With the New Year comes new found resolutions. Maybe a change in diet to keep yourself healthy, a new exercise regime to work off those extra Holiday pounds, even a change in the style and manner we approach our work habits. It’s a time to try new things. It may be a good time to change your wine drinking habits as well. Let’s all think New; New Year, New Resolution, New Wines.
One of life’s great pleasures at the end of our day is to enjoy a wonderful meal with an accompanying great wine. Whether it be a Cabernet, Merlot, Riesling, Chardonnay, or Lambrusco, we all have our favorite quaff that we gravitate to on a regular basis. Maybe it might be time for a change to try something new. Not that we should abandon the tried and true all together, rather let us remove the fear of the unknown.
The world of wine offer us many choices well beyond the most popular varietals. Many of these have become my personal favorites that I seek out regularly with much enjoyment. They may already be fond choices of yours as well and in your cellars. If you are tired of the same old same old, and are looking for something to spice up your tired palate, start to think anew. Add this to your list of new resolutions.
If you feel adventuresome enough to take a trip through the new wine looking glass, join me as we sample some of the unsung treasures of the wine world.
GAVI: Dry, crisp, and citrus flavors, this elegant Italian beauty from the Piedmont region is a great food partner.
VINHO VERDE: Translated green wine, it is not green at all, just a clean refreshing white from Portugal.
RETSINA: From Greece, the birthplace of wine, this pungent, pine resin flavored, dry wine, is very food friendly.
VERNACCIA: Noted wine from the city of San Gimignano in Italy, dry, refreshing, with apple, melon, and nutty flavors.
SANCERRE: The French version of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, crisp, balanced acidity, and zesty.
PINOT BLANC: From the Alsace region of France, dry to medium-dry, light, mellow, fruity, baked apple flavors.
VIOGNIER: Exotic, sensual, spicy, floral, this is a tasty classic. Great versions from California and France.
MARSANNE: Medium Body, rich and earthy. This Rhone wine can be found from France, California, and Australia.
PROSECCO: Think Italian Champagne. This bubbly is light and refreshing. Add peach nectar to make a Bellini.
GEWURZTRAMINER: It may be hard to pronounce but fabulous to drink. Dry to semi-sweet, light and spicy.
MULLER THURGAU: Germany most prolific grape varietal. Soft, fragrant, off-dry, a Riesling alternative.
MERITAGE WHITE: Many dry and semi-sweet versions abound, just pick your passion. A California specialty.
PINOTAGE: A cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, this fruity, rustic, vibrant red is a classic from South Africa.
TEMPRANILLO: Primary grape used in making Rioja, often called the Bordeaux of Spanish red wines.
CABERNET FRANC: Often a blending grape, on it own it exudes wines that are big, powerful, floral, silky, and elegant.
MALBEC: The work horse grape from Argentina, huge gripping flavors that are becoming a worldwide favorite.
NEBBIOLO: Seek out the California versions, as well as the world renowned Barolo, Barbaresco, and Gattinara.
MOURVEDRE: Bold, muscular, and huge fruit flavors on it own, often blended with Grenache and Syrah.
GRENACHE: Great versions are the norm from the Rhone Valley, but California and Australia are not far behind.
PRIORAT: This Spanish area produces one of the boldest, darkest, concentrated, and most tasty reds on the planet.
AMARONE: Those in the know swear this big, ripe, raisony, near Port like classic from Italy is like heaven in a glass.
RIPASSA: I like to call this a baby Amarone, less expensive, softer, yet the flavors are silky and seductive.
BARBERA: Rich, robust, and fruity, great examples from California but most noted versions from it Italian roots.
MERITAGE RED: When a bottle of wine does not contain at least 75% of one main grape, these blends from any number of different grapes are called a meritage. (Rhymes with heritage) Whatever their blend may be, many winemakers are known to create magic in a bottle.
You may also be tempted to try specialty classics from a traditional wine making area such as Greece, Hungary, Austria, Romania, Portugal, South Africa, Argentina, and Canada, as well as the many fantastic award winning wines being produced right here on our own home soil in Michigan and those of nearby New York State.
We have only begun to scratch the surface on the many different grape varietals and various homes to some of the worlds greatest, yet lesser heralded wines. With improved wine making techniques, more experienced vineyard management, and newly discovered wine regions emerging throughout the world each day, the vast world of wine has so much to offer those who seek out these hidden treasures.
It is often said that good things come to those who wait. But those who wait often miss out on many of these spectacular nectar delights. Make it a point in 2020 to take a walk on the new side of wine. You may discover an unexpected favorite, and in the process, impress those you intend to share it with.