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The Essence of Wine: Oranges


Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

A fruit, a color. By its name, we shall know it well. From the ancient Dravidian and Sanskrit we receive the root naari, which means fragrant, and begets the name nagarugam, for the sweet fruit whose origins are lost in time. The Persians borrowed these narangs and carried them to Spain, where the Moors left their naranja groves, and to Italy where a bit of arangia went a long way in Latin, and became the precious arancia in Italian. Along the way the fruit slipped sideways to ancient France, where Gallic tongues preferred orenge, something we English speakers could almost pronounce at first taste. A symbol of wealth and prosperity, oranges stand in for gold on Chinese altars, a reminder of ancient Mandarins that didn't grow on trees. From satsuma to clementine, valencia to navel, the orange, like the rose, reflects the changing passions of its keeper. Tart, bitter, floral, sour, meaty, juicy and even candy sweet, the flavors and aromas of orange are often a surprise in wine, both red and white. Wherever it surfaces, orange will always be fragrant.

Loimer "Steinmassl" Riesling, Kamptal, Austria
Domaine Weinbach "Cuvée Laurence" Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Furstentum, Alsace, France
Chateau de Campuget "Tradition de Campuget" Rosé, Costieres de Nimes, France
Terre Rouge "R02X" Roussane, Sierra Foothills, California, USA
Novy Family Winery "Blanc de Pinot Noir" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Mountain, California, USA
Chateau d'Yquem White Blend Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Pheasant's Tears Rkatsiteli, Kakheti, Republic of Georgia
Campbells "Classic" Muscat, Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia
Giacomo Conterno Barbera d'Alba, Piemonte, Italy

This is part of an ongoing series of original images and prose called The Essence of Wine

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud