We all love our chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons, and all too often they are our standard go to wines. In 2017 make a resolution to be fun and adventurous and expand your palate. Taste, drink and celebrate with these fun exciting wines that you all know but are not quite sure you should try. Enjoy the pleasures of getting to know your palate while exploring these seven exciting wines from around the world. Thom Elkjer said, “Wine is a passport to the world.” So no need to leave your home, just hop around the globe with these wonderful seven wines you must drink in 2017.
Franciacorta is Italy’s best kept secret. It is Italy’s finest sparkling wine produced in the foothills of the Alps in Lombardy, around the picturesque town of Brescia. Like Champagne, Franciacorta is made with the same signature grapes, chardonnay and pinot noir. This complex Italian sparkler is made using the traditional méthode champenoise, where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. In 2017 expand your palate for bubbles with Franciacorta and give these elegant sparkling wines a swirl .
2. Bordeaux Blanc
White Bordeaux is often overshadowed by its glorious red counterpart. However, do not overlook these crisp, lively, aromatic white wines from Bordeaux. These dry white wines are a blend of sauvignon blanc, sémillon and muscadelle. If you are buying for a special occasion look for the the most prestigious Bordeaux Blancs from Pessac-Léognan and Graves. For every day drinking there are wonderful values from Entre-Deux-Mers. So if you are a fan of Sancerre or just want a change from pinot grigio, you will be excited and delighted to try these expressive white wines from Bordeaux.
3. Portuguese Wines
Portuguese wines are exploding on the scene. In 2017 explore any and all Portuguese wines, the whites, the reds, the rosès, the sparklings, the madieras and the ports. Portugal is hot hot hot. This emerging wine region historically known for its Ports has been making a splash in the wine world. As Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa get prohibitively expensive, these wines offer wonderful value. Its a region full of beautiful traditions and wonderful stories from the winemakers that have been growing wines for generations. There are so many grape varietals to choose from, Portugal grows close to 250 grapes, many indigenous to area. Try the whites blends from Vinho Verde, espumantes from Bairrada, full bodied luscious reds from Douro and the age worthy red wines from Dão.
4. Oregon Pinot Noirs
Pinot Noirs from Oregon, more specifically the Willamette Valley are a must try for 2017. These pinot noirs are a perfect blend of old world wines with a mix of new world flair. Oregon makes wine at the same latitude(45 degree north) as Burgundy, thus their wine exhibit the grace of a classic Burgundian pinot noir. The pinot noirs of Willamette Valley are light, elegant and offer the expressive complexities that a true pinot noir should. There has been a movement among the wine growers in the region to focus more on the fruit and less on the oak, presenting a wine that is graceful, restrained yet velvety lush and age worthy. As many Burgundies are a exorbitantly expensive, Oregon pinot noirs are an excellent choice to drink now or add to your cellar.
5. Orange Wines
Orange is the new black and undeniably so in the wine world. Orange wines offer the freshness of a white wine combined with the complexities of a red. Sommeliers have taken a huge liking for these wines, and are now on wine list in many restaurants. Orange wines have a beautiful perfumed nose, with notes of honey, apricot, and spice on the palate. The wines can be rich in texture and have firm tannins. Now that I have roped you in, you are probably thinking what exactly is orange wine? Orange wine is essentially a white wine in which the grape skins and seeds are in contact with the juice over a period of time, developing an amber, bronze, orange, rust or even a brownish hue. What was once considered an obscure wine is now very much in vogue.
6. South African Chenin Blanc
Having returned from a trip to South Africa, I have come back extremely excited by their wines, most notably their chenin blancs. The Loire Valley typically comes to mind when you think chenin, but South African chenin blancs are worth seeking out. It is the most widely planted grape in South Africa. chenin blancs from South Africa are fresh and fruity with acidity and richness, a combination that allows the wine to age. These wines exhibit honey, spice and floral notes with a rich viscosity. Some wines are made in the new world style but many have that classic minerality and richness of old world wines. chenin blanc is the most exciting wine to come out of South Africa. Wine culture in this region has come a long way since the 90’s and wine growers are establishing a solid reputation for their chenin blancs.
7. Syrah, Syrah, Shiraz
I saved the best for last. As you can tell this is my plug for my favorite grape. Syrahs are rich, smooth, wines with black fruit and savory as well as spicy notes. Many syrahs exhibit white pepper and herbaceous notes. In 2017 venture away from your standard go to cabernet sauvignon and try a bold sexy syrah. Try experimenting with syrahs from around the globe. My favorites are from the Northern Rhone Valley in France. Cornas, Cote Rotie, and Hermitage are home to some of the greatest syrahs produced. California produces some delicious Rhone style syrahs in Paso Robles and the Central Coast. Washington’s Walla Walla Valley is making blockbuster syrahs. Also venture down under and try some cooler climate Australia shirazes from Yarra Valley and Tasmania.