Armenian Orange/Amber wines

Armenian Orange/Amber wines

In recent times, the Armenian wine sector has seen a burgeoning diversity in wine offerings. In addition to the classic reds, whites, rosés, and sparklings, there has been a notable emergence of exceptional Armenian orange wines. While not entirely novel, these wines represent one of the oldest winemaking traditions globally and have endured throughout history. Despite being crafted from white grape varieties, Armenian orange wines stand apart in both appearance and flavor profile. True to their name, they boast a distinctive orange tint, and in terms of taste and tannin structure, they lean more towards the characteristics of red wines rather than whites.

Armenian orange wine showcases robustness akin to red wine while retaining the refreshing qualities of white wine, striking a harmonious balance between the two. This fusion of characteristics renders it a perfect amalgamation of red and white wine qualities. 

Fermenting orange wines with grape skins introduces a range of unique aromas, flavors, and textures that set them apart from traditional white wines. Typically, orange wines exhibit greater complexity, showcasing nuances of dried fruits, tea, spices, and occasionally a subtle astringency attributed to the tannins derived from the skins. 

Armenian orange wine hasn't simply vanished temporarily from the scene; its production demands extensive knowledge and expertise from winemakers. Crafting a high-quality orange wine entails unique techniques. For instance, during the winemaking process, grape juice remains in contact with the skins, fermenting for several weeks to months in underground Karassen (amphora barrels). This process emphasizes natural methods, eschewing the addition of cultured yeasts or sulfites. Typically, maceration occurs in open vessels, allowing ample oxygen exposure, which facilitates oxidation and yields wines ranging in color from yellow and gold to amber and orange. As the skins impart their taste, aroma, and hue during this period, the resulting wines boast an intense and rich flavor profile. 

Due to their robust flavors, orange wines complement equally bold and flavorful dishes. They pair exceptionally well with a variety of cuisines, including robust curry dishes, Moroccan specialties, Ethiopian delicacies such as injera, Korean dishes featuring fermented kimchi like Bibimbap, and traditional Japanese fare like fermented soybeans (Natto). With their elevated phenolic content, characterized by tannins and a hint of nutty tartness, orange wines are versatile enough to enhance a wide range of meats, from beef to fish, creating harmonious flavor combinations with each bite. 

In conclusion, the rising popularity of amber/orange wines reflects a renaissance in winemaking, blending ancient techniques with modern tastes. Their bold flavors and versatility make them a standout choice for pairing with a diverse array of cuisines, from spicy curries to delicate seafood dishes. With roots tracing back thousands of years, these wines embody a rich cultural heritage while offering contemporary wine enthusiasts a unique tasting experience. Their distinctive amber hue, complex aromas, and robust texture set them apart, promising a sensory journey with each sip. As appreciation for natural and artisanal wines continues to grow, amber/orange wines stand as a testament to the enduring appeal of tradition and innovation in the world of winemaking.

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