We humans are creatures of habit. We find something we like and stick to it. When it comes to wine, however, a little experimentation is actually very good for the soul. The next time you reach for your favourite Sauvignon Blanc, you might want to consider trying a zesty Vermentino instead. Jumping out of your comfort zone is not only beneficial, it’s also a brilliant way to learn more about wine. Here are a just a few gems you might like to try as alternatives to your usual wine choice.
Alternatives to Cabernet Sauvignon
The classic Cabernet Sauvignon is a staple on many tables at dinner time but, should you fancy a change, we recommend trying these other grape varieties. Nero D’Alvo, Sicily: mixed with chalky tannins, you may be surprised at the taste but you won’t forget the cheaper price. It’s often mixed with other grapes and is the perfect light red for any meal. Touriga Nacional, Portugal: more often used in making port, this black grape has a distinctive taste and aroma and is a great dry red for those big meat feasts. Carmenere, Chile: wines from this region are more popular than ever and this grape delivers a black pepper kick that your palate will appreciate.
Alternatives to Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon blanc is another one of those wines most people know and like but, if you are looking for a change, how about a refreshing Vermentino or Falanghina? Vermentino, Italy: hints of bitterness along with pear and citrusy pink grape make this is a refreshing alternative that really works some magic on a sultry summer evening. Falanghina, Italy: one of the oldest grape varieties in the world and a great, light white wine that is perfect for lunchtimes, particularly with Italian cuisine.
Alternatives to Chardonnay
Everyone loves a good Chardonnay, it’s the perfect chilled wine for a hot summer’s day and goes with a wide variety of food types. But you could also try these brilliant alternatives. Dry Riesling, Rhine: a perfect replacement for your glass of Chardonnay, this grape is used in dry, sweet and sparkling wines. Go for a quality bottle and you won’t be disappointed. Albarino, Spain: with intense aromas and crisp, dry flavours, there’s plenty to be said for this grape variety even if it is less well-known than many other wines.
Alternatives to Syrah/Shiraz
Ask anyone with a basic knowledge of wines and they’ll be able to mention Syrah/Shiraz. Popular at dinner tables all around the world it is one of the truly global grapes. Grenache, France: this is another vine that is widely planted around the world but which has gone in and out of favour over the years. It’s a bold tasting choice though and makes a delicious red for the dinner table. Barolo, Italy: produced in the north of the country Barolo has long been considered one of Italy’s best wines. That should be at least one reason to give it a try. Malbec, France: soft and fruity, this is a wine that has grown in popularity over the years and is the perfect choice for a Sunday lunch.
The benefits of tasting different wines
Sticking with the same wine each time, of course, means you are always sure of the quality you have on your dinner table. You know what you like and it works for you. That’s fine. A little experimentation with your wine, however, will certainly uncover plenty of surprises. Not only that, it will help improve your knowledge of different grapes and regions. Ready to try something different? Browse our fantastic wine collection.