When deciding on your Friday night tipple in your local bottle shop it’s easy to head straight to what you know – that nice cushion-filled, candyfloss comfort zone – known in my world as probably a nice chilled bottle of Kiwi Sauvy or an intensely full-bodied Barossa Shiraz. But think about it for a second, there are thousands of different grape varieties in the world, which could equate to thousands of splendid wine moments that you are simply passing by. It’s one of those ‘what if’ moments. Which can simply end in two ways; a: your taste buds are doing jumping jacks over this new elixir or b: you know never to venture there again. Simple.
So are you ready to challenge that guard at the door of your comfort zone and make a run for it? I think you should go for it, and hey that comfort zone is going to be right back there if you need it. So here are a few grape varieties which I think are worth testing out those waters with…
It’s a purebred Italian variety, which you may have tried without knowing it as like the French, Italians don’t normally specify the variety used on the label. However more typically seen on the bottle is the name ‘Valpolicella’ which is the home to this variety alongside its blending mates – Molinara and Rondinella. On its own it’s intensely vibrant and fresh with strong cherry-like nuances. The dry Amarone is probably the one to look out for, as the grapes are picked early and then laid out on mats to dry (see picture above) which results in a heavenly concentrated, intense wine – it’s an experience like no other.
This food-friendly, spicy Austria variety is bound to start taking over the worlds wine glasses one glass at a time. Don’t get thrown off by its spicy nature, as the citrus mixed with peach notes slips down the throat like a treat. I have even heard through the grapevine (no pun intended) that experimental plantings are occurring in New Zealand…
Famous for making Port should not be underestimated on the wine front. It is starting to rival those big red boys by producing intensely dark, dry and spicy wines – they are bound to give the other boys a run for their money! It is the perfect accompaniment to that inch thick rib eye, though on its own it could be considered a meal in a glass.