Get your glasses ready, there's a new oddball wine on the scene that's charming oenophiles with its sunset hues and unorthodox fermentation methods. If you've never heard of orange wine, you're not alone, but a growing number of wine geeks around the country are getting all worked up over these rebellious bottles.
Contrary to what the name might lead to to believe, there are no navels or tangerines in orange wine, just white grapes that have been left in contact with their skins during barrel aging, often for several months. Furthermore, orange wines are often intentionally oxidized in open barrels or clay pots called amphorae for further flavor development, resulting in complex and sips with red wine-like tannins and a wide variety of unusual flavor characteristics ranging from nutty and honeyed to downright funky.
New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov heralded orange wines as the “most compelling and intriguing experiences to be found in a glass” several years ago, and the methods that are now in vogue have been used for thousands of years in Italy and Slovenia, but the trend is only now reaching the banks of the Willamette.
Sommelier Michael Garofola of Southeast Portland's Genoa is one of the many wine lovers who have been charmed by these eccentric concoctions, and he's leading the charge of the orange wine revolution with his upcoming wine dinner that's set to highlight five prime bottles along with Chef David Anderson’s modern take on Italian cuisine.
When pairing orange wines with food, many sommeliers are treating them like reds, but there are no set rules. In the spirit of exploration of the relatively new trend, Genoa's orange wine dinner will not feature traditional pairings. Instead, the bottles will be placed on the table at the same time, encouraging diners to mix and match their wines with each course, tasting the interplay between food and drink to find the perfect pairing. Reserve your seat now to explore the flavors of the Monastero Suore Cistercensi “Rusticum” 2010, La Stoppa “Ageno” 2007, Movia “Lunar” 2008, Radikon “Oslavja” 2004, and Gravner “Breg” 2005.
Genoa's five-course orange wine dinner will take place on November 4th at 2832 SE Belmont beginning at 6:30 pm. Seating for this one-of-a-kind $145 event is limited, so book your table now by calling Genoa at 503-238-1464 or emailing Michael Garofola at Michael@genoarestaurant.com.