Art of Sommeliers, Vol. 8
Attraction of orange wine
Kai Yasuda joined the Warehouse TERRADA Premium Storage Group this past May as a sommelier. He encounters all kinds of wines each day, but recently he says he has a favorite. It’s orange wine, which has become a hot topic among both professionals and enthusiasts. We asked him about its unique appeal.
– Just hearing the name “orange wine,” a novice to wine may believe that it is wine made from oranges. So what exactly is it?
Yasuda: I can see how one would make that mistake. What we call orange wine is actually white wine made using a red wine preparation method. Normally, white wine is made using only the juice from the grapes, but orange wine is made by fermenting the juice with the skins, seeds and other parts of the grapes intact, which extracts fragrant and astringent components from them. It is called orange wine because of its orange color. It features astringent tannins and an aromatic essence not found in ordinary white wines.
– How did you become interested in orange wine?
Yasuda: My first encounter was at a wine event about three years ago. I tried Ribolla Gialla from an Italian winemaker named Josko Gravner. It had a very complex aroma, and everyone at the event was fascinated by this orange liquid that gradually changed as its temperature increased.
– What’s most special about orange wine?
Yasuda: I am simply captivated by the fact that it is not an ordinary white or red wine. It has a rich aroma, so drinking it relaxes me like aromatherapy. The ways it can be paired with food is also an appeal.
– What kind of food does it go well with?
Yasuda: It’s really a wide range. For restaurant food, it goes great with a chicken ballotine or roast pork fillet with a sauce that uses fresh citrus and coriander seeds. When enjoying it casually at home, ethnic food is a good choice. Cilantro and orange wine go well together, so it’s a perfect match for a salad with orange and endive sprinkled with cilantro, or with Vietnamese fried spring rolls.
– Which orange wines do you recommend?
Yasuda: My favorite at the moment is Okunota Winery La Florette Hanamizuki Blanc, which is made in Koshu in Yamanashi. It’s an orange wine with a light color, and its splendid aroma makes it a good introduction. Radikon Ribolla Gialla from the Friuli region of Italy is also very good. It’s difficult to get as it’s one of Italy’s best-known wines, but the complexity of its aroma and its vivid color make it one you should definitely try if you have the chance. There are more and more winemakers producing orange wine today. I hope you’ll find your favorite and enjoy it.
(Text: Kimiko Anzai)
Contact : Okunoda Winery (La Florette Hanamizuki)