Ask Chuck

Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Five Wine Varieties That Women (and Men) Must Try!

Five Wines Women Should Try!
During the 1990’s wines made from Riesling and Chardonnay were the popular trend with women (and many men). The taste was pleasurable and the wine names were easy to pronounce. Palates have become more sophisticated and attitudes more adventurous. Here are five wines that should be tried by all.    
Viognier: A step from Chardonnay, this grape offers the same potential for creamy wines with many of the tropical fruit that Chardonnay offers but is more distinctive and spicy.  It suits a wide variety of foods and especially goes well with spicy dishes such as Thai food, curried dishes and other oriental cuisine. Try it with spicy West Indian food!
Alvarinho:  This is a Portuguese grape variety that is called Abarino in Spain. It has some reminiscence to Viognier in its tropical fruit flavours but can be more intense and may in fact be a wine that can deliver some aging potential. The wine has a diverse food match or can be enjoyed alone. Try with pork, chicken, turkey or fish soup.
Syrah: Some say that this grape variety found its way to the South of France by way of the Crusades. It later was planted in Australia during the 1830’s where it became known as Shiraz! Whatever the history or name the wine made from it can be incredible. Spicy, deep coloured and flavourful, good Syrah begs for a great cut of meat or game. I would also like to try it with stuffed eggplant and meat filled zucchini!  One does not have to be a wine expert to enjoy Syrah.   
Touriga Nacional: This grape, used in the making of Port, also makes big and flavourful table wines in many parts of Portugal. Its bouquet often has the nuances of violets and black fruit while the palate to me is very reminiscent of a nice Syrah though milder on the pepper spice but very full on the body. A rich wine that goes great with meat dishes such as beef, game and roast pork.
Amarone: While the above five wines above are made from a single variety of the same name, Amarone is a blend of several grapes the majority being Rodinella and Corvina. A third, Molinara, is now deregulated and may be replaced by other grape varieties. The wine is made by first partially drying the grapes before fermentation. The wine is then aged in smaller barrels.  Try this wine with Italian pasta, preferably home-made, steak “Florentine”, grilled vegetables and  wild mushrooms.  
Try these suggestions:
Cline Viognier  California Vintages #128421 $17.95
Cono Sur Vigonier Chile LCBO #64287 $9.95
Casa do Valle Alvarinho Portugal Vintages #276220 $15.95 A great buy/ask for it! 
Casillero del Diablo Shiraz Chile LCBO #568055 $13.95 (Durham)
Crasto Vinho Tinto Portugal Vinho Tinto Touriga Nacional Vintages #81588 $15.95
Zenato Amarone Italy Vintages #413179 $49.95*
*A Zenato wine made from the same grapes and similar in taste for $24.95 is called Ripassa Valpolicella Vintages #479766.