There are over a thousand different grape varieties and more being created all the time. I thought it would be fun to talk about a few that many people probably haven’t heard of.
Let’s start with a grape called Zweigelt. Commonly found in Austria, this grape is known for having a rich tart candied red fruit flavor and some black pepper spice. It is great with sausage.
Abouriou is rapidly disappearing, in its home in Southwest France, there are barely 800 acres left. It is a deeply colored spicy and tannic red, with berry fruit, coffee and hints of orange peel. This wine would be good with a meatloaf.
Furmint is as weird as it comes. This is the grape used in the Tokaj region of Hungary to create one of the most complex dessert wines in the world. Tokay Azsu exhibits flavors of earth, mineral, orange, apricot, with a combination of sweetness and acidity.
Another Hungarian grape that no one has heard of is Juhark. Grown only in the Somlo region, it produces a savory and smoky white wine, with apple cider, cantaloupe, roses and mushrooms. This wine is perfect with roasted Cornish game hens.
Verdelho is used to make one of the drier styles of Madeira wine, made on the island of Madeira in Portugal. Bursting with blood orange, salty lemons and a fantastic damp hay/dried mushroom flavor. A pleasant sweetness is offset by great acidity and a creamy finish like toasted almonds. This wine pairs well with mushrooms or butternut squash.
A grape called Moshofilero grows in the Peloponnese region of Greece. Light-bodied, aromatic, with flavors of citrus and passion fruit, it is relatively low in alcohol and would be great with a tomato and feta salad.
Teroldego is a grape found in the Trentino region of Italy. It makes a bold, rustic red wine with brambly black and tart pomegranate fruit flavors, great acidity and nice minerality. It would pair well with a Canederli (dumplings) with spicy meat gulasch.Vidiano has great aromatics, a dark straw color, and flavors of ripe peach,
Vidiano has great aromatics, a dark straw color, and flavors of ripe peach, pineapple and honeysuckle. Found on the Island of Crete, it would be great with a grilled fish dish.
Devin is a little-known grape, produced in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia. Produced by crossing Gewurtztrminer with Roter Veltliner, it makes a full-bodied, low acid, spicy, fruity floral dessert wine. Try it with a creamy goat cheese.
Ribolla Gialla is an ancient grape variety from the Italy- Slovenia border. It produces a light-bodied and high acid, deep yellow colored white wine with rich yellow fruit and a nutty and mineral flavor. This grape has received some acclaim due to the success of Fruili winemaker Josko Gravner’s clay amphorae version called Runk. This is a wine I would savor by itself.
Bobal is a grape that has been grown in the Manchuela region of Spain for many years. It has mostly been uprooted and replanted with international varieties, but some still exist. Our red wine of the month is made from this rare grape variety.
Drink wine – it isn’t good to keep things bottled up!
White Wine of the Month – Seven Hills Pinot Gris, Oregon, 2013
Citrus fruit layered with a hint of mint, vanilla and pear, make this a great match with seafood and vegetable dishes.
Red Wine of the Month – 11 Pinos Bobal Old Vines, Spain, 2014
Made from 80 year old vines, with wild mountain herbs, red fruit and concentrated minerality, this wine pairs well with grilled meats and vegetables.
Please join us for our Summer Wine Tour this year. The first tasting is Friday, June 2nd from 6-8pm featuring wines from Germany and Austria. I hope to see you there!
Wine Club members please come in and pick up your wines before they’re gone.
Sommelier, Maynards Market and Kitchen