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Wine of the month: Denbies Orange Solaris 2021

Bold and interesting flavours make this skin-contact wine the perfect choice for this time of year

We’re lovers of a theme here at The Southern Quarter and with the colours of autumn – think burnt orange leaves and pumpkin lanterns – in abundance, orange wine seems quite fitting for this time of year.

Of course, orange wine is not made of oranges, nor is it bright orange in colour, although it often has an amber hue. Orange wine is in fact a white wine made in the style of a red, with the wine sitting on the skins of the grape for a period of time (anything from a few days to a year) during fermentation. For this reason, it is often referred to as skin-contact wine or skin-fermented wine.

Two years in development by wine maker Andy Kershaw, Denbies Orange Solaris is the latest release from the Dorking-based wine estate and is made from 100% Solaris grapes that were hand-harvested last year. The wine was on skins for seven months before being pressed in February.

The wine, which was named as Innovation of the Year in the Tim Atkin MW 2022 England Special Report by Tim Hewson, has a fresh nose of stone fruits with the slightest tinge of tropical coming through, while the palate is bold with interesting layers of baked apple and tangerine.

While it could easily be enjoyed on its own, this complex wine lends itself to food (and at £25-£28 a pop is not one to guzzle). Denbies suggests a pairing of pate, juicy pork belly or creamy mushroom risotto, but we found it paired really well with a spicy lamb casserole and would suit most dishes containing roast or caramelised veg.

Part of Denbies’ Vineyard Select range, this wine will only be made in the best of years so grab a bottle before the 2021 vintage sells out.