I always say I’d rather try a wine that’s new to me — even if I end up not liking it — than open yet another bottle of the same stuff I had last Thursday.
A great part of the joy of wine is trying new ones. And experts say there are more than 10,000 grape varieties in the world, so I have my work cut out for me.
I invite you to join this crusade. First, develop a relationship with a knowledgeable wine merchant who you can pester at least once a week to come up with something new.
Oh, and be sure to keep a journal. You’ll be very pleased with yourself 10 years from now when you come across it and see how adventurous you were. And how much more you know about wine.
The following wines may not be new to everybody, but I think most can find something new among them.
Finally, you might not find all of these on the shelves at your wine shop; but you’ve developed that relationship with the wine merchant, who can assist in finding them for you.
The grape called carricante: Grown in Sicily, high on the terraced northern slope of the Etna volcano, this rare grape makes a wine that expresses the flavors of its volcanic soils. It’s a great pairing with sushi and other Japanese dishes.
2012 Tascante “Buonora” Carricante, Terre Siciliana IGT (100 percent carricante): aromas and flavors of lemons, limes and minerals, dry, rich and full-bodied; $20.
The grape called tannat: From Argentina to Uruguay to Australia, this sturdy red wine is shedding its old image as a tannic monster and becoming richer and softer as production methods improve. A good steak wine.
• 2014 Bodega El Porvenir “Amauta” Absoluto Tannat red wine, Valle de Cafayate, Salta, Argentina: hearty, rich and dry, with firm tannins and aromas and flavors of blackberries and chocolate; $12.
The region called Salento: This is in the “heel” of Italy’s boot — the southern part of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea. In this sun-drenched area the Falvo family operates the Masseria Li Veli winery, making wines from native grapes, some of them almost-forgotten ancient varieties.
Nonvintage Li Veli “Orion” Primitivo, Salento IGT Italy (100 percent primitivo): deep red hue, spicy red raspberry aromas and flavors, powerful and smooth; $13.
Nonvintage Li Veli “Passamante” Salice Salento DOC (100 percent negroamaro): deep purple hue, aromas and flavors of black cherries and spice, full-bodied and smooth; $13.
• Nonvintage Li Veli “Askos” Verdeca, Valle d’Itria IGT: (90 percent verdeca, 10 percent fiano minutolo): yellow-green hue, aromas and flavors of mangos, lemons and spice, mineral-scented finish; $18.
Wine from Portugal that isn’t Port: Portugal is justly famous for its powerful red ports, sweet with grape sugars, muscular because they are fortified with grape brandy up to 20 percent, often expensive. But now the port-making Symington Family and the French winemaker Bruno Prats, of Chateau d’Estournel, have partnered to make a lush, red table wine with a relatively modest 14 percent alcohol.
2012 Prat & Symington “Post Scriptum” Red Wine (53 percent touriga franca, 45 percent touriga nacional, 2 percent other red grapes): deep red hue, floral aromas, concentrated flavors of black plums, minerals and cloves, full-bodied, smooth, long finish; $25.
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