In Catalan, to refer to an orange wine we must speak of a ‘brisat’ wine or a wine with maceration of skins. Brisats are white wines made as if they were red, that is, vinified in contact with the skins of the same grape. Instead of squeezing the grapes and separating the seeds and skins, the white grape must is left to ferment with these solid parts.
With this practice, the most will ferment and at the same time there will be a maceration with its skins, obtaining all the substances of these, such as aromas, tannins and color. This process gives a more intense and intense color to the white wine, giving it an amber or orange hue. That is why they are known internationally as orange wines.
This maceration can last from several hours to even days. Depending on the style of wine and the qualities that its maker wants to achieve.
One of the theories of the origin of the term orange wine is that it was created in 2004 on purpose by David Harvey, a wine merchant in the United Kingdom. It has since been considered appropriate to use the term.
This style of winemaking that is gaining followers day after day is, however, a production technique that comes from a thousand-year-old tradition. Moreover, there is evidence of this practice dating back some 6,000 years in Georgia. Here in Catalonia we have historical references of the first brisat wines in the Terra Alta.
Anyway, these wines are often described as rustic, austere, with marked oxidation and undeniable astringency. All of them have differentiating characteristics that make them at least original and very gastronomic wines.