Lifestyle, Wine & Dine

Why Orange Wine Is the Freshest Squeeze Of the Season

Why Orange Wine Is the Freshest Squeeze Of the Season

Why Orange Wine Is the Freshest Squeeze Of the SeasonRemy Lefebvre (the Chef and Partner of Casa Restaurant by Remy Lefebvre) and Benedict Pang (the sommelier) state their case on the deliciousness of orange wine.

Orange wine, a sort of hipster-esque drink has bewitched bargoers around the year and for a myriad of reasons. The hardcore aficionados can spout off a variety of reasons at the drop of a cork, “it’s delightfully funky” or “it tastes vibrant” while the general public put it simply — it is punchy, strange and tastes a little like sour beer. While the two words have piqued the imagination of a percentage of the public, Pang puts it simply. “Orange wines are simply natural, organic, and biodynamic white wine made using a red wine method.”

The orange however, in the wine’s moniker is just a simple reference to its colour, sometimes leaning “Sunrise Orange” or “Tangerine Orange” on the Pantone chart. However, it is made from white grapes using what some might call, a “skin-contact” method. “The grapes are crushed and its skin and seeds are left in contact with the fruit for weeks or even months, which gives it its amber, orangey hue. It is typically aged in huge clay-like, ceramic vessels also known as ‘Qveri’ and is done in a natural process that uses little to no additives, at times without the use of yeast.” says Pang.

Why Orange Wine Is the Freshest Squeeze Of the Season
A wine created by Sepp & Maria Muster — both of who are based in the Styria region of Austria — Erde is an orange wine packaged in a Greek-like clay bottle. 

Interestingly, some states in the world like the Republic of Georgia (the wine’s origins, according to the history books) still continue making their wines this way – a response to conventional methods of mass production.

While some might find orange wines a little too strange — its unfiltered haziness or strong bitterness — the question is, perhaps one simply picked the wrong bottle. “There are many orange wine varieties nowadays as many winemakers are starting to produce them. I would say a common flavour profile for orange wines would be stone fruits such as peach, bruised apple or jackfruit.” Pang adds, “as for my personal favourite, I would say it’s the one we have at Casa, the Maria & Sepp Muster `Erde’ from Steiermark, Austria. It is super flavourful and beautifully structured, with floral and orangey notes, good depth and minerality. Last but not least, it is packaged in a unique ceramic bottle.”

The first orange wine from the French producer, Maceration has a fine tannin and fresh acidity.

What about the term biodynamic then, one that suggests some kind of extreme science to it. Being biodynamic simply means that little or no added preservatives are used with winemakers, instead using natural ingredients farmed from equally natural circumstances. Harvested following a biodynamic calendar (root, flower, fruit and leaf days are circumstances played into consideration), this sustainable practice is as delightful as it is when the wine is drank with anything eaten at Casa Restaurant.

“At Casa, I would say you could pair it with our Charred Leek with tahini topped with sumac and sesame; or mains such as woodfired fish, beef or our Grilled Guinea Fowl with Ras el Hanout sauce served alongside spinach. For cheese lovers, it can go with aged cheese as the orange wine’s minerality balances out the saltiness of the cheese. If you are into Korean food like me, I personally feel that orange wine goes well with kimchi and bibimbap as well.” says Lefebvre.

Why Orange Wine Is the Freshest Squeeze Of the Season
One sip of this wine grants one 26 notes of citrus.

Now comes the most important question: subtract the tannins, omit the the headache inducing sulphites and add only the natural, can one get a hangover with orange wines? Pang thinks that “In general, drinking too much alcohol in a day gets you wasted and of course, gives you a hangover the next day. Doesn’t have to be orange wines you know [laughs]. So drink moderately, open a bottle of orange wine with some friends, share it, enjoy and stay safe!”

Another worthy piece of advice from Pang: one can drop ice cubs into a wine glass if in a pinch. “Overall, I would say it’s your choice. Dropping ice cubes in does help in keeping your wine chilled but over time , it also dilutes the wines. But then again, who wouldn’t like their wines chilled here in Singapore’s hot weather?

My suggestion would be pouring just a little to drink, then keeping the bottle chilled in an ice bucket to maintain the coolness in it. Or another way would be to drink faster! [laughs]”.

Illustration Marion Narisma

Once you’re done with this story about orange wine, click here to catch up with our December/January 2022 issue!