You’re mastered the world of Chardonnay, and Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. You know your way around the Gewurztraminers of Germany and beyond. You’ve even tried a sweet Tokay. Ready to try some really obscure stuff? Yeah. Me too. Here are some wines you may not have heard of but are worth giving a try. Most are great deals as well, so you won’t break you bank when venturing out on a new wine limb.
You may have just read my post on Franciacorta, which details this sparkling wine from Northern Italy. A “high-end” Italian sparkling wine, Franciacorta is made in the method champenoise process which creates beautiful, small bubbles and adds complexity and elegance to sparkling wine. It is a fun alternative to Champagne and a great gift idea for a Champagne lover. (Think upcoming wedding season!)
Frascati is considered an everyday drinking wine, and isn’t that what we’re always searching for? The go-to bottle we can enjoy? A simple Frascati is perfect for a warm summer day. Typical Frascati wines are 50% Malvasia grapes; the remaining half can be from 10-40% Malvasia de Lazio, 30% Greco and/or Trebbiano Giallo and/or Bellone and/or Bambino bianco… and 15% “other”. The wines are light, high in acidity, and have a lot of lemon flavor. Like I said, perfect for a summer day, and for $8-10 a bottle, they are a steal.
The red Grenache/Garnacha gets most of the attention, but its relative, Grenache Blanc, makes delicious wines that are worth a try. Wines are high in alcohol, low in acidity with citrus and herb notes. Although popular in France and Spain, very little Grenache Blanc is grown in the U.S. I personally love the Graves Winegrowers, Inc. “Monkey Wrench” Grenache Blanc from Paso Robles.
This white wine grape is primarily grown in Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. The wine can take on many forms–from young, light, sparkling wines to aged, mineral-laden wines with notes of tobacco, spice, citrus and peach.
Picpoul is primarily grown in France’s Languedoc and and Rhone Valley regions. It has a high acidity and often produces lively wines with a strong lemon flavor.
This wine is mainly grown in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy, although it is also found in Slovenia, where it is known as Rebula, and on the Greek island of Kefalonia where it is known as Robola. The wine is typically light in body with high acidity and floral notes; it is sometimes aged to provide more complexity, vanilla flavors, and body. Over time, it can develop nutty flavors like almond.
Typically a wine used in white wine blends in France’s Rhone Valley, Roussanne is being bottled in 100% form by some of California’s “Rhone Rangers”, a group of winemakers dedicated to producing high quality wines from the grapes grown in the Rhone Valley. Roussanne can be creamy, with a round mouth feel and notes of melon, peach and almond. Check out the “Bergeron” Roussanne from Tablas Creek, a winery that is considered one of the original “Rhone Rangers”.
If you’ve read an article or two from Sedimentality, you are familiar with Torrontes. It’s all over Argentina! But this grape has yet to truly take off in the U.S. and Europe, and I am perplexed as to why. The beautiful body, floral aromas, and sometimes creamy finish (plus high acidity) make it perfect for pairing with numerous dishes.