Try orange wine for a different drink this summer

It’s likely that the uptick in enthusiasm for orange wine is linked to the growing trend of natural and organic wines. Whether rosé wine has had its day is debatable but for some people at the forefront of wine trends, switching to orange wine is the thing to do.

Tastes do shift over time and wines tend to come in and out of favour, but rosé will probably stay pretty popular this summer. If you are looking for something a bit different though, consider trying one of these orange wines.

Could orange wine replace rosé wine as the ideal summer drink

There are, of course, some great quality rosé wines on the market, and particularly if you are looking at fine wines for summer. Unfortunately, many of the easily available rosés are mass produced and tend to be on the sweet side. If you’re looking for a wine made with natural principles and is between red and white, then orange wine could be for you.

Orange wine is basically white wine with a different production process. During winemaking, there is an extra step where grape juice is left to rest on the grape skins. How long this process goes on for determines the final product. Winemakers maintain that this extra step adds complexity, depth and body as well as the colour. You can expect honey stone fruit flavours as well as spicy and sour notes.

Natural and biodynamic winemaking practices always include additional production principles. For example, many natural winemakers will use traditional methods such as using terracotta pots called amphorae to ferment the wine in the same way Romans and Greeks used to. These ancient methods allow the wine to spontaneously ferment, rather than our modern-day practice of adding stabilisers and commercial yeasts.

This also means that making good quality orange wine and other natural wines takes a high degree of skill. There is a fine line between leaving the skin in contact with the juice for just long enough and too long. One will give you a refined, high-quality wine and the other a sharp, vinegary flavour.

Look out for different shades of orange wine

The longer the wine rests with the skin, the deeper in colour the orange wine will be. It’s a bit like steeping tea, so the more time on skin leads to a more complex wine with properties that could remind you of sherry, for example. Deeper coloured orange wines will have more acid, and this can be useful if you are serving a rich meal. If you’re drinking it unaccompanied, a lighter colour would suit better.

Look out for orange wines made in regions like Georgia and Slovenia. They have a long history of making natural wines, but you can find loads of varieties from all over. Don’t avoid sediment either as this indicates an unfiltered wine that will be packed with flavour.

Check out these 3 orange wines this summer

  1. Under £15 – Ciello Baglio Antico Orange Wine 2019

From Sicily in Italy, Baglio Antico Bianco is one of the best value orange wines made by experts in natural wines – Ciello. The wine is made by macerating white catarratto grapes with their skins during fermentation. And the end result is a nicely balanced, easy drinking orange wine that works with and without food. Expect citrus peel, ginger and herby flavours, with a rich texture.

  1. To look like an expert – Pheasant’s Tears Buera-Grdzelmtevana W, 2018

Georgia is well known for celebrating its traditional past and growing popularity as a tourist city. This wine is made by John Wurdeman who is an American who decided to live in Georgia and produce wines made with the ancient techniques of the country. This is a blend of Grdzelmtevana and Buera grapes that are aged in qvervis (traditional wine amphorae) for six months. The resulting wine is deep amber in colour and has a deep yet exotic fruity flavour.

  1. Most Instagrammable orange wine – Vino Bianco IGT Slatnik Radikon 2018

While Serragghia Bianco by Italian wine expert Gabrio Bini is a popular choice for the ‘Gram, this Radikon Slatnik is great too. This is partly thanks to its distinctive graphic label and long, narrow shape. It’s also delicious and made by the Radikon family, who are leaders in natural wine making.

How the European wine industry is working towards its sustainability goals

Climate change is affecting every industry around the world, as we collectively work out ways to combat the worst effects. For the wine industry, the escalation of the effects of climate change have had a direct effect on the product. From unstable weather patterns throughout Europe to new wine regions springing up in the UK thanks to hotter temperatures, there’s no doubt that environmental factors are key for the world’s wine industry.

European wine industry joins movement to increase glass recycling

To further the goal of reducing emissions and waste, the Comité Européen des Enterprises Vins (CEEV) recently announced it has opted to join other European bodies that have the aim of increasing glass recycling to 90% by 2030.

The group of European organisations was set up by the European glass packaging federation (FEVE) and is called the Circular Economy Platform for Glass Collection & Recycling. Other members of the group include Municipal Waste Europe (MWE), Spirits Europe, the European Federation of Glass Recyclers (FERVER) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe.

All group members collaborate to achieve its overall goal of achieving a 90% bottle-to-bottle closed loop of glass bottle recycling by the end of the next decade. Currently, the glass packaging recycling rate across Europe is at 76%.

Sustainability is a key priority for global wine industry

And, despite the challenges the industry faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEEV is clear that recycling and the promotion of a circular economy “remains a key priority for the wine sector.”

As most (more than 90%) of the wine made in Europe is packaged in glass bottles, there is a specific focus on the wine industry’s sustainability goals. Ignacio Sanchez Recarte is the secretary general of the CEEV. He says that by contributing to the wider goal of improving the glass packaging chain’s sustainability score, the wine industry’s score is also automatically improved. He goes on to say: “While there are so many kinds of wines… glass is one of the few common and universal values we can use to transmit to our consumers our sector’s engagement to preserve the planet.”

