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Everybody loves to drink a glass of Riesling or Pinot Noir, some classic Chardonnay or Champagne (even better)! And what can we say about a glass of crisp Shiraz? Well these popular wine varietals have always been crowd favorites but there are some rather unique and uncommon varietals that also are worth trying out. Did you hear about the Verdelho wine from Portugal? Or are you game to sipping some beautiful Greek Kadarka wine? If yes, then you must step away from the tried and tested and give the uncommon wines from across the world a try. Have them with your friends at a bar, pair them with your favorite cuisines or just try cooking with them. The refreshing aromas, the fresh taste and the exceptional qualities of these wines will blow you away!
The amazing wines that you must try
Verdelho is one of the most promising and delicious wine varietals out there. Originally from Portugal’s Douro Valley (Madera), this lovely full-bodied dry white wine is also quite popular in Australia these days. What makes this wine so special is the grape-essence it retains. When you smell the wine and then sip it, you will distinctly get a very ‘grape-juice-like’ essence, something that is not so pronounced in most other wines. This makes the wine very fruity but at the same time it is acidic and so balances off beautifully.
- Serve – During the day time or in the evening
- Perfect for – An informal gathering of friends
- Food paring – Sushi or any other meaty delight
- Interesting trivia – Small amounts of this wineare added to most Australian white wine varietals such as Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.
Arneis is a wine varietal that is found in Italy’s Piedmont region. For many years, the white Arneis grape was used to cushion the tannins and severity of the Nebbiolo grape in the wines of the Barolo region. The varietal therefore holds a significant place in Italy’s wine history. It is a medium-bodied fruity wine that has a syrupy consistency. It is loaded with fruity and nutty flavors such as almonds, lime and pears. It also has a pronounced floral aroma that makes it a pleasure for the senses. As a result, this wine is also called the white wine that tastes like red wine. Interesting, isn’t it?
- Serve – Chilled, during the day time or early evening as it is light and refreshing
- Perfect for – A barbeque on the beach
- Food pairing – Great with fish and all other seafood, also with spaghetti and salads
- Interesting trivia – This is one of the most difficult wine grapes to grow and is very susceptible to bugs and diseases. The yield is also low and the variety was almost wiped out in the 1960s.
Kadarka or Gamza
A dark, full-bodied red wine from the serene valleys of Hungary, Kadarka is a real treat for the senses. This is perhaps why it is the most popular wine among the Hungarians. It is easily identifiable by its rich color and berry-like flavor. It is a rich red wine that has some of the deepest and strongest aromas among all red wines. It has an acidic, earthy taste that makes it extremely unique.
- Serve – In the evening, after keeping it in the fridge for a few minutes (do not chill, just cool)
- Perfect for – A dinner party with some home cooked comfort food
- Food pairing – Any kind of mushroom dish and homemade buttery pot pies. Kadarka can be used to cook these dishes as well
- Interesting trivia – There is a lot of confusion over where the wine originated. Some theories say it was originally from Turkey but others say it is an Albanian wine. Nevertheless, the wine is today popular all overEastern Europe.
Another dark, rich, full-bodied red wine, the Sagrantino wine varietal is native to Italy’s Umbria region. It has a mysterious blend of flavors and unlike most wines, it has a smoky flavor. The wine is loaded with cherry and blackberry tones and also has a subtle spicy aroma. It is a highly acidic wine and has high amounts of tannins in it.
- Serve – After keeping it in the cellar for a minimum of 30 months (the Italian law requires you to do so!)
- Perfect for – A sit down, formal dinner party
- Food pairing – Red meat, particularly beef stakes
- Interesting trivia – Though an out and out extra-dry wine, Sagrantino was initially produced as a sweet wine in Italy.
It is very interesting to note that most of these uncommon varietals are often used for blending with the better know grapes. Only a confident wine maker would try to use them as the main lead!
The next time you want to give a new, fancy wine a try, do not settle for the usual varietals. Go for the uncommon wines and you will end up with a lot of surprises. Sure, you will have to hunt for these wines, but if you are a true wine lover, this bit won't be a problem for you at all. So what are you waiting for? Get your explorer’s hat on and start discovering!