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Friday, June 1, 2012

Change It Up

Americans - we love our Chardonnay, Cabernet, and these days we love our Pinot Noir, too.  I love Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Pinot Noir as well, as long as they’re done tastefully - not over-oaked, not overly concentrated, and a reasonable alcohol by volume.
But what about all the lesser known grape types from places most people rarely think of in terms of wine producing?  I like to think of it this way - there’s a wine to suit every mood, every time of day, every time of the year, every event, and to pair with nearly every dish.  We need only think outside the box, and I’m not talking about boxed wine.
Some people believe that wines made from grapes grown in a particular region pair properly with dishes and foods from that same region.  I agree with that philosophy.  So it stands to reason that if we try flavors other than our popular American fare such as lobster, steak, and the like, we might be more apt to try wines that would pair with more exotic dishes.
How about Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne from Loire) with oysters?  Madiran (Tannat based wines from South West France) with cassoulet?  Sauternes (botrytized Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from Bordeaux) with foie gras?

Muscadet from Loire

So the next time you’re looking for a crisp white, instead of your usual Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling, how about trying a Muscadet from Loire or Jacquere from Savoie?  Or for a white with a bit more density, instead of the usual Chardonnay, how about Marsanne or Roussanne from Rhone?  For a lighter red, instead of Pinot Noir, how about a Gamay from Beaujolais or Mondeuse from Savoie?  For a bigger red, instead of Cabernet, try a Rhone blend of Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre, or a Tannat from Madiran or Malbec from Cahors (both in South West France)?  Your best bet when looking for something new is to steer clear of mass produced wines and try smaller wineries - you might just come across a new favorite from an off-beat grape type or a fascinating region.

Jacquere from Savoie


  1. Hi Jac! I met you at the Wine Cellers tasting of Shaw's wines today. Great blog! Keep on sipping and writing!

  2. Hi Diane! It was great meeting you tonight at Empire, thanks so much for checking out my blog!