Although orange infused wine, or vin d’orange, is a warm weather Provençal aperitif, I never remember to make it during the summer months; only during the holidays, and that is because my family likes it so much they won’t let me forget!
This year I sought Kathleen Erickson’s advice (co-owner of Savour Wine and Cheese) on what wines she would suggest that would blend well with the flavor of the Clementines and cognac. She knew just what to recommend and steered me to the 10.00 a bottle bins. The Rayon Sauvignon Blanc from Chile sounded ideal, not only for the orange wine recipe, but also for the fondue I was making later that evening. As we found when preparing and eating the fondue, the Rayon Sauvignon was perfectly drinkable and delicious all on its own, too.
Over time I’ve experimented with the original recipe, which was, to my way of thinking, much too sweet—you can always add more sugar if you like a sweeter aperitif. I think you will find this concoction intoxicatingly fun, delicious, and aromatic. I hope your family and friends enjoy as much as do mine!
12-15 Clementines thoroughly washed and cut in half
3 bottles modestly priced dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc this year!)
1 Cup sugar
½ Cup Courvoisier
Long strips of orange zest
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl combine the wine and Clementines, gently squeezing each half to release some of the juice. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 5 days. Save the empty wine bottles and corks; wash and remove labels. You will need a fourth empty bottle.
Remove orange infused wine from the refrigerator and squeeze any liquid remaining in the orange halves into the large bowl. Discard oranges. Add the sugar and cognac, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Strain through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour wine concoction into wine bottles. Insert a strip of the zest into each bottle and cork. Chill the wine for one week. Serve neat or over ice.
Orange wine will keep for 6 months when chilled. Makes approximately 4 bottles.