As far as we're concerned, it's not officially spring until we've uncorked a bottle of rosé. However, this season, we've found ourselves forgoing the beloved Millennial Pink–hued wine in favor of the latest buzzy varietal on the shelf—orange wine. Orange wine, technically a "skin-contact" wine, is white wine that's fermented with grape skins, which is how it gets its signature hue and its "natural" label.
To learn more about the beverage we plan to sip on all season long, we asked Brooke Matthias, Winc's wine director, to spill the details on what natural wine is exactly. "With natural wines, the winemaker takes on a more natural approach to the fermentation process, allowing native yeast to ferment the wine over time, instead of expediting the fermentation process by adding the yeast," she told MyDomaine. "In addition, natural winemakers avoid adding a great deal of sulfur and keep intervention in the cellar to a minimum."
Ahead, Winc's wine director recommends eight bottles of natural wine worth uncorking this season, including food pairings to enjoy along with each.
Character Profile: "This unfiltered and spritzy Sauvignon Blanc Pétillant Natural wine from Santa Barbara can be described as a 'living wine' and was made in the original méthode ancestrale, meaning that fermentation was finished in the bottle," explains Matthias. "This results in the wine's light sparkle and slight cloudiness. You'll notice a yeasty character in the wine, like toasted brioche. This wine is unique and interesting because the yeast is still in the bottle, so the flavors change the longer the wine is in the bottle."
Tasting Notes: Green apple, guava, lemon
Food Pairing: Pad Thai
Character Profile: "This full-bodied, skin-contact Tocai Friulano caters to the palates of both white and red wine drinkers alike," recommends Matthias. "This unique orange wine is complex, robust, and textured."
Tasting Notes: Apricot, honey, melon
Food Pairing: Pork chops and sweet potatoes
Character Profile: "This medium-bodied dry red wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from the heart of Minervois, France," says Matthias. "A balance of fruit and earth makes this a wine that can be paired well with a variety of meat and poultry dishes."
Tasting Notes: Baking spice, dark cherry, dried herbs
Food Pairing: Braised beef
Character Profile: "We call this dry cider our apple wine because it is made with a winemaker's approach," Matthias tells MyDomaine. "This effervescent cider is bottle conditioned, meaning it finishes fermentation in the bottle. It also boasts a great balance of fruit flavors and natural acidity with a crisp, clean finish."
Tasting Notes: Lemon, pineapple, white tea, peach
Food pairing: Bacon-wrapped hotdog with shoestring fries
Character Profile: "This crisp and textured white blend was created with minimal intervention in the cellar and was made from hand-picked, organic pinot blanc and pinot gris grapes," says Matthias. "The Independent is a light, clean, and dry white, while still retaining a nice richness."
Tasting Notes: Apple, lemon rind, white flowers
Food Pairing: Grilled halibut with garlic butter
Character Profile: "This pinot noir was natively fermented, meaning no yeast was added to start the fermentation," explains Matthias. "The finished wine reflects the unique terroir of the organic vineyard from where it was grown and shows a balance of fruit and earthy flavors like tobacco, menthol, and white pepper."
Tasting Notes: Cherry, mint, white pepper
Food Pairing: Poached salmon with spring vegetables
Character Profile: "A vibrant and lean Rhône-style wine made from organic grapes, Capuchon has fruit-forward flavors like rhubarb and plum," says Matthias. "You'll also notice a bright acidity and savory aromas including herb and spice."
Tasting Notes: Clove, pink pepper, pomegranate
Food Pairing: Roasted pork and wild rice
Character Profile: "To craft this sustainable Chardonnay made from organic grapes, the fruit was hand-picked and aged lovingly, resulting in a still-bright chardonnay with just a touch of that classic California butteriness," explains Matthias. "It's the perfect wine for special occasions and dinner-parties of all kinds."
Tasting Notes: Butterscotch, peach, vanilla
Food Pairing: Lobster rolls
Looking for even more wine recommendations for the season? We're turning to these delicious, expert-approved wines for spring that aren't just rosé.