There'a a lot of noise about orange wines – wines made from white grapes fermented with their skins like red wines, rather than without skins – but they're still very much a minority sport, even though it's how wine was originally made whatever the colour of the grapes. It's good, then, to see Rigal in southwest France venturing into the arena and making a success with a characterful local grape variety and the UK's Morrisons supermarkets taking the wine on.
Including the skins gives more colour, in the case of white grapes an orangey or amber hue that can be pale, as in Rigal's Vin Orange, or deeper. More importantly, the skins add flavour and create an impression of volume and chewiness. In this wine made with Gros Manseng grapes from Gascony, the texture is accompanied by apple skin, dried apricot and spice aromas and attractively tangy, nutty, apricot and citrus flavours.
There's plenty of scope for it on the food front, especially with umami flavours. I tried it with, among other things, pan-fried scallops and smoked lardons: it was good with the bacon but the scallops were a touch sweet; a dusting of smoked paprika would have done the trick. It also goes well with roast vegetables (peppers, aubergine, tomatoes, onions and cauliflower, although roast carrots were too sweet), with spinach, mushrooms, spices such as cumin, coriander, caraway and cardamom, with herbs and with aged, hard cheeses such as Parmesan. It also went with cold rare roast beef served with home-made pesto and a creamy horseradish, but it wouldn't have worked with the beef alone. 12%
Rigal Original Vin Orange Gros Manseng 2019, Vin de France
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