During COVID-19 I have decided to break out of my go to wine varietals and expand my palate. My stepdaughter always tells me that Italian red wine flows in my veins…I think she might be correct.
So here is what I did and now I challenge you to have a similar wine adventure.
If you are a white wine drinker and you like the rich, complex and zing of acidity from Chardonnay you might want to try to Voignier, which drinks like Chardonnay but with a little more peach citrus, zest. Or you could try Garganega which is very similar to Chardonnay and comes from Italy in the Soave Classico region.
If you favor Pinot Grigio then you could try Albarino or Treixadura from Northern Spain, both are easy drinking aromatic wines like Pinot Grigio.
If you are a red wine enthusiast and you love the big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon then you might want to try a Carmenere from Chili. Have you ever tried one? The Carmenere is typically a little lighter in body and has softer tannins than Cabs but it offers a little more flavours like tobacco, leather and chocolate and the bonus is Carmenere is typically at a lower price point and is great value for your wine drinking budget. Other good value alternatives to Cab are Malbec from Argentina or Touriga Nacional from Portugal and one of my all-time favorites is Monastrell from Spain. Monastrell is also very similar to Syrah as well, as it typically has high tannins and acidity (it is called Mourvèdre in France).
On the more floral and lighter side of red wines is Pinot Noir. Pinot is a very popular wine and due to its popularity, it can be expensive. Here are some alternatives for you to try that may suit your wallet. Have you ever tried Grenache, it is a grape varietal from France and it is called Garnacha when grown in Spain. Grenache has nice red fruit flavours like Pinot but it is often less expensive and is a great choice for an everyday value driven wine.
There are a few alternatives to the internationally known white and red wine grape varietals for you to try and enjoy. And if you want to get even more adventurous there are hundreds more varietals that you can try as you expand your wine adventure.
Tonight, I think I am going to find a nice Touriga Nacional from Portugal. It is a big bold wine like a Napa Cab although a lot less expensive. Be prepared for bold tannins, blueberry, and blackberry flavours with a hint of cocoa. It is paired perfectly with a nice BBQ steak. Hmmmm…I may have to BBQ tonight!
BoomersPlus team member by day
Winemaker and Adventurer by night and weekends