The Amber Revolution

30 Jun 2022

The term Orange, or Amber wine, may be relatively new to the ears of wine enthusiasts in this country, but the phenomenon itself is far from new. Many of the modern techniques used to make Orange wine today can be traced back to ancient Georgia, where the practice of leaving grapes, skin and all, in large clay pots (called Qvevri) and burying them underground for a sustained period of time (some times as long as a year) to naturally ferment, has been used for roughly 8,000 years.

So let’s start with basics, what exactly is an Orange wine? In simple terms it is a white a wine, where the grapes have been left in contact with their skins for a period of time, usually with naturally occurring yeast, and then the wine maker can choose to filter the wine or not. This contact with the skins and stalks gives the wine a very unique flavour profile, robust and bold, they are typically packed full of fruit such as apple, marmalade and jackfruit and nutty flavours like almond, brazil nut and hazelnut. It also contains tannin like a red wine, which means it can match food wise with flavours that your usual white would struggle to stand up to like red meats and stews.

There is a huge amount of freedom to experiment for the wine makers, from grape varieties to the ageing processes but a lot of producers are choosing to stick to the traditional, and sometimes ancient, techniques. In Georgia you will find they still use the ancient techniques of Qvervi, and use the indigenous grape variety Rkatsiteli, the Orgo that we stock ages their wine for 6 months in these large clay pots, and filters their wine so it is not cloudy and is referred to as an Amber Wine, but contains all the flavour you would expect. The Bizarra Extravaganza Orange Wine on the other hand uses 50% Petit Manseng & 50% Gros Manseng and is co-fermented, the grape skins and pips are left in contact with the juice for 35 days and then aged half in barrels, half in tanks for 6 months. This develops a naturally stable wine, reducing the need for other forms of stabilization like the use of high levels of sulphur dioxide. It is unfiltered so is cloudy and does have some deposits left over. You can find a link to these wines below, and decide for yourself if Orange wine is worth the hype!


Wish List

Orgo Rkatsiteli Dry Amber, Georgia, 2019

MIX6 £22.31 £25.49
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Add 6 or more bottles of selected wine to your basket to receive the wholesale price.