Friday, 25 November 2011

summer wino

Yes, cider seems the drink of choice among the twentysomething to somethingsomething set, but at some point we need to grow up and at least know a thing or two about wine. Or at least fake it. Here's a cheat sheet to some lesser known varietals that will make summer a whole lot better.

Fiano is an ancient white Italian grape variety that comes mainly from the regional of Campania and Puglia in the south of Italiy. As with much produce that comes from the south (olive oil, for example), the flavours are traditionally really full of character. Outside of Italy, Australian producers have been cultivating Fiano for a little while, particularly in McLaren Vale in SA.

Color: Light straw yellow with gold hues
Nose: Fruity (ripe fruits, pear, apple), floral (honey)
Palate: Medium to full bodied
Eat it with: BBQ'd seafood, pasta, perfect for an Italian feast!

While it's not entirely certain where Vermentino comes from, wine historians say that it's most likely to have come from the Spanish Pyrenees and brought into Italy through the Spanish during the 1300s. Others say it's native to Sardinia from around the same time. Regardless, it's one of Italy's most important white grapes and is grown in Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia.

Color: Straw yellow with green tones
Nose: Fruity (lemon, hazelnut), vegetal, mineral
Palate: Crisp and savory balanced with softness and good alcohol. Medium body and a slightly bitter finish.
Eat it with: Anything from pork to seafood, this is one white wine that can run with some nice strong flavours, as well as antipasto.

AlbariƱo is another white wine grape grown in Galicia (northwest Spain) and north west Portugal. Like many amazing alcoholic things, it was presumably brought to Iberia by Cluny monks in the twelfth century. These days, in the new world, it's also produced on the west coast of the USA and in Australia.

Colour: Pale straw
Nose: Soft white stone fruit, green apple, pears and peaches
Palate: Medium weight, crisp, great with food
Eat it with: Tapas! A Spanish wine that's enjoyed when young, it's great with seafood but can stand up to garlic and stronger flavours found in Spanish food.