“Two roads diverged in a wood … I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”
Did you know that when Robert Frost wrote that, he was thinking about wine?
Well, that might be an exaggeration. But still, it’s good advice. In my Quixotic quest to persuade wine fans to drink something other than cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, I offer here some wines less tippled just to see the difference they can make.
Pronounced tow-rown- tays, it’s a dry white wine with racy acidity and powerful aromas and flavors of jasmine, peaches, oranges, pears, mangoes and maybe a touch of honey. Its fans call it a fruitier alternative to pinot grigio. Its growers call it the emblematic white wine of Argentina.
DNA testing shows it’s a cross of muscat of Alexandria and mission grape from Spain, maybe influenced in Argentina by the communion wine grape criolla chica. It’s great with spicy food like Bang Bang Shrimp.
2011 Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Torrontes, Cafayate, Argentina: Very crisp and fruity, with aromas and flavors of tangerines, mangoes and limes; $15. Highly recommended.
Pronounced guh- vertz-truh-meaner, it probably was born of a mutation centuries ago. Today the pinkish-white grape makes a usually dry white wine with exotic, Asian aromas and flavors of lychees, ginger and white grapefruit. It’s made in France’s Alsace region, Germany and, increasingly, California as well as New York and Michigan. I took a bottle of this to a Cuban pig roast once, and it was the hit of the day.
2011 Castello di Amorosa Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley, Calif.: spicy and floral, with aromas and flavors of roses, litchis and white grapefruit; $23. Highly recommended.
Pronounced gah-vee, this white wine is made of the cortese grape in Italy’s northern Piedmont region. Best drunk young, it’s a good fish wine.
2011 Bersano Gavi del Comune di Gavi DOCG, Piedmont, Italy: light and lively, with aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and vanilla; $19. Recommended.
Pronounced ahr- nay-suh, this white grape’s origins are lost to history. It has gained popularity lately in Italy’s Piedmont region and, now, in California and Australia. It, too, goes well with fish.
2011 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Arneis, California: light and dry, with green apple flavors and a refreshing bitter almond finish; $16. Recommended.
Pronounced dole- chet-oh, Italian for “little sweet one,” this red grape produces a light-bodied wine with intense fruit, crisp acids and low tannins. I like it with cheeseburgers.
2010 Bersano Dolcetto d’Alba “Coldefosso,” DOC, Piedmont, Italy: intensely red, with flavors of red raspberries and minerals; $20. Recommended.
Pronounced tsvie-gelt, this red grape was created in 1922 when professor Fritz Zweigelt of the Austrian Federal Institute for Viticulture in Klosterneuburg crossed blaufrankisch and St. Laurent grapes. It makes a ripe and fruity wine — one of those reds that can go with fish.
2010 Zantho Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria: ripe and rich and lush, with black cherry and milk chocolate flavors; $14. Recommended.