Broadening your Grape Horizons
There is a great new world out there which most people are too afraid of venturing into. This is possibly the biggest shame for everyone in the wine world. It is terrible for consumers as they simply are just missing out a whole range of flavours, regions, stories that they could be enjoying. It is understandable as humans are creatures of habit but it just takes a little bit of knowledge (found here) to give you the skills to make that next bottle a new and exciting one. You already know what sorts of flavours, grapes or regions you like – so use that to find out grapes and regions you will also like.
We’ve compiled a list of the most common grape varietals and a list of grapes you should try similar to these grapes, as well as a range of regions that make fantastic examples of these grapes that you may not have tried.
Chardonnay is possibly one of the most elusive grape varietals as it comes in a range of styles and flavour profiles. It can be full-bodied, oaky or buttery, or lighter in style with zesty flavours.
Try this GRAPE: Grenache Blanc (from the Rhone Valley/South of France), Viognier (from the Rhone Valley in France), Marsanne and Roussanne Blend (from the Rhone Valley in France) or Chasselas
Try this REGION: Margaret River in Western Australia, California State or South Africa
Pinot Gris is either; crisp and zesty under the name of Pinot Grigio, or is fruitier and often with just a kiss of sweetness.
Try this GRAPE: Greco di Tufo, Falanghina (both from Campania, Italy), Malvasia Blanca or Grillo (from Sicily)
Try this REGION: Alsace, France – the home to Pinot Gris and often made in the off-dry style
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most well-known white grapes in the world – especially in New Zealand. Known for its incredibly aromatic profile and high acidity.
Try this GRAPE: Gruner Veltliner (from Austria), Albarino (Rias Baixas in NW Spain), Semillon, Assyrtiko (from Greece), Godello (Spain) or Vermentino (Sardinia, Italy)
Try this REGION: Loire Valley in France or South Africa
Riesling is the pinnacle of white wine. Capable of making crisp and zesty white wines to the most complex and luscious sweet wines in history, and everything in between. It has a high acidity and an ability to have an aromatic profile possible of citrus to tropical to tree-fruit.
Try this GRAPE: Gruner Veltliner (from Austria), Scheruebe (from Germany), Furmint (from Hungary)
Try this REGION: Finger Lakes in New York State, Washington State, Clare or Eden Valley in Australia, throughout Germany – the most famous regions are the Mosel Valley, Rheingau or the Pfalz
Gewurztraminer is one of, if not, the most aromatic grape varietals known to man. It is a glass of flowers with rose and lychee aromas at the forefront.
Try this GRAPE: Muscat, Viognier
Try this REGION: Alsace in France or Finger Lakes in New York State
Pinot Noir is a light-medium bodied red wine that has medium tannins. It has bright red fruit flavours and often has highlights of oak-infused flavours.
Try this GRAPE: Gamay Noir (from Beaujolais region in France), Blaufrankisch (from Austria), Barbera (Piemonte, Italy) or Cabernet Franc (from the Loire Valley in France)
Try this REGION: Finger Lakes in New York State, Oregon State, or Baden (Germany)
Syrah is either; a medium bodied and perfumed red, or a rich red that is filled with ripe black fruit complimented with oodles of oak.
Try this GRAPE: Pinotage (Stellenbosch, South Africa), Primitvo/Zinfandel (Southern Italy or California), Montepulciano (Southern Italy)
Try this REGION: South Africa, Portugal, Rhone Valley or California
Merlot is the grape of texture. It is soft and plummy with a tannic texture like velvet on the tongue.
Try this GRAPE: Teroldego (Northern Italy), Susumaniello (Southern Italy), Mencia (Spain) or Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)
Try this REGION: Washington State, South Africa or Long Island in New York State
Cabernet Sauvignon is hailed as the king of red grape varietals. It is medium-full bodied with high tannins, and an aromatic profile filled with blackcurrants and ripe black fruits.
Try this GRAPE: Aglianico (Southern Spain), Touriga Nacional (Portugal), Cinsault (France or Italy), or Petit Verdot
Try this REGION: Stellenbosch (South Africa), California, Tuscany (Italy)