Top pairings | The best food pairings for orange wines

Pairings | Tahini

The best food pairings for orange wines

More and more people have been drinking orange or amber wine but what’s the best kind of food to pair with it?

Orange wines, as you may know, are made from grapes that normally produce white wine but get their distinctive colour from leaving the juice in contact with the skins in the same way you do with a red. The flavour depends mainly on how aromatic the grape variety is in the first place (pinot gris and malvasia both make a fragrant style of orange wine, for example) and how long the juice remains in contact with the skins: the longer the darker, more tannic and more intense it will be.

There’s often a flavour of quince about an orange wine which to me makes them a natural match for eastern Mediterranean and middle-eastern, especially Georgian, food. (Many of them are, of course, produced in Georgia.)

Here are the ingredients and types of dishes I think pair with orange wine best - many of which often appear in conjunction with each other

Lamb

The number one meat with orange wine. Spicy slow-cooked shoulder, kebabs, lamb (and mutton) tagines and biryanis. Goat runs it a close second. Even better if it’s combined with one of the ingredients below.

Aubergine

Think roast aubergine, grilled aubergine, any kind of smoky aubergine like baba ghanoush. Especially in combination
with . . .

Walnuts which really need a category of their own though this aubergine and walnut dish may be the perfect orange wine pairing

Tahini

Another ingredient that is often combined with lamb as in these amazing koftas from Sami Tamimi’s latest book Falastin. And hummus obviously

Grilled octopus

More savoury than fishy and deeply umami and on those grounds perfect with orange wine.

Roast and/or caramelised veg

Especially root vegetables like Jerusalem artichokes and celeriac. Also think of serving orange wine with a whole roast cauliflower or with caramelised endives

Nutty grains like farro, freekeh and bulgar (cracked wheat). It’s good with whole-wheat couscous too.

Hard - and semi-hard - sheeps cheese

So good with manchego and similar hard sheep cheeses but also with grilled halloumi and a salty sheep cheese like feta.

See also this account of an orange wine dinner from sommelier Donald Edwards.

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