Lesser Known Grapes

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Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir are the common grapes familiar to most wine drinkers. But what about the hundreds of lesser known examples that are cultivated in many parts of the world’s viticulture? They tend to be less commercial and more individualistic in terms of character and flavor profile. So from time to time we will introduce you to some unique grape varieties and expand the range of your taste buds starting with the three following wines:

 Saint-Peyre Picpoul de Pinet 2012 – Southern France is most commonly associated, vinously speaking, with robust red wine values.  Well and good, but a bit ironic, since the south of France is home to some of the world’s finest seafood cuisine.  Picpoul de Pinet is the great white exception.  Within the Languedoc region, near the Mediterranean coast, lying between Sete and Pezenas, Picpoul vineyards are spread over vast terraces, known locally as costieres, extending down from the wild garrigue country to the sea.  Picpoul is the grape, Pinet is a small village near the Bassin de Thau, a lagoon famed for its Bouzigues oysters, and Sete, one of the oldest fishing villages in France, founded by the Phoenicians.  This interesting varietal yields body, liveliness, purity of flavor and crisp dryness in impressive and inexpensive fashion $9.99

 Briňal Viura 2012 – This white Rioja wine is citrus-driven, there’s tangerine, ripe red grapefruit, lemon and lime all jumping out of the glass… just enough brightly colored and familiar fruit to tell you at a boisterous party, ” I’m tasty wine!” but not so potent that it hogs your attention or distracts you from the attractive stranger across the room. The first sip is easy, not too light or bracing, not too heavy or rich… just right. The complementary fresh white flower notes and bite of bitter almond skin at the end make it not too simple, not too complex… just right.  It’s affordable. So affordable that you can easily bring two bottles to the party. Although the first one is probably gone by now, you can pull the second out of your bag and walk a glass right over to your stranger. $9.99

 Fazi Battaglia 2013 –  this is made from Verdicchio ,a white-wine grape grown mainly in Italy’s Marches region, where it has been cultivated since the fourteenth century. Verdicchio’s name is derived from verde (green), referring to the yellow-green skin of the grape, also contributing to the wines’ subtle greenish tone. This family owned winery (headed by a mother and her daughters) bottles their wines in the unique amphora shape, harkening back to the shape of the vessels used for wine storage in antiquity. Light, fresh and clean, this is lip smacking lemon and mineral, with bitter almond, herbs and Granny Smith tart flavors and a crisp, elegant finish. Drink while young (the wine) and while hot (the weather). This is delicious with mussels or sardines dressed with lemon or partnered with lightly dressed, summer veg tossed vegetarian pasta dishes. $9.99

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