The New Year is here and what better reason to get out there and try new things… and by new things, I mean new wines. I understand for some, and probably most of us, there is this daunting feeling that comes along with the idea of trying something new and stepping out of our comfort zone, but I am here to tell you do it! Step out of your comfort zone and experience the huge world of flavour out there that you have yet to discover…you’ll expand your mind and learn – both about the said new thing and maybe a bit about yourself too. Not to mention the rush — if you are anything like me — of searching out a yet un-Lindsay-charted grape varietal or a fun new winery is just thrilling. Actually choosing the wine, seeking it out, and then, the act of finally opening, pouring, tasting and consuming and savoring each drop. It really doesn’t matter whether I love it or not.
A wine style you might not be familiar with that is sweeping its way through North America and finally starting to make a very small breakthrough right here in Niagara is a crazy little thing called Orange Wine. The term “Orange Wine” has said to be coined by a UK-based wine importer in 2004 however orange wine has been produced now for centuries. Orange wine has a cool history – mainly taking place in what is now modern-day Georgia (the country not the state). An easy description of the wine is: basically, the white grapes are made into wine using the same process they use to make red wine. Red wine gets its colour from skin contact and so does orange wine.
Southbrook Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake currently has a 2015 Small Lot Orange Wine available. It is certified organic and biodynamic with no added sulphites which gives a special sort of spritz to this bottle. I can not get enough of it. It is a gorgeous, glowing deep gold, which I am sorry to say, could also be described as the colour of pee after you’ve been partying like a rockstar. It has a touch of cloudiness from some lees left in the bottle due to it being unfiltered and unfined, but that also means it is friendly to all vegans out there. This wine is fun and fresh on the nose with aromas of tangerine, bruised apple, and something that resembles honey-drenched wild flowers. When you taste it all, some of that sweet honey scent disappears and it is completely bone dry and almost sour – but in the best way possible. It’s like taking a bite out of the sun that soaks the beach in Mexico. I honestly feel like I could drink this wine all day long, so it’s probably a good thing that the alcohol sits at a nice low 10.9%. It’s almost reminiscent of a sour beer but without the carbonation. It seems light at the start, but then shows the awesome structure of a seriously medium-bodied wine with a great finish that is pleasantly tart and brings a small smile to your face. You don’t have to love this wine like I do, but I urge you to please stray from your go-to wines and try something new this January. They say consistency is key. but in my eyes it is just so boring.
Wine: 2015 Small Lot Orange Wine
Winery: Southbrook Winery
Address: 581 Niagara Stone Rd. N-O-T-L
Fun Fact: There are a few other places in Niagara where I have been able to try more orange wines. One from France on the wine list at Treadwells and a beautiful and probably my favorite one to date from Pearl Morissette Winery in Jordan Station.