Every other month, our 5 to Try series showcases five examples of stellar wines from varying styles, grapes, and Germany’s 13 wine-growing regions. This month, we’re highlighting orange wines! In addition to producing more traditional wines, German vintners widely experiment with winemaking techniques to keep up with trends and consumer demand as well as to explore new processes, hone their skills, and expand their own horizons, and some spectacular orange bottles have arrived in the U.S. market.
This style (made from white grape varieties fermented with skin-contact – a method typically reserved for making red wine) is one of the wine world’s hottest ticket items right now, intriguing for its amber color and white wine flavors yet red wine-esque texture and tannins. While skin-contact white wine is not a new idea, the category has experienced a recent boom along with the natural wine movement, as many are made with minimal intervention.
Any white grape can make orange wine (as our list below demonstrates), and time with skin-contact can range anywhere from a few hours to several months. Along with other factors (microclimates, types of aging vessel, etc.), this results in immense diversity of wines within the niche category. Start exploring and sip a new German wine from our 5 examples!
1. Brand Wilder Satz Pur, Pfalz
Weingut Brand is a newer label in the German wine scene, but the family behind it have been winemakers for five generations! Brothers Daniel and Jonas Brand have built a reputation in the natural wine market for their lively, one-of-a-kind wines. Their Wilder Satz Pur is a sulfur-free natural orange wine from a Müller-Thurgau-heavy blend of up to seven white grape varieties that creates a wine that is buoyant, herbal, and distinctly “on Brand”!
2. 2Naturkinder Weinschwärmer, Franken
2NaturKinder, a small winery specializing in natural, unfiltered wines, believes that ‘embracing the unexpected’ is the key to producing a great natural wine. The Weinschwärmer (named after a beautiful moth local to the area) is organic and unfiltered, with no sulfur; it’s as orange and tasty as it is natural. With a 75/25-percent split blend of Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Riesling, 2NaturKinder wows with this wine that is spicy, subtly acidic, and oh-so drinkable.
3. Selbach-Oster ‘OMG’ Riesling Trocken, Mosel
Selbach-Oster’s minimal, hands-off approach to winemaking makes it possibly ‘one of the hottest domains along the Mosel, if not in all Germany,’ according to Stephan Reinhardt of Robert Parker Wine Advocate. Like all Selbach-Oster wines, the ‘OMG’ Riesling Trocken is farmed without fungicides, herbicides, or added copper-sulfur. A superbly balanced wine, the ‘OMG’ orange wine will truly make you say: ‘oh my god.’
4. Soma Vines ‘Golden Hour’, Rheinhessen
Soma Vines is the brainchild of former Chambers Street Wines employee Daisy Merrick and Antoine Lucchesi, formerly of Domaine Wines. The grapes are organic and cultivated using biodynamic processes, and all wines are unfined, unfiltered, and fermented with native yeasts. ‘Golden Hour’—Soma Vines’ orange wine from Silvaner grapes—is elegant with tasting notesofexotic fruits, Chamomile tea and a creamy mouthfeel.
5. Fio ‘Glou Glou’ Orange, Mosel
Fio makes ‘old school wines’ on the steep Mosel slopes with natural techniques to produce stable, natural wines. The organic, sustainable ‘Glou Glou’ orange wine fits well into their repertoire. A blend of Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Müller-Thurgau, ‘Glou Glou’ is zesty and spicy, with notes of apple, citrus and muscat.
Plan on trying these wines? Let us know what you’re drinking by tagging @GermanWineUSA!