For some time, amber wine in Georgia (the equivalent of what we call orange wine) has aroused the curiosity and the attention of many consumers around the world, amateurs like professionals. We are used to red wine, white wine or rosé… but what do you know about the fourth colour of wine?
In 2004, David Harvey, a British importer, uses the term of "orange wine’’ for the first time, term that will later be reused by American journalists. Nevertheless, its original name, the amber wine, comes from the cradle of wine: Georgia. You have to know that in opposition to occidental Europeans, Georgians consume more "white’’ wine (rf. amber wine) than red wine, in particular while having meals.
Amber wine should be served slightly fresh. However, it should not be too cold for its powerful and tertiary notes to express themselves, a bit like red wine. Recommended temperature: from 14 to 16°C. It is highly recommended to be opened in advance (preferably at least half an hour before) in order for the wine to breath and release its first notes.
Usually, for white wines, grapes are pressed directly after the harvest: that is when only the juice is put to alcoholic fermentation. In Georgia, the seeds, the skin and sometimes the stems are used. It is the polyphenols (molecule that forms in the plants from sugar) contained in the skin that gives to the wine this beautiful colour that intrigues. It may range from a dark yellow to a blood orange colour. In other words, the amber wine is a white wine under the same vinification than a red wine. We obtain a wine with candied fruit, honey and even wax aromas, with less acidity and an interesting presence of tannins.
This ancestral method of vinification is traditionally done in the qvevris, these big terracotta vessels which are buried and then sealed (after the ending of all yeast and bacteria activities), so that the magic happens. It presents the advantages, compared to the wood, to not communicate a roasted taste nor to bring exogenous draining tannin that are poorly integrated. The soaking time can go from a few days to a couple of months. The wine’s taste may vary depending on how long there is a contact with the skin.
Amber wine has just been added to the list of special wines by the International Vine and Wine Organisation (OIV)! The decision was made at the OIV’s General Assembly, on the 26th of November 2020, by recognising amber wine through the technical term of "white wine with maceration’’. This turning point is especially important for Georgia, which has 8 thousand years of continuous history and traditions of winemaking. The method used to make white wine with maceration is without contest associated with Georgia.
If amber wine has been increasing in popularity, it’s because it fits in a modern era where consumers look for new flavours, healthier tastes, as well as a return to the sources towards more natural wines. Check out below our selection of amber wines carefully selected from Georgia.