It’s official, orange wine fever has swept the wine world.  It started in Northern Italy with Gravner and Radikon, and it has spread the world over, with examples being produced even in my own backyard in Brooklyn.  So when I spied that one of my favorite winemakers, Elizabetta Foradori, had begun producing an orange wine I had to try.

So what makes a wine an orange wine?  Well most importantly it must see extended skin contact.  Whereas a typically white wine may receive several hours to a several days of skin contact, an orange wine will receive extended time on the skins, several weeks to several months in most cases.  The Fontanasanta spent 8 months on the skins for example.  Following the trend of folks like Gravner and Radikon the Fontanasanta is aged in amphora (Tinaja from Villarobledo, Spain), large ancient style clay pots.  They are porous and do not impart any flavor to the wines, so they are an interesting alternative to stainless steel.

This magical combination of extended skin contact and amphora aging produces a singular style of wine, and along with that a healthy price point.  Radikon typically starts at around $50 bucks a pop and Gravner can be double that.  The Fontanasanta is no exception to the trend, coming in an just under $45 at Chambers Street Wines.  I guess what that means is that orange wines, at least the best of them, are not everyday wines.   But if orange wine is not a genre that you are familiar with, you owe it to yourself to give it whirl and Foradori’s Fontanasanta Nosiola is a good jumping off point, though I think the orange wines being produced at Redhook Winery in Brooklyn offer a similar experience for a bit less cash.

Foradori 2010 Fontanasanta Nosiola ~$44.99

Peach skin, a hint of kaffir lime, and strawberry leaf.  Orange wine though not orange in color.  Amphora aged on the skins.  Nice fresh interesting stuff from a fantastic natural producer.  RECOMMENDED

From Chambers Street:  A recent acquisition, these vines are on chalk and clay and the minerality really shows. Fermented on the skins and aged in clay anfora, the skins providing some welcome tannic backbone. Nosiola (well, good Nosiola) has a nutty character – here, hazelnut, along with apple and rose. Lush texture and some intriguing pineapple-y fruit, but dry dry dry, and very fresh, with a satisfyingly long finish. JW Elisabetta Foradori is on a hot streak in turning out some of northern Italy’s most exciting wines. In particular her work with Teroldego receives accolades, but this exciting bottle of Nosiola should not go overlooked. Nosiola is considered the last indigenous white grape variety of Trentino, and is marked by zippy acid and floral aromatics. In order to extract maximum flavor Elisabetta’s wine spends 8 months on the skins in anfora containers. JR