After 15 great years working as a wine & spirits specialist in Tallahassee, I recently transitioned into a new role as a wine & spirits supervisor covering ABC stores from Crystal River to Destin and all parts in between. Change is never easy, and this move has certainly been filled with emotions ranging from nervousness to excitement. Naturally when I started brainstorming what would be my first blog in my new role, picking a theme was rather easy: change.
All too often wine drinkers find themselves drinking the same wines repeatedly, hesitant to change for fear of not liking what they might select or simply content to keep drinking the same wine. While there is nothing really wrong with this approach to enjoying wine, why not branch out and try something new? You just might find a new favorite.
Ready to try a new wine? I offer the following tips:
If you are a fan of Chardonnay, particularly the oaky, robust style often found in California, try a white Rioja from Spain. Baigorri is one of my favorite producers in Rioja, producing a white wine that is both barrel fermented and barrel aged for about eight months. Like your wines oaky? This one is for you!
Love Italian Pinot Grigio? Consider one of the many refreshing white wine alternatives found in Italy. How about a Soave from La Cappuccina? Or Greco di Tufo from Tenuta Pepe? Both are wonderfully refreshing white wines that would pair beautifully with your favorite light pasta or seafood dishes.
Do you enjoy Pinot Noir? Why not consider a Cotes du Rhone or Beaujolais from France? Both are lighter, fruit-forward reds that pack on the flavor, but without the heavy mouthfeel. Personal favorites include Chateau Gigognan (Côtes du Rhône) and Domaine Bulliat (Beaujolais).
And finally, no list of alternative wine recommendations would be complete without a visit to the king of red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon. Selections from California dominate the selection of this type, so rather than try a new grape variety, why not try a Cabernet from a different region? South America makes some incredible examples, including Casas Del Bosque from Chile and Casarena from Argentina. Both are excellent reds that pack on the flavor and offer outstanding value at their price points.
Have you tried something new recently that stood out? We want to hear about it!
Dave Malone, ABC Wine & Spirits Supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinedavem