Five hidden gems to discover this summer
If you’re thirsty to broaden your horizons this year and introduce some bold new varietal destinations to your palate, here’s five of our favourite hidden gems that are there waiting to be discovered. Just remember to send us a postcard.
Originating from the Galician region that encompasses both north-western Spain and Portugal, this variety has gained popularity in the fresh and saline styles of Vinho Verde and Rías Baixas. Albariño can also be found on our fair shores coming out of the Alpine Valley, Barossa, Hunter Valley and Nagambie. Expect a zippy acidity with flavours of citrus, to apple and even tropical fruit, with some winemakers also giving it some added time on lees to lend complexity and texture to your next sip. A native of the coasts, it feels the pull of the sea and longs to be freshly reunited with its briny residents; pair it with oysters, sashimi, cooked whole prawns, calamari… whatever floats your boat on a summer’s day.
Other common names for this variety include Albarina, Alvarin Blanco, Alvarinha, Alvarinho and Azal Blanco.
What more can we say about the wine some call the love child of pinot gris and sauvignon blanc? You may not be familiar with the name, but the taste you’ll recognise from that bright white family; it’s in that fruity, vibrantly-zingy refreshingness that’s perfect for when you have sand or grass beneath your feet on a sun-baked afternoon, fish taco in hand. You’ll find bright green (sometimes tropical) fruits, along with herbaceous savoury notes that’ll take you to fennel and almond territory. Chill a bottle down for when you’re cooling off on a dog day afternoon.
Chardonnay-sipping mofos, step up - this one's for you. The grape also known as Grenache Blanc when it’s in France (or Garnatxa Blanca in Catalan), it’s full-bodied, fresh, and frankly we’re a fan. It’s typically green-flavoured but rich, with characteristic apple, pear and mango notes complimented by savoury fennel, aniseed and a white pepper spice boosted by the generous alcohol usually found in a good bottle. If it has spent some time in oak you’ll also be treated to rounder citrus-y lemon curd and honeysuckle-briochey goodness. More often than not, you’ll be able to tell a good bottle for its oily palate not unlike viognier or gewurtztraminer. It’s great for matching up with rich grilled white meat and fish dishes, and our tip - pair it with a sizzling garlic chicken souvlaki. And grab one for us too, please.
Love pinot noir and gamay but looking to try something new? Look no further than Mencía, mofo. Classically it’s got all those lush red fruits you’re looking for - think cherries and bright ripe strawberries, complemented by black and green peppercorn spice and a clean slate driven finish. Not to mention supple tannins, crunchy acid and a medium-body profile. What more could you ever want or need? Couple it up with your next tex-mex fajita fest.
Although it’s notably Spanish by extraction, keep your eyes peeled for Mencía emerging out of South Australia, in particular McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.
A Portuguese native black grape famed for the significant part it often plays in the blends used to produce fortified port, touriga franca (known also as touriga francesca) is also capable of making fantastically more-ish dry reds. Plush black fruits, super floral aromatics (think sultry violets and roses in bloom) with savoury spice and elegant tannins providing counterpoints and layers of depth.Its often rustic style is complemented with some time in oak, making for a luxuriously large red wine style. A perfect pairing with grilled meats at summer sundowner BBQs, or any time of year where you want to bask in radiant warmth surrounded by delicious company.
Discover these and more gems in our summer adventures sale, on for a limited time!