Last year, I was gifted with the book Red Wine: The Comprehensive Guide to the 50 Essential Varieties and Styles. The book features 41 varieties (grapes) and nine styles. Of the 41 varieties, I’ve tasted 26. So, that leaves 15 that are new to me. Of the nine styles, I’ve tasted eight. The only one I haven’t tried is a Hungarian style called Bikavér. When I got the book, I committed to tasting one wine that was new to me each month. Have I done that? No 🙁 How does that make me feel? Like the title says: So many wines, so little time. Today, we’ll look at the start of the list (the As and Bs) of wines I haven’t yet tried. I plan to taste in alphabetical order. So, these are the wines I will start with.
This is considered Greece’s flagship red wine grape. It is a remarkably versatile grape variety that is used to make everything from light Rosé wines to rich, full-bodied red wines with dark fruit flavors and plush tannins. The grape grows best, and produces beautiful reds, in the higher-altitude vineyards of Nemea. When not produced as a varietal (standalone) wine, Agiorgitiko blends well with Cabernet Sauvignon. But I definitely want to try a Rosé as well as a beautiful red. So many wines, so little time 🙂
Wine Folly says the wine’s subtle flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon make it pair wonderfully with roasted meats, tomato sauces and spiced cuisines from the Middle East to India.
I believe I’ve tried this grape before, but only once or twice. So I need to try it again. According to Wine Folly, “Aglianico “alli-yawn-nico” is a full-bodied red wine [that] is found almost exclusively in Southern Italy in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. Young Aglianico wines are known for strikingly savory flavors of leather, white pepper, black fruits and cured meat that when aged, develop soft dusty aromas of dried figs and sun-tanned leather. For those of us who are a fan of rustic, earth-driven wines, Aglianico is a star.” Wow. This sounds fantastic. Should I say it again? So many wines, so little time.
According to Suvie, “the meaty notes of Aglianico are a great match for a number of rich meats such as prime rib, venison, rabbit, and oxtail. When it comes to vegetables, focus on dishes that can match the saltiness of the wine. Mushrooms, beans, and kale are all ideal pairings.”
According to Wine-Searcher, “Baco Noir is a French-American hybrid grape variety that is produced as red wine in the northeastern United States and Canada. New York State, in particular, has experienced considerable success with the variety, as have vineyards further north in Ontario. Baco Noir’s origins go back to 1894, when French grape breeder François Baco crossed Folle Blanche with an unknown member of the New World’s Vitis riparia family. The intention was to create phylloxera-resistant vines that retained their French character. At one time Baco Noir was grown in Burgundy and the Loire, but it was gradually ushered out of the Old World and has since become one of North America’s more successful hybrids… With its light to medium body, good acidity and preference for cooler climates, Baco Noir is a grower-friendly alternative to Pinot Noir. It does not express the distinctive foxy aromas and flavors of other Vitis riparia varieties, but instead shows rich fruit tones, typified by blueberry and plum.” This sounds very interesting.
According to Drink & Pair, Baco Noir is an earthy and fruity red wine that pairs best with hamburgers, pizza, lasagna, meatloaf, baked beans, chili, lamb kebabs, spare ribs, Tandoori chicken, and ratatouille.
Wine Folly talks about how this Austrian wine features peppery flavors and boisterous acidity. It is a food-friendly wine. Suprisingly, it is the parent grape of both Gamay and Zweigelt. I can’t wait to try this one!
For food pairings, look at typical Austrian dishes, including smoked sausage, red potato goulash, and cheesy spaetzle dumplings.
Thank you to Quirky Cork for their information about this grape. Pronounced: bow-ahz-keh-reh, which means “throat burner” in Turkish, this grape is one of the most formidable in Turkey’s vineyards.
Boğazkere is Turkey’s answer to Cabernet Sauvignon. As it turns out, Turkey also has an answer to Merlot: Öküzgözü. The two are often blended together. It’s rare that you get Boğazkere on its own. Why? Because 100% Boğazkere wines run the danger of over pressing and over extraction, giving its name real meaning. As a varietal, the grape makes dark, full bodied wines with dense tannins, medium to high acidity, and complex flavor profiles. It takes well to oak and in many cases needs a little oak aging to help soften its sometimes harsh character. Aromas may include: black cherry, raspberry, blackberry, black mulberry, pepper, clove, eucalyptus, tobacco, leather, pine forest, dark chocolate and licorice.
Quirky Cork says that this isn’t Turkey’s most food-friendly wine. But they do recommend pairing it with grilled meats, stuffed peppers and robustly flavored cheeses like aged Parmesan, gouda, cheddar and blue cheese.
Okay, do you agree with me? So many wines, so little time? I started with As, Bs and Cs. Thankfully, there were no Cs I hadn’t tried. The good news is that I have 15 wines to try, and five of them are in this article. So be on the lookout for future articles about the rest of the list. Also, as I try the wines, I’ll write about my experiences.
I would love to know if you’ve tried any of these wines and what you thought.