Episode #690 – The Most Off-Color Episode of Grape Encounters Ever, Featuring Amber (or is it) Orange Wine Expert Simon J. Woolf

Today, we proudly present what may well be the most off-color episode of Grape Encounters ever; and to help us accomplish that feat is one of the most respected authors in the world of unusual wines. We’re eager to introduce him, but first, a confession.

All right, we might as well just admit it. We have definitely been negligent when it comes to spending an appropriate amount of time talking about Amber/Orange wines on Grape Encounters Radio. Maybe it’s because in recent years, our host David Wilson has sampled one too many orange wines that he found astringent, unpleasant and, worst of all, caused him to make scrunchy faces as he tried to choke some of the poorly produced ones down. The good news is, the world is constantly changing and orange wines, which are among the oldest style of winemaking in the world, are now being masterfully crafted and are presenting exciting new wine tasting options for curious wine enthusiasts. That’s why we fully admit that giving them another chance was long overdue!

Wine styles and varietals have been a work in progress for thousands of years, and if you go back to the earliest recorded history of wine, you’ll discover that orange wines have been around from the very start. Nonetheless, for many wine drinkers, they’re perceived as something new and innovative. As the saying goes, what’s old sometimes becomes new again, and many would argue that, despite their presence in ancient history, we may well be living in the Golden Age of Orange Wine today.

Referred to as orange, amber or both, in simple terms, their golden hue is the result of leaving the skins of white grapes in contact with the grape juice for an extended period of time. It’s almost exactly the same way that red wines are made. This extended maceration period typically results in intensely flavorful wines with complex aromas and a nuanced palate. While they may not be everyones cup of tea (because they’re wines) many experts argue that orange wines are some of the most exciting and innovative wines being made today. If you’re feeling curious, we plan on getting you up to speed.

To that end, we’re delighted and honored to introduce you to a very proper English gentleman who would never, ever make scrunchy faces; even if he was drinking arsenic! His name is Simon Woolf and he is a wildly accomplished wine journalist who has worked alongside the best of the best, and it just so happens that his book, “The Amber Revolution” is quite sincerely the gospel of orange wines. In other words, he’s a leading authority on a subject that Host David Wilson has sometimes been cynical about. David says that he was worried about this interview because an orange wine loving Brit might not appreciate David’s unapologetically inappropriate (at times) sense of humor.

No worries! Simon turns out to be quite the entertaining chap; infinitely capable of keep the conversation light, entertaining and very informative! How did we not put two and two together when his website is called “The Morning Claret?” Don’t worry, you’ll probably wake up I the middle of the night when that dry English humor percolates a bit!

Anyway, Simon has always been fascinated by the worlds of words and wine. After careers in the music industry and software development, he now writes full-time about his greatest passions. Simon contributes regularly to Decanter and Meininger Wine Business International. He’s also written for Punch Drink, Jancis Robinson, timatkin.com, Palate Press, Harpers online and Catavino.net and many other publications. When he’s not busy writing, Simon can be found cycling around Amsterdam or enjoying a glass of something amber-hued. So press “play,” sip back, relax, and treat yourself to a genuinely off-color conversation about the newest old thing in wine… or is that the oldest new thing in wine?

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