orange wine DinavolinoAnd now for something completely different: an orange wine from Italy. Orange wines have been trending for a while around the world but this is the first one I’ve been able to get my hands on. And it was well worth the wait – very much a different experience to white, red or rosé wines. If you fancy trying something new and exciting, I really do recommend it.

orange wine DinavolinoTasting notes: orange wine Dinavolino 2015

This wine is medium orange in colour and has a pronounced nose. There are delicious fruity aromas like apricots, quince jam and sultanas, a honeyed note and also a floral hint, like rose petals. In fact, it reminds me a little of the magical wonderland of aromas of Gewürztraminer wines.

After all those sweet aromas, it’s almost a shock to find that the wine is completely dry and a bit tooth-tacky tannic. There’s enough acidity to make the wine feel fresh and a bit of body there too. The fruity flavours are accompanied by an almond note and the finish is quite long.  Altogether a very intriguing wine, which put me slightly in mind of a British craft cider. A good start to discovering the world of orange wines.

Food pairing

This wine went together beautifully with barbecue-baked salmon with Mediterranean vegetables and freshly harvested Chilote potatoes, boiled and lightly dressed in olive oil and sea salt. Delicious. This wine could go well with anything that works with Chardonnay – pork, chicken, meaty fish dishes, creamy vegetable bakes and gratins.

How the orange wine Dinavolino was made

So you may be wondering why the label on the bottle of wine says “vino bianco” when clearly what comes out of it is anything but white! And why is it orange anyway? Well, it’s because this wine has been made with white grape varieties but they have been treated as though they were red.

When you make a white wine normally, you aren’t interested in it having colour or tannins – which come mostly from the skins – so you press the grapes quickly and make wine with the juice from the grapes, disposing of the grape skins, pips and flesh.

When you make a red wine, on the other hand, you want colour and tannins, so you crush the grapes and keep the skins and flesh with the juice right throughout the fermentation. Often you put the crushed grapes into a tank for a few days before the fermentation for a cold soak, move the grapes around during the fermentation and keep the new wine with its skins and flesh a few days or even weeks after the fermentation just to get even more colour and tannins, aromas and flavours out of them.

Cabernet Sauvignon wine in the tank
Check out these Cabernet Sauvignon grapes during fermentation last April at Mendel in Mendoza

In some countries, like Georgia, white varieties have always been treated in the same way as reds, leaving the skins and flesh with the juice before and during the fermentation.  And some winemakers around the world have cottoned on to this interesting idea and been experimenting with it. In the world of high wine fashion, orange really is the new white. And I gather it can come in many hues and vary greatly from one to another, depending on the grape varieties and techniques.

As regards this wine from small, organic producer Azienda Agricola Denavolo in Emilia Romagna, it’s made with 25% Malvasia di Candia aromatica, 25% Ortrugo, 25% Marsanne and 25% other local varieties.

See the website for Azienda Agricola Denavolo.

Where can you buy this wonderful orange wine Dinavolino?

Here in Chile, you can get this wine from Edwards Fine Wines – check out this post for more information about this small wine import company or email There are a number of stockists in the US, according to

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Have you tried an orange wine? Did you like it? I’d love to hear about any orange wine experiences out there.

Maquis Cabernet Franc

I confess to being a closet Cabernet Franc fan.  Living in the shadow of its big, brash, ostentatious and sharp-as-a nail son, Cabernet Sauvignon, the lighter-bodied Cab. Franc with its understated elegance and smooth sophistication just tends to get left there on the shelf, the “also ran” of the wine world. Think Fred Astaire versus Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you haven’t yet checked out this variety, Maquis Cabernet Franc 2012 could be a good one to try.  

Tasting note: Maquis Cabernet Franc 2012, Colchagua Valley, 13.5% ABV

This wine makes more than a passing nod to those who like their wines on the beefier side, with more colour and body than than many other Cabernet Franc wines – no doubt helped along by the dollop of  Carmenère in the blend. This is a characterful wine with plenty going on aroma-wise: red and black fruit (think cranberries, black cherries and plums), an intriguing herbal note like fennel and bay, a touch of vanilla and a liquorice note. This is a dry wine with plenty of ripe and well-integrated tannins and sufficient acidity and body to make it feel fresh and velvety in the mouth. The ripe black fruit and spice come through in the flavours. The finish is medium.

Food pairing

This wine held its own with spaghetti with a Ragu sauce, so would be fine for any well-flavoured dish, like vegetable stew, cassoulet or slow-roasted beef.


This wine consists of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Carmenère grapes. The grapes were macerated for five days before fermentation and the wine was left a while longer with the skins after fermentation. This is so the skins had lots of time to transfer colour, aromas and tannins to the wine. The wine was aged for 10 months, 80% of it in used oak barrels, so as to make the tannins and body more rounded without adding too many aromas or flavours from the oak (such as toast or vanilla).

Where you can buy Maquis Cabernet Franc

In Chile, Maquis wines are stocked in major stores like Jumbo. In the United States, their wines are distributed through Global Vineyard.  For other countries, contact the winery.

Maquis website

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