OK, hopefully this is helpful for those wanting to try new wines… but a point of clarification… when people speak of Orange wines, what do they really mean. Is it simply skin contact whites that have the amber hue, reds that have been treated the same way, wines with no additives/sulphur or basically an umbrella term for everything “different” or Natural, as they are often called?
Let’s not get bogged down in the semantics and lets see if we can point folk in the right direction. Which can be pricey. Your average “orange” wine in the UK is topping the charts at around £25. Sure you can find a few £12-15 wines… but you’re as likely to find wines that are £40 to drink now.
I basically follow four main importers in the UK: Tutto Wines, The Winemakers Club, Gergovie Wines and Les Cave de Pyrene. Whilst they are all based in London or the South East, they all distribute to places all over the country. Gergovie Wines are based out of 40 Maltby Street restaurant, which is a cracking place to eat. As is The Winemakers Club in Deptford - but their wine bar on Farringdon Street in London is my favourite bolt hole to drink in.
Les Cave de Pyrene are a distributor but now have an online shop and Tutto Wines really put most of what they import in to places like Noble Fine Liquor which has three sites in London (if you include P Franco) and an online store. I pick up most of my wines from Noble Fine Liquor or The Winemakers Club, but Leeds (where I live) is now riding the orange wave with places like The Reliance (and soon to be Wayward Wines) and Ham and Friends. Buon Vino is another online place I have bought from in the past. Then there are specialist shops such as Newcomer Wines that stock mainly Austrian wines.
In terms of producers, there is a really good mix of old style (amphora wine producers) across various parts of Italy - notably Sicily and the North East and various pockets in Easter Europe around Georgia and Slovenia. Likewise there are other producers using concrete eggs or steel tanks to hold their wine - on skins or without.
A list of my favourite producers spans Spain, Austria, Italy and Australia of late. Here are a few of them that I have drunk in the last year or so:
Casina Degli Ulivi
Ca de Noci
Frank Cornelissen - currently tipping the scales at "ooh, that seems a bit expensive"
Farnea - Their Emma has turned a lot of people I know on to Orange wines
Orsi san vito
Sean O’Callaghan - used to make a top notch Chianti under another name. Now branched out on his own
Jean Foillard - this is where it blurs in to language like Biodynamic
Jean Pierre Robinot
Martin and Anna Arndorfer
Partida Creus - possibly my favourite producer over the last 12 months.
Someone also to look out for his Vinnaturo. Tom is an English lad that makes Bag in a Box wine from a host of really great producers from all over Europe. Likewise Le Grappin who make great wines in France and sell them all over the UK - in bagnums and bottles.
It does sometimes make me wonder why I am so skint, then i see the list above of wines I have drunk over the last 12 months - in addition to my bi-monthly WS order and it’s clear… the kids are never going to University.