It rained hard in these parts all day today. The distant hills were smudged with mist and the low steel grey sky felt oppressive. The short time I spent in the sun-kissed South of France, in May last year, now seems centuries ago. Occasionally as an antidote to dull days I recall the clear blue skies, the shimmering azure sea and the colourful food markets of Provence. One memory of the holiday has hooked itself crochet like into my mind; it is the taste of the orange wine, which is a speciality of the region. Now that Seville (marmalade) oranges are in season I decided to make a batch of Vin d’ Orange.
I found a recipe in Mireille Johnston’s ‘French Cookery Course: Part Two’ which yields about ten pints (5.5 litres). I wasn’t sure how I would get through such industrial quantities of orange wine so I made a smaller amount. Here’s the recipe, for the full quantity, which you might also like to scale down.
5 Seville oranges (or 7 regular oranges and rind of one oven dried orange)
Rind of 1 lemon
2 pints/1.2 litres of brandy (45% alcohol content)
6 pints/3.4 litres of red or rosé wine
2lbs/900 g sugar
2 vanilla pods split in half
First wash the oranges, then cut them into small pieces removing only the pips. Put the chopped up oranges into a large glass jar, together with the lemon rind, brandy, wine, sugar, and the vanilla pods. Close the jar tightly and leave in a cool, dark place for about six weeks, stirring every few days. When the six weeks are up, strain and pour the wine into bottles and store in a dark cupboard.
Serve chilled as an apéritif or dessert wine.
Note: Unless you have a very large glass jar you will need to divide the ingredients between two or three jars. I have to fess up that this is an experiment and I have never made orange wine before today! However I cannot see what could go wrong once the recipe is followed. I would add as a caveat that it’s probably best to use a good quality wine, as the process will not transform undrinkable plonk into nectar.
À votre santé.
11 responses to “Making Orange Wine”
I have ALL that .. sat on top of the fridge and the vanilla pods in my dark cupboard, no seville but i can find the ordinary kind.. Excellent, i will make it and we can compare.. and I do understand about caveat.. thank you.. i love making a good bottle of Plonk! c
Hi C, I look forward to comparing notes in six weeks time. I have some seville oranges left over – if only I get them across the ocean to you!
Merci beaucoup, ma Chérie! I look forward to trying this–sounds a treat indeed.
À votre santé aussi!
I am just hoping that my version is somewhere near as good as the orange wine I tasted in France.
I’ve never tried orange wine before. It doesn’t look too sweet, but oh boy that brandy will give a great kick! I hope it works well so you get some happy taste memories 🙂
I hope it works too. I am going to have to wait six weeks to find out! 😉
Oh, my grandmother used to make dandelion wine… I think she would have loved this!
I have never tasted dandelion wine – I hope it was delicious.
You use such lovely language to describe all of this. I don’t know if I would attempt making this, but it sounds like it would be good to drink.
Why thank you. I have just had a OMG moment as I remember I have totally forgotten to stir the wine over the last few days so I am off to do some stirring now.
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