There are, of course, a number of alternative packaging options for wine producers, ranging from boxes and cans to tubes and kegs. However, consumer platform Friends of Glass conducted a survey that shows 80% of European consumers still want to buy wine in glass bottles. Furthermore, consumer spending on glass packaged products has risen by 51% since 2017.

Working together to achieve common goals

The wine sector is one of the glass packaging industry’s leading market segments, and it is growing every year. For this reason, says Adeline Farrelly, FEVE secretary general it’s vital that collaborations like this go ahead so that both industries can support each other’s sustainability efforts. She says: “The Close the Glass Loop platform is one way to achieve our shared goals. The more recycled glass that goes back into our production loop, the lower the negative environmental impact of the bottles.”

Another part of the Close the Glass Loop initiative includes improving the quality of the recycled glass they produce. This will ensure a greater amount of recycled glass goes into the newly formed production loop. For example, at the moment 76% of glass is collected for recycling, but just 52% actually makes it back into the production loop.

Is Madeira one of the best Portuguese wines?

For many, Madeira wine is used primarily for its versatility in cooking. But it can also be delicious to drink on its own. Here’s a quick history of one of the most underpraised Portuguese wines, and a few of the fortified wines to try.

Madeira’s history as one of the best Portuguese wines

The Portuguese Madeira Islands are just off the coast of Africa, and the famous wine comes in a number of styles. From dry versions that are nice to drink on their own, to sweeter Madeira wines that go perfectly with dessert, there are plenty of varieties. Some of the cheaper versions used primarily for cooking are flavoured with pepper and salt.

Madeira’s winemaking history goes way back to the end of the 15th century. At that time Madeira was a stop in port for ships heading out to the East Indies or the New World. The local winemaking industry made wine for the ships, and to preserve it on long sea journeys, mixed in neutral grape spirits. When a consignment of unused wine returned to the island after a long round trip, the winemakers discovered that the heat and movement of the journey transformed the wine’s flavour.

They then began storing the wine in special rooms exposed to the hot sun, so that the wine would replicate these changes. Into the 18th century, Madeira became more and more popular. All the way around the world, from Brazil in the New World to the colonies in America, people developed a taste for it.

Fall and rise of Madeira wine

The Madeira boom ended somewhere in the middle of the 19th century, after various mildews and moulds began to blight the wine. By the start of the 20th century, sales had risen again, until American Prohibition in the 1930s and the Russian Civil War after the revolution destroyed two major markets for the fortified wine.

During the rest of the 20th century, Madeira continued to lose some of its popularity as a drinking wine. It became known as a lower quality cooking wine. In 1988, a Portuguese family invested in the owner of many Madeira brand names – the Madeira Wine Company. They relaunched it and marketed specifically towards America, which was the start of the wine’s rebirth.

Producers began to focus on higher quality Madeira again by replanting the noble grape varieties of Malvasia, Bual and Sercial. Today, the major markets for Madeira are France, Germany and Benelux, with growing markets in the US, Japan and the UK.

Madeira is one of the great Portuguese wines – here are three to try

  1. Barbeito Rainwater Reserve Madeira

This Madeira is really delicious as a cooking ingredient, but it’s too good not to enjoy on its own. It has a combination of nuttiness and dried citrus flavours with an acidity overtone. This Rainwater blend is medium-dry and relatively light.

  1. H&H 10-Year-Old Sercial Madeira

Madeira has the added advantage of staying fresh for ages, no matter how long it’s been open it will retain its character. And while it’s often assumed this is the same with other fortified wines, Madeira holds up better than Sherry or Port after being open for a while. This longevity is down to the production process that uses heat to age the wine.

  1. Blandy’s Alvada Madeira

This Madeira is rich and sweet and ideal to drink with dessert, showing just how many varieties there are. The high alcohol content of Madeira puts some people off considering it a wine to drink rather than cook with. It goes up to about 19%, but for a sipping dessert wine it’s absolutely perfect. Maybe it’s time Madeira came out of the pantry and went back on the table where it belongs.

Four Australian wines make the official list for most admired wine brands 2020

The Drinks International list of World’s Most Admired Wine Brands 2020 includes four Australian wines – the most from any one country. A panel of 200 wine lovers and wine professionals from 48 different countries test out wines from all around the world to make up the list every year.

