Like Pinot Grigio? Here’s some other wines to try
Next time you’re anxiously scouring a wine list, trying to look as if you know what you’re doing while desperately looking for something that sounds a) vaguely familiar and b) affordable, why not dig yourself out of your Pinot Grigio comfort zone and try something new.
Here are a few white wine grape varieties which are becoming more popular and widely available in most off-licences, and bars.
Picpoul de Pinet
Hailing from the Langudeoc in the South West of France, Picpoul de Pinet (pronounced Pickpool de Pee-Nay) is becoming a regular fixture on many wine lists these days. With its familiar slender bottle, similar to that used for German wines such as Riesling, Picpoul has an increasing number of fans, and it makes the perfect great-value summer drinking wine.
With upbeat freshness and zero oak, it appeals to a wide range of tastes, and is perfect paired with seafood.
A Spanish grape variety that is also making a big name for itself. The first thing to know is that Albariño comes from Rias Baixas in north-west Spain, although it is now being made in lots more areas of the world as other countries look to cash in on its popularity
The cooling sea breezes mean the wine is citrusy and appley in flavour. Grapes grown in cooler climates tend to produce wines which are crisper, dryer and lower in alcohol than those made in hotter climates. Compared to those produced in protected areas further inland can be richer, with hints of melon and stone fruit.
In Portugal, the grape is called Alvarinho, and is used to make that country’s famous white wine, Vinho Verde. Ideal for sipping on a hot summer’s day, Vinho Verde is a light, refreshing, citrusy and often slightly effervescent lower alcohol wine, around 11.5%.
Another Spanish white variety, Verdejo was only rediscovered around 15 years ago, but has since developed a huge following. Crisp and dry, with honey undertones, Verdejo is a real crowd pleaser, and arguably Spain’s finest white wine variety.
Wines from the region must contain at least 50% Verdejo grapes, with the remaining blend typically being Sauvignon Blanc or Macabeo. Wines designated Rueda Verdejo must contain at least 85% Verdejo grapes, and are often 100% Verdejo.
For those who like aromatic, almost floral wines, Torrontés, which originates and is mostly made in Argentina, will do the job nicely. The three Argentinean varieties are Torrontés Riojano, Torrontés Sanjuanino, and Torrontés Mendocino, of which the former is by far the most widespread, and generally regarded to be of the best quality.
It’s long been the aperitivo of choice for Italians up and down the land, and now its the biggest selling sparkler in the UK, and with good reason. Everyone’s favourite celebratory drink, and Italy’s most famous sparkling wine, sales have soared, up by nearly 80% last year. A large part of its appeal is inevitably down to its perceived value, certainly compared with Champagne – which can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, anything else is strictly sparkling wine.
Prosecco is largely produced in Valdobbianene in the Veneto region and is distinguished by its lemon and green apple flavour with subtle hints of peaches and yeastiness.