Rosé wine and orange wine are lookalikes, and closely related, but the intended results for each wine are very different. Both rosé and orange wines result from the winemaker allowing the juice from freshly pressed grapes to macerate, or soak, with the skins. This causes the juice to extract the skin’s color, as well as a bit of its tannins, especially when it comes to orange wines.
Rosé wines are intended to be light and fresh, and therefore the time the winemaker allows the juice from freshly pressed red grapes to soak with the skins is very brief. This imparts a lovely bit of the red grape skin color, as well as some flavor and aroma; but the goal here is to create a refreshing wine that is light on tannin and easily quaffable, especially when served cold.
The goal for orange wines is to make wine similar to red wines, but with white wine grapes — the winemaker allows the skins from white wine grapes to soak with the juice for a very long time, pulling out not just the color (which causes the wines to look orange or amber) but also the tannins. These tannins, which winemakers normally try to keep out of white wine, cause orange wines to take on a savory characteristic that makes them delicious when consumed cool, and perfect for heartier fare, too, even standing up to meat.
Simplified version? Rosé is made with red wine grapes with less skin contact time (than red wine); and orange wine is made with white wine grapes with more skin contact time (than white wine).
Published: August 24, 2020