Orange wine is about to blow up. Wine snobs will have you know they knew about it, but now it's going mainstream. So mainstream that Aldi just started carrying a £5.99 bottle (about $8) of orange wine in its U.K. stores. The grapes come from the Banat region and the wine is from Romanian wine producer Cramele Recas.
Something big coming soon to Aldi uk, proves that natural wines don't need to be a) horrible, b) expensive, c) hard to get pic.twitter.com/FmsdfWGziE-- Philip Cox (@cox_home) July 12, 2018
Aldi is the first grocery store in the U.K. to stock a private label orange wine. The wine is also naturally fermented, meaning no additives or yeasts are added during the fermentation process.
Now for the sad news: It's not in United States stores. If it's any consolation, Aldi is rolling out several fresh food products to U.S. shelves by early next year, including veggie noodles, kombucha, and strawberry kiefer.
No oranges were harmed in the making of this wine.
No, it's not made from oranges. Orange wine gets its name from the color. It's technically a white wine, but it's made like a red wine. The grape skins are left on the grapes to ferment with the pressed juice. The skin-contact process results in an orange or amber hue. If you're interested, Wine Folly has an in-depth explanation of the process.
So what does orange wine taste like? The Aldi website describes this one this way:
"candied apricots on the nose, slightly herbal fresh fruity but with a powerful structure and full body." It's not the kind of wine you age. Orange wines are meant to be consumed soon after purchase.
Vegans will be happy about it too.
The label proudly celebrates that Aldi's orange wine is "suitable for vegans." Many wine producers use fining agents that contain milk proteins, gelatin, egg whites, or fish bladder protein to clarify the color. This one doesn't. It's "a pure expression of the terroir and soil of the Banat region," Aldi claims.
It passes the natural wine sniff test.
With this new wine, Aldi's also cashing in on the natural wine trend. That means no lab-grown yeasts, no added sulfites, and no other "vinicultural aids." Though the term natural wine is widely used and can mean many different things, this one passes the sniff test for Simon J. Woolf, who covers natural, organic, biodynamic, and artisanal wines. He also wrote Amber Revolution, a book about orange wine.
Woolf spoke to the commercial director of Cramele Reca?, the supplier of Aldi's orange wine. "It turns out that the wine's credentials are pretty much in order," Woolf writes. He confirms that the wine is spontaneously fermented, unfiltered, and unfined.
Woolf does call into question the part about no added sulfites. "The grapes were dusted with a light sprinkling of sulphur during transportation," he explains. "While these sulphites would have been entirely consumed during the fermentation, perhaps it's a little bit disingenuous to claim this is a 'no added sulphur' wine."
Yet Woolf does feel Aldi's can genuinely describe their $8 orange wine as natural. With its affordable price point, he says he hopes it will open the world of orange wines and bring natural wines to a wider audience.