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