The Rise of Natural and Orange Wines: Perfect Pairings with Cheeses
In recent years, a new wave of wine appreciation has taken the world by storm. Natural and orange wines, characterised by their minimal intervention winemaking processes, have captured the hearts of wine enthusiasts. With their unique flavours and intriguing profiles, these wines offer an exciting opportunity for exploration and pairing, particularly with cheeses. In this blog post, we will delve into the growing popularity of natural and orange wines, their production methods, notable grape varieties, and the perfect cheeses to complement their distinct characteristics.
The Growing Popularity of Natural and Orange Wines:
Natural wines and orange wines have seen a surge in popularity among wine connoisseurs and adventurous enthusiasts alike. These wines are crafted using organic and biodynamic farming practices, focusing on minimal intervention and allowing the grapes to express their true essence. They avoid additives, excessive sulphites, and rely on natural fermentation to develop their unique flavours and textures.
Orange wines, in particular, have gained a cult following for their distinct amber hue, derived from extended skin contact during fermentation. This process imparts tannins, structure, and a fascinating range of flavours to the wines. Both natural and orange wines offer a departure from the standardised styles, allowing for a more authentic and diverse wine-drinking experience.
The Art of Pairing Orange Wines with Cheeses:
Pairing orange wines with cheeses can be a delightful and immersive experience. The rich and complex flavours of orange wines, ranging from floral and honeyed notes to earthy and nutty undertones, harmonise beautifully with an array of cheeses.
Here are some pairing suggestions to enhance your tasting journey:
Soft and Creamy Cheeses: Orange wines with their tannic structure can complement the creamy, luscious textures of soft cheeses. Try pairing them with decadent Brie or Camembert to enjoy the interplay of the wine’s richness with the cheese’s buttery goodness.
Aged and Hard Cheeses: The vibrant acidity and pronounced tannins in orange wines make them an excellent match for aged and hard cheeses. The nutty, caramelised flavours of Gouda, Comté, or Parmigiano-Reggiano harmonise with the wine’s complexity, creating a symphony of savoury delights.
Blue Cheeses: The robust and pungent character of blue cheeses can be beautifully balanced by the fruit-forward and aromatic nature of orange wines. The contrasting flavours create a harmonious blend, making combinations like Roquefort or Stilton with orange wines an absolute treat for the palate.
Orange Wine Regions and Grape Varieties:
While natural and orange wines are produced in various countries, certain regions have gained recognition for their exceptional offerings. Here are a few renowned regions and grape varieties associated with orange wines:
Georgia: Considered the birthplace of orange wines, Georgia has a rich winemaking heritage dating back thousands of years. The region is famous for its use of traditional clay vessels called qvevri for fermentation and ageing. Grape varieties such as Rkatsiteli and Kisi are commonly used, resulting in wines with deep amber hues and complex flavour profiles.
Italy: Italy’s northeastern region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is celebrated for its orange wines. The Ribolla Gialla grape is prominent here, known for its high acidity and floral notes. The wines offer a delicate balance between tannins and vibrant fruitiness.
Slovenia: The Vipava Valley in Slovenia is renowned for its orange wines, often made from the indigenous grape variety, Rebula (also known as Ribolla Gialla). These wines display a vibrant acidity, distinct minerality, and intriguing herbal undertones.
France: The Jura region in France is famous for its Vin Jaune, an iconic style of oxidised wine. Made primarily from the Savagnin grape variety, Vin Jaune offers a unique combination of nutty, oxidative flavours and a lively, vibrant character.
As natural and orange wines continue to captivate wine enthusiasts worldwide, the art of pairing them with cheeses opens up a world of flavours and sensory experiences. With their minimal intervention winemaking processes and distinct characteristics, these wines offer a departure from convention, promoting authenticity and diversity in the wine industry. Whether it’s the creamy textures of soft cheeses or the robust complexities of aged varieties, there is a perfect cheese to complement every sip of natural and orange wine. So, indulge your senses, explore new pairings, and embark on a remarkable journey of taste and discovery.
P.s. Here is our Natural Awakening Hamper which features both natural and orange wines if you’d like to take a look.