Ask your independent wine merchant about 'orange wine'

It is the job of an independent wine merchant to know his or her product range inside out - recommending a particular bottle to go with a meal, or to be enjoyed on its own, according to the customer's own tastes and preferences.

But while every independent wine merchant stocks white, red and rose, it is much rarer to find 'orange wine' on sale, especially in the UK.

This distinctive alternative to the traditional trinity of colours is on the rise in the USA, and it is far from being a more full-bodied blush produced using the usual rose technique.

Instead it is achieved by following the normal production process for white wine, but allowing a little longer contact with the skin and seeds of white grape varieties.

This is a hybrid of the white and red winemaking processes, and the result is a hybrid too, packing much more of a punch than you'd expect from the equivalent white wine.

You should be able to pick out certain hallmarks of red wine hitting your palate too, including tannins that add that distinctive 'red' taste despite the pale colour of the wine.

In this sense, the finished product is most definitely not a rose or blush, whose delicate flavours are more suited to casual drinking, often in greater quantities beneath the blazing sun of a summer's day.

Orange wine has plenty to offer in hot weather too - it bridges the divide between red and white, bringing tannins and other red characteristics but in a format some might find more palatable in midsummer.

But it is typically a taste to enjoy in more modest quantities - an experience rather than a session wine - and it's worth trying orange wine if you see it on sale, just to put your taste buds to the test.

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