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Drinks, Food

7 grape mashups to look for when you want to try a new wine

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DJ Kearney May 10, 2017 6:00 am 388

Hey wine lovers – it’s a big wine world out there! Over 1000 different grapes are planted throughout Planet Wine, yet we seem to stick to the same old homebodies: Cab, Chard, Pinot, Sauvignon Blanc…yawn!

Drinking the same wine is like wearing all black or all beige, ALL the time.

Get out of your wine rut, choose the unfamiliar, be adventuresome, and do a little liquid globetrotting by trying these seven grapes you’ve never even heard of. It’ll shake up your tastebuds!

1. Gros Plant

Gros Plant is a punishing name! But, it’s also known as Folle Blanche (prettier) and plays a significant role in Cognac production. Do you like eye-popping, lip-smacking, bone-dry whites? Then this Gros Plant from Vincent Caillé is just the ticket. You’ll need some limey poké to temper the sizzling acidity and tart green apple flavours of this trim beauty.

2. Chasselas

Chasselas is the national white grape of Switzerland, where it makes charming and delicate wines. At Corcelettes in the rugged Similkameen Valley, Chasselas gets the full monty treatment of barrel fermentation and ageing. Delightfully rich, try the Chasselas with your best shot at home-cooked wiener schnitzel.

3. Oraniensteiner

All together now: Oraniensteiner… or-RAN-ee-an-stye-ner. A German crossing of Riesling and Silvaner, this grape drips exotic orange and peach flavours. A little Pinot Blanc is blended into Lunessences’ head-turner, which you might want to sip in the bathtub.

4. Catarratto and Zibbibo

These two Sicilian grapes – Catarratto and Zibbibo – are as fun to say as they are to drink. This aromatic dry white called Crudo has a killer octopus label, and you should sip with crudo of course – take-out sushi, for example.

5. Nerello Mascalese

Nerello Mascalese Grapes Wine Sicily

Nerello Mascalese/Shutterstock

And also from Sicily comes Nerello Mascalese (mah-ska-lay-zay) parading spice, red berries and gentle tannins. This edition gets a little propping up from another sultry Sicilian red grape.

6. Zwiegelt

Juicy reds are just what late spring dinner needs, and the Zwiegelt (say ZVEYE-gelt) grape delivers cheerful black/red fruit and a kick of brisk acidity. Marionette is a great new B.C. winery based in Salmon Arm and their Pulcinella (say pull-chee-nella) is unoaked, unbridled Zwiegelt. Munch ketchup chips or teriyaki chicken wings as you imbibe.

7. Tannat

Tannat is a darkly brooding, tannic grape from the French wine region of Madiran – but it travelled to Argentina long ago where it makes buxom, softer wines in the sunny Andean foothills. Check out the blackberry fruit and mocha in this great value Tannat.


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DJ Kearney
DJ Kearney is the Director of Wine at newdistrict.ca, an innovative online marketplace for wine. With the singular goal of simplifying the enjoyment of wine for British Columbians, she oversees wine selections and purchasing, and curates mixed packs of wine and knowledge. In almost two decades in the wine business, DJ has trained thousands of sommeliers throughout North America, judged and presented around the world, and tasted thousands of wines in pursuit of quality and value. She's also a classically trained chef, an ardent locavore, avid online shopper, and sports fanatic.

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