This Orange-Colored Wine is Perfect for Halloween. But How Does it Taste?

Rose wine feels like the perfect drink for Summer–light, refreshing, not especially alcoholic. But what can you do when the weather turns chilly, and you want a similarly fun, colorful wine to enjoy?

Kivelstadt Cellers recently reached out to the Bay Area Telegraph with a new wine to try: their 2022 Wayward Son Skin Contact Pinot Grigio from Pintail Ranch.

This unique wine originates not from nearby Napa or Sonoma, but from the Sacramento, California area–specifically, the Clarksburg appellation.

Unlike typical white wines, Pintail’s pinot grigio is fermented for several weeks with native yeasts, and then macerated (mushed up, for us less fancy folks) with the skins, pressed to remove the little grape bits, fermented in French oak barrels, and bottled up.

The use of native yeast–along with the skin fermentation–yields a wine that tastes very different from any pino grigio you’ve tried.

The resulting wine also has a lovely orangish color. It’s the perfect wine to enjoy on Halloween, while you wait for trick-or-treaters to arrive. (Kivel Stadt even sells some more aggressively orange wines if you really want to embrace the season).

Unlike a rose–and perhaps belying its cheerful color–Pintail’s Skin Contact is surprisingly dry. It tastes substantially drier than a typical pinot grigio. I think a lot of that is down the the skin fermentation process, which adds a nice hit of astringency from the grape skins. 

It kind of reminds me of the bite of Japanese sencha tea, another unique drink I’ve been enjoying as the weather turns chilly.

At 11.65% ABV, the Wayward Son Skin Contact is super drinkable. It’s not sweet and refreshing like many Summer wines. But for the cold season, that’s actually a nice thing.

Orange wine can feel gimmicky and a little silly. But this wine is surprisingly grown up–a bit bracing, not too sweet, and with a nice jolt of citrus that says “It’s not quite Winter yet! Drink this on a patio, you wimpy Californian–it’s only 64 degrees outside!

Thanks to Kivelstadt for sending us this unique wine to check out. You can grab a bottle from their website or at multiple wine stores around the Bay Area.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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