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Orange Is The New Booze: Unique wine trend reaches Columbus

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Want to impress those friends who are self-declared “wine snobs?” Bring something they’ve never heard of to your next party. A little-known, centuries-old wine is gaining in popularity, giving wine aficionados something new to add to their repertoire.

While orange wine has been around for centuries, most people aren’t aware of this wine that blends the best of the reds and
whites. Case in point, when I reached out to my friends who pride themselves on their discerning wine palates and asked where I could find a bottle, they had no idea what I was talking about. After a few phone calls, I was able to track down several places that offer orange wine. (Finally, I can be the one that brings a new find to the party!)

Orange wine’s name is a bit of a misnomer, as it doesn’t contain any of the citrus fruit. It gets its name from its signature orange hue. It’s a “skin contact” wine, or a white wine that’s made like a red. While white wines typically have their skins removed prior to fermentation, a skin contact wine leaves the skins on for part or all of the fermentation process. With orange wine, leaving the skin in contact for longer leads to a deeper orange hue and stronger red wine characteristics such as more tannin, bolder flavor and bigger body. Regardless of the contact, the wine maintains the high acidity you expect of a white wine.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

A better-known skin contact wine is rosé—the converse of orange wine as it’s made from red grapes and the skins are removed early in the fermentation process. This technique gives rosé its pink hue.

Orange wine can be a bit of a shock. While you might be expecting a light, crisp white, you’ll get a bold, slightly sour wine that drinks more like a red. I read the tartness is somewhat similar to a sour beer, which I found to be a fitting comparison. It’s full-bodied with dry tannins and high acidity, and notes of jackfruit, hazelnut, brazil nut, apple, juniper, sourdough and dried orange rind. Some describe it as dry like a Malbec, but fruity with crisp acidity on the end.

“For many, the texture is real shock,” said Robin Christopherson, assistant manager at The Twisted Vine in Grandview.

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Because it’s often fermented in clay pots, orange wine can be cloudier than other whites. While it may make you think there’s something wrong with the wine, this is normal, so drink up!

I typically avoid white wine, but I found this refreshing. Sometimes the thickness of red, which I enjoy, is a bit much. Orange wine combines the best of both worlds without tasting like a red someone stored in the fridge.

While orange wine is new to even the most seasoned wine drinkers, it dates back to the 11th century and the Republic of Georgia, said Chrisophersen. Orange wine produced at the time was fermented in a qvevri (kev-ree), an egg-shaped earthen vessel lined with beeswax. The qvevri was sealed with rocks and beeswax for the fermentation process.

As demand increased and winemakers began producing more wine, they used building technology to increase the size of the qvevri. Because the larger qvevri would become unstable, especially as the wine fermented, winemakers began burying them. This also chilled the wine as it fermented, resulting in a better end product.

While not all modern-day orange wine is fermented in a qvevri, some winemakers still use the ancient vessel. Wine fermented in a qvevri can have a cloudiness and distinct flavor that comes from the vessel’s material. Another tradition that most modern-day winemakers continued is using few to no additives, which can appeal to those who are drawn to natural products.

Orange wine is served chilled like any white, though some recommend a slightly warmer temperature of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of its bold flavor and rich body, orange wine pairs well with bold foods such as curry dishes and fermented foods. It also pairs well with a variety of meats and seafood including beef, cured meats, oysters and salmon. While the process uses fewer additives, orange wine will hold up a little longer than other whites, said Christophersen.

If you’re looking for something bold and different, pick up a bottle of orange wine. You won’t find it on every shelf, but it’s worth the hunt. This might be that one white for those who strictly drink red.

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Food & Drink

Restaurant Week Sneak Peek: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing

Regina Fox

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In less than 10 years at its natural sunlight-soaked digs on N 4th Street, Wolf's Ridge Brewing has managed to become a place revered not only for brewing some of the best beers the city has to offer, but also for serving some of the best food.

What better time to experience them both than Restaurant Week January 20-25?

We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of Wolf's Ridge three-course menu before it was released to the public, and we think you're really going to like it.

First Course: Choice of baked brie, endive salad, or bread and butter

The endive salad offered depths with every bite: the brightness of the shaved pear, the fresh earthiness of the endive, the texture of the fennel, the crunch of the walnuts. But the star of this dish was certainly the pool of tangy, creamy blue cheese dressing hiding below the colorful mixture.

