Last month we talked about how to get out of your white wine buying doldrums. With red wine
season fully in swing, here are a few suggestions to freshen up your wine rack.
If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, try Ribera del Duero
Possibly the most popular red wine in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon is the first choice of many red wine lovers. Most often rich and full-bodied with substantial tannins, it is a versatile wine that can be a partner for food and sometimes a meal on its own. If you love Cabernet Sauvignon, you should try the wines of Ribera del Duero in Spain. Made from Tempranillo (the same grape used in Rioja wines), Ribera del Duero tends to be deeply coloured with plush red and black fruit flavours and substantial tannins. Because this wine region is warm the wines are ripe and generous. They are also good value compared to many Cabernets and make great wines to enjoy with hearty stews and casseroles.
If you like Pinot Noir, try Gamay
Pinot Noir has fans worldwide because of its elegance, grace and great ability to pair with many foods. Much great Pinot comes from Burgundy, France and in the far south of that region, Beaujolais wines are made with the Gamay grape. While many Beaujolais wines are light, fruity, uncomplicated and meant to drink young, Cru Beaujolais is an altogether different beast. Cru Beaujolais comes from 10 villages known for their excellent vineyards: Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Morgon, Brouilly., Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Régnié and Saint-Amour. Each village makes a particular style of Beaujolais, some being more tannic and structured, some having a bit more body and fruit and some being more aromatic and floral. At their best Cru Beaujolais are elegant, complex and able to age for many years. You can serve these wines with all kinds of poultry and game, pork tenderloin, lighter red meats or with cheese and charcuterie.
If you like Barolo, try Xinomavro
Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape and hails from Piedmont in Italy. Rich and full-bodied, the wines also display very high acid and tannins, making them powerful, structured and long-lived. The wines display complex aromas and flavours of roses, tar, dried fruit and herbs. Barolo undergoes a very long aging period and often takes several years from harvest to the time it arrives on store shelves, resulting in pretty expensive wines. If you are a lover of Barolo, a much more affordable option is Xinomavro, a red wine from Macedonia, Greece. Pale in colour like Barolo, with high acid and very angular tannins, Xinomavro is also very age-able. These wines boast flavours of dried plum and cherry and can also have a savoury side with olive brine, sun-dried tomato, tar and earthy mushrooms. Xinomavro is a perfect match for braised lamb or osso bucco.
So, bypass the usual shelf on your next shopping trip and enjoy your adventures with new wines!
Anjana Viswanatha is the sommelier at Bacchanal in Toronto, the founder of Wednesday Night Wine (www.wednesdaynightwine.ca) and a wine educator at George Brown College. Get in touch with Anjana: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram @wednesdaynightwine.