Are you bored to drink the same wines over and over again? Are you looking for the next wine that will excite you? If so, you are in the right place because I have to show you 15 grape varieties that you have to try! And not 15 random varieties but 15 unique varieties that will surely excite you! Can we start?
You have already tasted all the Malagouzias of Greece and you are looking for the next aromatic white wine that will excite you! Do not look further! Let us introduce you to Torrontes, Argentina's white diamond. It has plenty of tropical fruit but also white flowers and of course refreshing acidity. Can you imagine anything better? Try Torrontes Dona Silvina with an aromatic shrimp ceviche with valley shrimp and you will be amazed!
Bonarda or Douce Noir
Elegance, herbal character and juicy red fruit! We are not talking about another Xinomavro neither about Pinot Noir, but about Bonarda! Bonarda is the unsung hero of Argentina, for years it has been the sidelined variety that no one took seriously. In recent years, however, some of the most important Argentinian producers have reconsidered and gave it a chance. The results were so good that Bonarda is winning more and more fans (me as well). Try Bonarda El Enemigo to understand what I mean.
How many more Agiorgitikos and Cabernets? You are right to be bored. As long as Mavroudi of Thrace exists, nothing will be boring! Separation occurs because the Mavroudi of the rest of Greece (which are usually different clones of Agiorgitiko) differ from that of Thrace. Rich body, electric acidity and complexity that many would envy make Mavroudi the next big thing of Greek varieties even if few (for now) deal with this beast. Nicolaides brothers have been working with it for years and the best example of their work is Fine Mavroudi Anatolikos Vineyards.
The white Cycladic variety is definitely very taught in its handling but if you try Giorgos’s Xydakis Potamisi you will fall in love with it. Citrus aromas, oiliness, minerality and crisp acidity make up a very attractive package! Pair it with a grilled golden grouper, it’s a divine combo!
Rhone's white variety is just as important as Syrah and Grenache and creates high class and age-worthy wines. Their addictive buttery texture combined with their explosive, aromatic character has a fanatic audience around the world. Roussanne is also grown in Greece by bold winegrowers and gives amazing results. Specifically, Roussanne of Manousakis Winery from Crete is a top sample of the variety with incredible finesse and complexity. Try it with sautéed scallops with beurre blanc sauce and live the ultimate culinary experience.
You may have never heard of it before but it is one of our favorite varieties of Northern Italy. It has refreshing acidity, juicy red fruit and savory notes reminiscent of olive and is perfect with pizzas and pasta with tomato sauce! Italians love it as they think it goes with pretty much everything, even with fish. And you know how seriously Italians are taking gastronomy and food! Try Lagrein Elena Walch along with a puttanesca and you will be amazed!
Kefalonia is not only Robola but also Zakynthino! The variety from Zakynthos, as evidenced by its name, is spreading to Kefalonia and the results are fantastic. It is oily, with ripe yellow fruits and a light floral dimension. Gold of Petrakopoulos is exactly what its name says, pure gold!
Its name means Naoussa in Slavic but it is mainly cultivated in the region of Goumenissa. Tough to handle but durable variety that gives wines with finesse, high acidity, aromas of red fruits and flowers. It participates in the PDO Goumenissa with Xinomavro and bridles it!
This red variety originates from Muses Valley and creates both juicy red and refreshing rosé wines! Red fruits, crisp acidity and herbal notes make up a very attractive set. Try Mouchtaro from Muses Estate along with a deer fillet with red fruit sauce!
It is the variety of Etna and, as you might imagine, has an intense mineral character, crisp acidity and fine tannins. White flowers and juicy red fruits make it irresistible! You must definitely try Etna Rosso Quantico and you will be impressed!
It was nearly extinct but with the help of the Lyrarakis family, it was fortunately saved and so now, we have the opportunity to enjoy this exceptional wine. It got its name from the flavors of laurel (dafni) it has and in combination with the citrus notes is simply delightful! Rabbit with rosemary and Dafni Psarades Lyraraki! Sublime!
It's no secret that Kydonitsa will be the next big thing. The low alcohol, the aromas of white flowers, peach and quince and its discreet acidity have raised it high in public's preferences. Kydonitsa Lexis of Zacharias Vineyards is a terrific version of the variety, with a bit oak aging.
Mourvedre or Monastrell
Its origin is Spain but has a great career in France and Australia. If you like full bodied red wines, with aromas of ripe black fruits, herbal and animal nuances, then Mourvedre will become your new favorite wine. Alicante of Spain is famous for its Mourvedre.
They say it is the daintiest variety of Greece with an opaque purple color in the glass. Its origin is the enchanting island of Lefkada but it gives its best samples in Peloponnese. With intense fruit, juicy acidity and botanical character it has conquered even the most demanding. Try Diagon of Markogiannis Winery that’s perhaps the best Vertzami ever.
Romeiko is a blush variety of Chania, quite susceptible to oxidation and with light color. Studies have shown that it is genetically related to one of the noble varieties of Madeira. This itself proves that the variety is ideal for sweet wines! Try Liasto from Romeiko of Karavitakis Vineyards and you'll understand why