First off, it’s not about the hue, which really is more amber, and ranges from pale yellow gold to deeper bronze. It’s the process. Orange wines are white wines made like red wines; the juice is fermented with the skins, leaving them in contact from a week up through a year. This gives the wine its characteristic hue, but also a fuller body, higher phenolic content and more tannins and grip on the palate. A better (though less colourful) name would be "skin contact whites".
An ancient winemaking technique, these wines are common from areas with lengthy winemaking traditions like Georgia, Slovenia, Croatia, and eastern Italy, though are also found from naturalist winemakers around the globe. Befitting tradition, few, if any, additives are often used, and alternative vessels like amphora and concrete are usually engaged, making orange wines highly prevalent amongst the natural wine set.
Orange wines most often are made from aromatic white grapes such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Muscat, focusing the honeyed notes, extracting the fragrance of citrus oils and exemplifying the savoury goodness. Nutty, oxidative, and salty notes are common descriptors for these compelling wines. The best are light and thrilling, while holding texture and body; an alluring combination.