Why not give other grape types a go!
Wine is one of those things in life that once you like a particular type (grape / region) you don’t tend to step away and try something else. To me, that’s a real shame as there are so many different grape varieties in the world, people tend to stick with what they know & don’t experiment. Don’t get me wrong, I love the more well-known grapes & regions like Rioja & Bordeaux, but I also love experimenting and finding something totally new and different.
Having said that, it’s nice to see the emergence of grape varieties like Malbec, Zinfandel, Gruner Veltliner and Albarino. They are becoming increasingly more popular for one main reason – wine merchants and wine enthusiasts are both looking for that something different that is ideally good to drink and also great value for money. To me, it’s really worth seeking out the more ‘unusual’ grape varieties as they’re usually fairly inexpensive and sometimes you’ll find that something special which you’ll really learn to love and appreciate. You will also, more than likely, occasionally come across a wine that you’ll never wish to try again but that’s half the fun!
Why not experiment?
Recently, I came across a great wine from the Greek island of Crete called Skalani from the Boutari Winery. The Skalani Boutari wine was extremely fruity with red berry flavours and an intense heady aroma. I would imagine that it would benefit from a number of years in the cellar but it was very drinkable at present and would be fantastic with a steak or moussaka! The wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, which everybody knows and 50% Kotsifali, which is totally knew to me! Kotsifali is indigenous to Crete & at just a mere £12.00 a bottle, I don’t think you can go wrong!
I tried another great wine whilst in Eastern Europe, this time from the beautiful country of Montenegro. Whilst there, it seemed like a great idea to try something not normally found in the UK, so I opted for a local red wine to go with a spicy pizza. To be honest, it wasn’t a great combination on paper but the Plantaze Crnogorski Vranac had an intense fragrant with red fruity flavours, made from the Vranac grape. It worked brilliantly and at roughly £8.00 (€10.00), I’d definitely still recommend it. Since trying this wine, I’ve done a bit of research! I’ve found that the Vranac grape is indigenous to the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro. It’s closely related to the more well-known grape of Primitivo. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luggage space to bring some of this delicious wine back with me, but it would have been very well worth it if I had.
These two inexpensive examples just go to show that if you try something a little less known, you might find something fantastic. I recommend that the next time you’re on holiday or reading a wine list in a restaurant, rather than selecting a wine made from an everyday grape, why not opt for something different and you may find that a wine that you’ve never heard of, might just open your eyes to a whole new world!