 

Votes are based on the wine’s quality, its branding, taste, packaging and marketing. Above all, the panel decides whether the wine appeals well to wide-ranging demographic. The four Australian wines that made the top 20 are: Penfolds at number 2, 19 Crimes at number 4, Henschke at number 18 and Yellow Tail at number 20. Here is the list in full:

 

World’s Most Admired Brands 2020

 

  1. Catena – Argentina
  2. Penfolds – Australia
  3. Torres – Spain
  4. 19 Crimes – Australia
  5. Concha Y Toro – Chile
  6. Antinori – Italy
  7. Symington – Portugal
  8. Villa Maria – New Zealand
  9. Vega Sicilia – Spain
  10. Cloudy Bay – New Zealand
  11. Errazuriz – Chile
  12. Barefoot – United States
  13. Esporao – Portugal
  14. Ridge – United States
  15. Sassicaia – Italy
  16. Guigal – France
  17. Ramon Bilbao – Spain
  18. Henschke – Australia
  19. Cono Sur – Chile
  20. Yellow Tail – Australia

 

According to Martin Green, editor of Drinks International, only 50 elite wine brands made it to the tastings. He says: “To win a place on this prestigious list is a tremendous achievement, particularly as a number of great producers missed out.

Four of the best wine brands are from Australia

 

Penfolds, which is from Treasury Wine Estates, one of Australia’s most loved wine brands, came first in 2019. And while they’ve dropped to second this year, the memory of 2019’s win is still strong, as it marked their 175th anniversary year.

 

Number 4 in this year’s list is 19 Crimes. This is named after the 19 crimes that led to British convicts being banished to Australia via ‘transportation’. These convicts became colonists who forged the New World. The 19 crimes include grand and petty larceny, buying and selling stolen goods, stealing copper, iron or lead, arson, stealing letters, assault, stealing fish, stealing trees, bigamy and, perhaps most intriguingly, “impersonating an Egyptian.”

 

At number 18, Henschke is a new entry. Henschke is one of the most well-established family owned wineries in Australia, going back 150 years and six generations. Another family-owned Australian winery in the list is Yellow Tail, which comes in 20th.

 

The list has been going since 2011 and was started by Drinks International to help honour and celebrate global wide brands for their consumer appeal.

 

 

Perfect wine picks to go with store cupboard meals during lockdown

Most of us are shopping far less than usual due to the coronavirus outbreak. Which can mean making meals from store cupboard ingredients rather than fresh produce. While this could make mealtimes less exciting than normal, the good news is it’s simple to pair wines with store cupboard meals and get more flavour from your dinner.

Classics like baked beans on toast, simple pasta and pesto or tomato sauce can be refined with a good glass of wine. And while many of the things we like to do are off limits for the time being, what could be better than taking the time to enjoy a well-matched wine with your meal.

Perfect wine picks to go with simple store cupboard meals

We’ve done wine pairing articles before, but mostly focusing on dinner party food. Here we’ve picked some wines to go with simple meals you can rustle up from ingredients in your store cupboard.

  1. Baked beans on toast

Pair this family favourite with red wines hailing from warm climates. Baked beans have long been a favourite in the UK, thanks to their combination of a reduction of vinegar and sugar to form the sauce. Reds with plenty of fruit from warm wine regions go really well with baked beans. For example, you could choose an Australian shiraz or a merlot from Chile. A great choice of the latter is Lorosco Reserva Maipo merlot 2017. It has an intensely enjoyable flavour with fruity aromas of plum and blackberry combining with hints of toast and vanilla. The soft tannins in this wine make it the perfect pairing with the comforting flavours of beans on toast.

  1. Instant noodles – chicken and mushroom flavour

We’ve all got a Pot Noodle or two hiding in the cupboard, or ideally one of the more refined versions. And while it can be difficult to match wines with broth or soup, the chicken and mushroom flavours are easier to match. Try your noodles with a Chardonnay with a lightly oaked finish, such as La Reverence 2018. Its golden straw colour combines with summery fruit flavours of melon and peach, all perfectly balanced with a crisp finish. It’s made from a combination of grapes: Minervois and Roussillon, and this is what gives it the fresh, minerally flavour profile. It goes very well with meaty and vegetable flavours.

  1. Tuna pasta in a tomato sauce

Another meal easy to whip up in minutes from store cupboard ingredients, this dish calls out for lightly tannined red wines. Beaujolais is an ideal match with all kinds of oily fish, including tuna, and as it’s a medium bodied wine it goes well with the rich sweetness of a tomato sauce. Try Oedoria Beaujolais Rouge 2017, which has an intense colour, fruity aromas and pleasantly smooth tannins.

  1. Pasta and pesto

When you want a bit more oomph to your pasta, pesto is always a good bet. It’s a simple but tasty dish thanks to the pesto’s ingredients of oil, herbs and cheese, and it needs a wine that’s also simple but delicious. Match it with something like Eschehof Holzer, Wagran, Gruner Veltliner 2018 from Austria, for its uncomplicated fruit and acidity balance. Expect hints of pepper, apple and peach in this organic white wine.

  1. Instant ramen

Turn to a Japanese vibe for your store cupboard meal with a spiced up instant ramen for dinner. And if you don’t have any Sake to go with it, you could choose a white wine packed with body to complement the broth and noodle dish. Tatsuuma-Honke Brewery, Isake Classic Junmai Ginjo is a wine resulting from a fascinating partnership between a Japanese expert in sake and a French sommelier. It has a distinctive and unique lend of melon, walnut, peach and Sake rices, with a long, refreshing finish.