Orange Wines: An Affordable Squeeze

You have your Gravner, And your Radikon. And your Princic. And your Muster. And the Tscheppe brothers. And Zorjan. Amber wines aged with patience first on skins and then in amphorae or barrels. They look like beaten copper and they smell of a world of vinous possibilities. You would only serve them in the biggest and best wine glasses – arguably poured from a decanter where the wine in question would have been resting, ambering away at cool room temperature, for a considerable period of time.

These are wines that require time, love, and a lot of nurturing to unlock their deeply-held secrets. They embody every quality that makes natural wines extraordinary, challenging and occasionally life-affirming.

I am not saying that we have a cunning mission to bring orange wines to the everyday drinker, but we have been working on providing some gateway skin-contacters for those who can’t afford to fork out for a Gravner.

Here is a quintet beating the amber bang-for-buck drum. All the following have a recommended retail price of under £20 (some well under that).

2022 Les Bardets Blanc, VdF, Gaillac

Really attractive golden-yellow wine made from 70% Mauzac, 30% Loin de L’œil, indigenous Gaillac grape varieties. Part straight-pressed, part maceration. A lovely straw yellow colour. Citrus aromas with pronounced grapefruit peel. On the palate, the wine is well balanced and fresh. This freshness, combined with the presence of acidity, energises the palate.

2023 Salamandre Orange, St Cyrgues, Costières de Nimes

100% Grenache Blanc is 2/3 whole bunch, crushed, fermented and straight pressed and 1/3 destemmed grapes, crushed with 10 days maceration on skins. Ambient ferment for both portions in separate tanks, with native yeasts. Minimal sulphites added. Pinkish-orange with notes of pink grapefruit and baking spice.

2023 Vincenzo Bianco, Fattoria Vaira, Molise

Falanghina is part whole-bunch pressed after a maceration of five-days on skins and part destemmed and direct press. Fermentation (with native yeasts) and maturation on the fine lees is done in stainless tanks. The wine undergoes natural malolactic in addition. The wine is bottled without filtration or fining and 20 ppm of SO2 are used after the malo (total sulphur is 30 ppm). A dry yet aromatic wine with golden colour, and aromas and flavours of white flowers, apricot and peach.

2022 Moscatel tinaja, Mauricio Gonzalez, Bio Bio, Chile

Delicious wine made from old Muscat of Alexandria vines naturally fermented in tinajas (300-900 l) on skins and aged on skins also. Delicate orange gold in colour with aromas of white flowers and citrus fruits. Vibrant and intense acidity and a great structure in mouth. Although the wine undergoes a full malolactic, is unfiltered, it is wonderfully zesty and packed with mineral energy. A relatively cool microclimate, plenty of rainfall in winter, traditional organic farming and a gentle touch in the winemaking yield wines that are delightful and delicious.

2022 Baglio Antico, IGP Sicilia

A project in western Sicily dedicated to natural wines from organically farmed vines. 100% Catarratto fermented with wild yeasts in tank, unfiltered and unfined with no sulphur added. Rich and full, crammed with pear skin & orange rind, fragrant wild herbs and ginger. This would be fantastic value at twice the price.

Other value skinny wines

2022 Fratelli Felix Bianco, Vigneti Tardis, Campania

Two days maceration of Fiano and Falanghina. Light amber, exotic and spicy.

2022 Tragolargo Blanco, Finca Casa Balaguer, Alicante

Moscatel and Malvasia. Golden in colour with aromas of orange blossom and fennel with some delicate floral notes. Delicious acidity and freshness, as well as the array of aromas and flavours of white and citrus fruits, rich honey and mineral tones with a long and elegant finish.

2022 Naranjo, Bodegas Miras, Patagonia

Torrontes Mendocino 85% – Torrontes Riojano 10 % – Pedro Jiménez 5%.  Destemmed grapes with 30 days on skins. A deep orange colour. Floral aromatics, the palate has a rich, fruity character of quince and orange with a gentle tannic character from the skin maceration.

2021 Zvari Rkatsiteli, Kakheti, Georgia

50% skin maceration for two weeks. Chewy Rkatsiteli: thick-skinned plums, crunchy tannins.


Interested in finding out more about the wines mentioned above? Contact us directly: | | 01483 538820

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