same treatment that gives red wines their tannins and color. Orange wine makers produce wine in barrels or traditional clay amphorae. And the really good news is that orange wine makers don't add sulfites, the salt-like compound used that some people are allergic to.
Where does orange wine come from?Many vintners that produce orange wine are located in the region of northern Italy,Croatia, and Slovenia. But there are also vineyards producing orange wines in California, New York, and France.
Most orange wines are kind of peculiar. They're diverse, making each one of them distinctly unique. Pairing orange wines with food is relative. Some are a little sour and funky (in a good way), so they work well with lamb and dishes like Cote de Boeuf.
What is Cote de Boeuf, you ask? It's perfect with orange wine, for starters. It's actually top quality bone-in rib eye steak cut thick through the ribs - double cut [for two] by a good butcher, best cooked 2 to 5 minutes a side on a grill, then in the oven for ten minutes with some sprigs of fresh thyme, a little butter, a couple squeezes of lemon juice and a small splash of vinegar at the very end, then give it ten minutes to rest... and you've got a piece of heaven on a plate. Go here for the recipe.
If you like to be the one to introduce people that you know to something new, the Paolo Bea Santa Chiara 2007, which is a Garganega-based* wine from Umbria, is a good orange wine that pairs well with just about any type of food. Although orange wine is often appreciated by cool, adventurous, funky-style kind of people, people who like heartier food, like organ meat dishes for example, appreciate it too.
How should I serve orange wine?To begin with, it's the type of wine that's considered a toss-up, like when you sometimes can't figure out what to serve with something - that could go either way; like, between red or white.
Personally, I'd serve orange wine with fried catfish or garlic-seasoned fried chicken. It could also go well with bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin served with savory flavored cabbage. Yum! Think of serving orange wines with higher protein type of "winter dishes" that go great with your favorite red wines. I'd also serve it similar to how I serve a white Burgundy - close to wine cellar temperature, decanted first - to unleash the exciting flavors.
This might seem like a sacrilege to some Sommelier's (wine experts, if you didn't know), but believe it or not some people subscribe to drinking their favorite orange wines over ice. If I were to serve it that way, I'd make the ice cubes from the same orange wine, so as not to dilute it. And here's a thought, why not make it a spritzer and add a splash of soda water? Or, go one step beyond and really experiment. Try orange wine as your base when you make summertime sangria. The possibilities are endless.
Many orange wines are described with words such as butterscotch, herbal or herbaceous, caramel, nutty, honeyed, and saline. So I guess that tells you a little something; giving you an idea as to how "all over the road" orange wine can be, taste-wise.
I suggest that you serve orange wines with foods that can match their richness and texture, as many of them have an acidity that you don't often find in red wines. You can find some pretty good ones starting around $14.00 a bottle.
So, if you consider yourself hip and cool, and are the type of person that likes to embrace life with a passion, you're probably daring and just the type that, when you start hashing out plans for your wedding reception, the surprise birthday party you're planning, or that special corporate event, you want to lead - not follow. To definitely be ahead of the pack, serve an orange wine or two.
So hey, experiment. Gamble on one or two, run a few taste tests and see what happens. You can always buy half-bottles when you try it, before committing to serving it to your guests at your party, And just like with any wine, keep trying until you find one that you like.
Your opinion is the only one that really matters. Besides, it's always up to you anyway, isn't it? State your opinion. Are you willing to try orange wine? Or, does it seem too radically different to you?
* - Garganega is a type or variety of white Italian wine grape grown in the Veneto region of North East Italy. It is a prominent grape in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. It's also Italy's 6th most widely planted white grape, which forms the basis of Venetian white wine such as Soave, and it's also a major portion of the blend used to make Gambellara.
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