When it comes to wine, I’m no sommelier — but I know what I like. Most of the time, if I’m reaching for a glass of vino, it’s dry, crisp, almost always red, and fruit-forward but not saccharine. (No buttery Chardonnays in this house.) However, every now and then, I like to get a little wild and experiment with something out of my usual taste profile, and for those times, I always look to the natural or organic wine section of my local shop. However, because I’m no expert (see previous statement), I admit that I could use some help in this arena. Luckily, I found the coolest new wine brand to help me discover a whole world of funky organic brews.
Tinto Amorio is a California-based natural and organic wine producer, and I recently got the chance to sample a trio of the brand’s groovy bottles. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a wine bottle by its label, but let me just say that it doesn’t hurt, okay? As soon as I unboxed my wine delivery, I was beyond excited to sample it. I’ve dabbled in the occasional cheeky glass of orange wine before, and I love the bright flavor that comes through. (FYI, orange wine also goes by the term “skin-contact wine,” which essentially is when the grape juice that becomes white wine stays in contact with the fruit’s skins to enhance body and flavor.) In short, it’s white wine but made more closely to how red wine is made.
But back to Tinto. Based purely on vibes alone, I started off with the Bheeyo orange wine. I could see bits of natural sediment (leftovers from the fermentation process) swirling in the bottle. (FYI, Tinto Amorio’s wines are unfiltered, so all the good bits are normal and delicious!) My fiancé described it as “very orange-y” (a good thing), but I’d describe it as juicy AF — perfect for enjoying on a gorgeous summer day. It wasn’t like anything I’d tried before, but I loved it. The flavor was earthy yet crisp, with stone fruit-esque hints of apricot. It was love at first sip.
The next Tinto bottle I sampled was the Jajaja red variety. I felt most confident going into this one since I heavily favor reds and therefore have dabbled most in that realm. Reds are not typically chilled, but I personally am very here for breaking the rules in that regard, especially during the warmer months — more on that in my hot take here. Because Jajaja is a semi-carbonic variety, it's best enjoyed cold (but doesn't have to be, so whatever!) and results in insanely flavorful, highly drinkable wine. I'm pleased to report that Tinto Amorio's red didn't disappoint. It was less crazy than a bubbly Lambrusco but still had plenty of personality, and I'm usually not a Zinfandel girlie. All in all, it was a surefire winner, and if I could sum it up in a sentence, Jajaja is definitely a bottle that would make for a great housewarming gift for your coolest friend.
Last up was Monje, the other orange vino of the trio. Compared to the Bheeyo, Monje was a little more chill. (It's made with a seven-day skin contact period, compared to Bheeyo's 24-day period.) It's light and bright, but still has pizzazz. This is something I'd definitely keep on hand for a boozy brunch at home or to enjoy with my fiancé for some especially classy day drinking.
Each of Tinto Amorio's natural wine bottles retails from $29 to $45 or comes in a trio sampler pack for $109. (They also make wine spritzer canned cocktails, if that's more your speed!) All in all, I feel much more well-versed in the world of organic and fermented wines, and I'm excited to broaden my horizons even further. Not to mention, I feel like I've landed on what will be my signature drink of choice this summer...
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