4 Wines to try when you’re feeling a little adventurous
Whether we’re creatures of habit looking to break the shackles or open-minded adventurers searching for the next dose of inspiration, there are times when our palates crave something new and different when it’s time for a pre-dinner tipple.
Across the globe there are over 100,000 wineries and in excess of 10,000 different types of wine, so why should we feel compelled to order sauvignon blanc or chardonnay for a white, or pinot noir or shiraz when a red is the order of the day? In Australia, there are over 160 different varietals grown on vineyards across the country. Still, that number is growing year by year as winemakers look to satisfy the consumer’s insatiable desire for something novel. Here are four varietals that you may not have tried but are ones that might just become your “go-to” drop.
Soave might seem difficult to pronounce, but this Italian white is a wine with a future. It’s probably similar in weight and style to pinot grigio and is a crisp, fresh white wine that offers a kaleidoscope of characters borrowed from a citrus orchard. According to vivino.com their users rate the Suavia Monte Carbonare 2017 very highly – though at over $40 a bottle it would want to be above average!
If you love the nose of a sauvignon blanc but find the pungency of the fruit just a little overpowering on the palate, then chenin blanc might be perfect for you. The style is synonymous with the Loire Valley in France (though also does well in South Africa). With a nice balance of citrus and pear and a dryish finish, the style is perfect for the Queensland summer. I’m told that the Swan Valley in Western Australia could be the up-and-coming chenin region – keep an eye out for the Corymbia Rocket’s Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2019.
For those who like a glass of pinot noir, gamay might be a palate-pleasing alternative. The grape is known as Beaujolais in France and is light, dry and highly floral. Expect to smell violets on the nose and taste cherries and stewed plums across the palate. My favourite is the Eldridge Estate Gamay from the Mornington Peninsula. It’s not cheap but worth the spend!
A Spanish red wine that can now be found across the Mediterranean is most often used in red blends. It has the weight of cabernet with bold fruit and a slight astringency on the finish. It might be a little too tannic for most taste buds as a single varietal but blended it adds volume and character. I recently came across a blend of shiraz and carignan made by Calabria Family Wines in the Barossa Valley, which made me think differently about the grape. When I’ve tried carignan dominant blends in Europe, the tannins and herbaceous conclusion left the impression that the Chinese army had just marched across my tongue and down my throat! But the Saint Petri Shiraz Carignan 2017 is crafted from old vines and oozes class. The depth of the purple hue in the glass is striking as is the richness of the blackcurrants and ripe plums that appear on the front palate. Generous oak adds another layer of complexity to a nicely balanced wine. It’s not like the typically ripe and jubey Barossa shiraz and is more elegant than you’d expect!
With such terrific alternatives to the mainstream wines that litter the shelves in our local “bottle-o”, isn’t it time we live a little and allow variety to be the spice of life?