JWL Issue #115: What is orange wine? Is it a fad?

October 21, 2020

Last week was an epic week as we ran our first-ever Wine List Live Tasting. This is going to become a regular monthly feature now. If you missed it, you can go back and watch again here.

For those who watched live – email us and let us know what you thought of that. We want to make sure Wine List Live continues to provide monthly joy and value for you.

This week's Taste is a quick review of our October case – now that it's all online. Take a read through now.

Join our wine tasting panel

Our tasting panel job is still open – though we have been inundated with applications. A reminder that this is only open to people in the UK, but if that's you head here.

Wanna tote bag?

The totes are all gone! They went in pretty fast time, and we've so far seen lots of dogs, cats and wine bottles posing inside them. Got yours? Tag us on Instagram (@the_winelist) and say hello.

October Answers

Video isn't for everyone – so fear not, we've still got our usual paper answers for you to compare your notes against. Head over here to see our latest notes, find 10% off cases, plus read through our wine archives.


The October Case

Malvazija is a pretty uncommon grape, which produces a stone-fruit-and-mineral-driven white wine. This is from Croatia, from a 25-year-old. winemaker whose name everyone will know soon. He used to make wines in his garage, and has only recently upgraded. £15.95 from thewinelist.net.

Cabernet franc is one of my favourite grapes. In times when cab sav is that little too heavy, the greenness that cab franc can lean towards a bright alternative. This Hungarian one comes from the Gunzer winery – who had an entire range of stone-cold classics. This wine is quite "old world" in a rich, wintery sense. £15.95 from thewinelist.net.

White Burgundy has played an important part of my wine journey. But the price tag means it's hard to qualify as an every day wine. Lesser-known Bourgogne Aligoté provides a lot of similar terroir-driven qualities without the hefty price tags. This was our favourite in a recent tasting. £18.95 from thewinelist.net.

Domaine de l'Aumonier is owned and operated by Thierry and Sophie Chardon. The estate was founded in 1996 and is named after Sophie's grandfather, a wine enthusiast and connoisseur. Thierry has a family history of winemakers, though spent his career as firefighter. It wasn't until he met Sophie years later that they decided to start winemaking. A great treat for chenin fans. £19.95 from thewinelist.net.

Last month, L'O Joncier took everyone by storm as our fastest-selling red wine ever. We knew we wanted to treat you to another Cotes-du-Rhone again and so look no further than Domaines des Bacchantes. Blueberry, black pepper, florals, spices, herbs. This will go quick – don't sleep. £18.95 from thewinelist.net.


I saw an orange wine bar has launched in London – is orange wine just a fad?

Thanks to James for this question.

Orange wine has definitely skyrocketed into vogue in recent years. This style of wine is a little bit of a cross between a white and a red in stylistic terms.

The aromas lend themselves to white wines, while the texture is more akin to red. The reason is that the wine is a white wine made in the style of a red (the skins are kept in).

Many natural winemakers have opted to choose for this style in recent years, but in truth it's nothing new. It's one of the older wine styles in the world.

There certainly is a trend-like element to orange wines, which like many things will likely peak, retract and then find footing to its true excitement levels. We're big fans of orange (or skin contact) wines here at Wine List. We sent out one in our first ever core edition, and have also included them in our case a few times this year.

We've got one particularly special wine coming up from England in our November Case, which features a lot of skin contact itself. Watch this space.

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