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Get Wild with Orange Wine

Toast with a twist


Cindy Chew

D. C. Looney realizes that orange wine isn’t for everyone.

“This isn’t a Coca-Cola product, where you open up a bottle and it’ll taste the same every time,” says Looney, who runs the new Punchdown wine bar in Uptown Oakland, with his partner, Lisa Costa.

The Punchdown focuses on natural, biodynamic wines, but it places a special emphasis on orange wines, carrying up to 10 labels at any given time. Slowly growing in popularity, these wines are made from white grapes that are fermented with their skins on, giving them a distinctively rich color, ranging from deep yellow to a sherrylike golden orange.

The added tannins from the skins also give the wines a characteristically dry taste, with stronger and more intense flavors, meaning orange wines tend to be a little less predictable. That’s why the Punchdown calls its orange wine flight the Adventurous Orange.

“We absolutely love them,” says Looney. “There are more flavors, more textures. It literally varies from bottle to bottle what you’re going to get.”

The Punchdown, 2212 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 251-0100, punchdownwine.com.

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