Second Course: Choice of salmon, grilled cauliflower, or pork tenderloin

Without a shadow of a doubt, I believe each one of the entrees offered during Restaurant week are slam dunks, but to me, the choice was obvious: pork tenderloin.

The three plump and pink cuts of pork were so tender, they could be easily cut with just a butter knife. The succulence of the meat played well with the sweet, nutty sunchoke puree, and rich smoked hazelnut butter. Like the french origin suggests, the demi-glace soaked into the tenderloin truly was the "icing" on top.

Third Course: Choice of cheesecake or fudge bar

If at the end of your meal you're feeling bright, light, and flirty, the cheesecake is for you. The toasted coconuts coating the mousse-like rum cheesecake, icy pineapple sorbet and orange marmalade will send your palate on an all-inclusive trip to the seaside.

Feeling a little more dense or moody? The punch of the espresso ice cream, thick chocolate bar, and sticky caramel crémeux will have you closing your eyes, and "mmm"ing through every bite.

At $40, the Wolf's Ridge Restaurant deal is quite possibly the best time to experience the creative, elevated menu. But, you and the other 900,000 residents of Columbus already know that, right? So, don't wait to make your reservation!

To learn more about Restaurant Week January 20-25, visit eat614.com.

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Restaurant Week Sneak Peek: Pig out on amazing deal from Hoggy’s

Mike Thomas

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Longtime fans of barbecue in Central Ohio will remember Hoggy's, the family-owned local barbecue chain which originally opened in 1991. Recent history saw Hoggy's step away from the restaurant game in favor of a thriving catering business. With a newly-renovated store on Bethel road, this OG Columbus BBQ joint is getting back in the retail mix.

Scroll down for an exclusive giveaway

We recently stopped by Hoggy's to preview all the delicious goodness they've cooked up for Restaurant Week. With a deal this sweet, it's time you got reacquainted with this awesome, homegrown barbecue spot!

Restaurant Week Deal: Choose three meats, two sides, and your choice of cobbler or banana pudding, all for $15.

You read that right: THREE meats. While Hoggy's brisket, pulled pork, or pulled chicken are all solid choices, be sure that one of your trifecta of picks is the baby back ribs. These are truly some of the best ribs we've tried in town.

Bonus sleeper pick: we found Hoggy's wings to be exceptionally crispy and flavorful, serving as the perfect delivery method for their great BBQ sauces.

When it comes to sides, you really can't go wrong at Hoggy's. From the potato salad to the "cowboy style" baked beans, each side has the same home cooked flavor that you'd hope to find at a family cookout.

As long as you're treating yourself, don't be afraid to go double-starch in the sides department. The mac and cheese (with both penne and elbow macaroni) is a can't-miss, but then who in their right mind can can pass on cheesy potatoes?

If you have any room left for dessert, either of the available options will be sure to send you over the edge into a food coma. Hoggy's satisfying cobbler is served oven-hot, just like grandma used to make. Likewise, the decadent banana pudding is everything it should be and more, with a fluffy, creamy texture that is unlike anything we've seen elsewhere.

When it comes to Restaurant Week, Hoggy's isn't playing around. For $15, this is one of the best bang-for-the-buck deals on the entire RW lineup. Don't sleep—there will be time for that after you've stuffed yourself with sides, dessert, and all the delicious smoked meats you can handle!

To learn more about Restaurant Week January 20-25, visit eat614.com.

Comment your favorite BBQ side dish to be entered to win dinner for two at Hoggy's!

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New plant-based diner takes root in Downtown

614now Staff

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From the people who brought us Eden burger comes a new plant-based diner sure to satisfy your hunger.

4th & State is a vegan cafe and diner located in the heart of downtown Columbus under the leadership of Chad Goodwin.

Click here to read more about Eden Burger

Featuring fare aimed at both breakfast and lunch, hours will soon be expanded to cover dinner service to coincide with the launch of the restaurant's beer and wine program.

Below are pictures of a few of the most popular breakfast items thus far:

4th & State is located at 152 E State St. and is open Monday through Friday from 7am- 3pm, and Saturday through Sunday from 9am- 4pm. To learn more, check out their Instagram.

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