Branching out–grape varieties worth a try

olmdanbraveSometimes we get stuck in a wine rut. We find a comfort zone and stick with it, always ordering the Sauvignon Blanc or the Malbec. It’s time to play “if you like, you may like,” a little tool to help you branch out. Some of the varietals called out here are also featured in one of our very cool, new gifts, “Brave New World of Wine.” It is based off the new book by renowned wine educator and author, Mark Oldman. In this book, Oldman calls out some slightly off-the-beaten-path varieties to try, as well as some old favorites that should be re-visited. So I’ll be using some of those great suggestions, here. If you like these ideas, the Brave New World of Wine is worth checking out!

If you like Sauvignon Blanc…
You may also like Chenin Blanc – particularly those versions from South Africa. Dry, crisp and delightful, It’s also a great value.
Also try Gruner Veltliner – Austrian’s white gem, this wine is crisp and refreshing with a wine peppery backbone.

If you  like Pinot Gris
You may also like Rhone Blends and Torrontes. Both are very crisp and Torrontes has lovely aromatics.

If you like Cabernet Sauvignon
Try Aglianico or Nero d’Avola from Italy. Or a Petite Sirah from California. These all have great tannic structure and density to please a Cab-loving palate.

And maybe you’re more into “styles”…

If you like light & fruity reds, try Barbera, Dolcetto or Gamay (as in Cru Beaujolais). All three of these varieties offer lots of great acidity and red berry fruit, making them excellent for food-friendly beverages.

Are you more earthy & spicy? Give Carmenere a go – it’s got a meaty & smoky characteristic that is so specific, but not too heavy. You could also try some South African reds. Pinotage, Syrah/Shiraz and Bordeaux blends from South Africa all have that spicy punch.

But don’t take my word for it. Get a look at Mark Oldman’s new book – it will have you drinking bravely in no time!

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