Around every corner is a new wine to try, some obscure varietal calling out for experimentation or a just-released new vintage of one of your favorite standbys. There is no end to the world of wine. Old wines continue to evolve in the bottle, while new wines tempt us with their mystery. Each time I go to a wine shop, I am almost always overcome with curiosity. Will it disappoint me? Dare I take it to the party on Saturday night?
If you're serious about learning more about wine, you absolutely have to try new stuff—every time. Unless, of course, everything else you see has long since proven to be swill. Here are a few newbies to our area that are definitely worth a try.
Several months ago I told everybody about the tangily delicious Cable Station Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Well, as it turns out, you just must try the Pinot Noir, too. This tasty Pinot is packed with ripe plum and black cherry flavors, with a hint of spiciness. At about $20 a bottle, this one can give the big boys of Pinot a run for their money.
A new trend I've been seeing out of Australia and New Zealand is Chardonnay in a fantastic crisp, refreshing style with no oak. I assume it's the "down under" answer to all of the overly oaky Chardonnays that have dominated the market for some years now. A fantastic one to try is the Currency Creek Unwooded Chardonnay (about $13). Fresh peach and melon flavors are not lost under the burliness of oak, finishing with a crisp, yet rich note. Delicious.
If you love big, burly wines, look no further than the Heartland Shiraz (about $17). This tasty treat is zesty and spicy, with ultra-ripe, ooey and gooey, jammy black fruit character. The flavor is so wonderfully intense that you'd be crazy not to belly-up to a table laden with lamb and steak, with a glass of this stuff within easy reach.
How about this fun little red blend: Bush Bike Merlot/Shiraz (about $18). With 70 percent Merlot, this wine is very approachable, but with plenty of backbone from the 30 percent Shiraz. Velvety vanilla and juicy red berry flavors command the palate, with enough tannin to stand up to a big steak, but not enough to require a lot of breathing time. You'll love this one.
One of my favorite styles of wine is dry riesling. Be sure to check out the fantastic one from Waimea (about $15). This wine is bone dry, but with surprisingly soft and delicate tropical fruit character and a long, lingering finish. Get yourself some Thai food and get busy with this one.
Now you've got your shopping list, so what are you waiting for?