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Two Women on Wine: Expanding your wine horizons

Try new wines that are similar to those you like

Posted: August 27, 2009 4:33 p.m.
Updated: August 28, 2009 6:00 a.m.

Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier Two Women on Wine

 
When we talk with customers and others regarding the type of wines they enjoy, more often than not we hear the same varietals mentioned. If a customer tells us they like white wine, then Chardonnay is a frequent response. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel rule in the red varietals. As wine purveyors, our goal is to guide you through the maze of wines and, more importantly, help you gain confidence in your wine exploration.

Wine is an adventure, always changing and growing. Why not join in the fun and expand your wine horizons? Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

If you like Riesling, then we suggest you try a Gewurztraminer (pronounced Guh-vurts-trah-mee-ner). It's hard to pronounce, but easy to drink. Gewurz in German means spicy. Think about enjoying this wine if you are eating Chinese, Thai or Indian food.
If you like Pinot Grigio, then we are going to encourage you to go to your favorite store and ask for a Gruner Veltliner (Groo-ner Felt-Lee Ner). This Austrian wine is light to medium-bodied with hints of citrus fruits, melon, green vegetables, and white pepper. Let's not forget a Pinot Gris, which shares the same grape as Pinot Grigio. Oregon makes a great Pinot Gris.

If you drink Chardonnay, a Viognier (vee-oh-nyah) is a great alternative. A full-bodied, creamy textured white wine with big, bold fruit flavors of apricots and peaches. Another of our favorites is Spain's white wine, Albarino (Ahl-bah-ree-n-yoh). Its creamy texture with mineral notes and citrus fruits is quite refreshing.

If you drink Sauvignon Blanc, try a Sancerre or a Pouilly-Fume from France. Both wines are made with 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc grapes. They are usually unoaked, with lots of fruit flavors. The result is a wine that's crisp and clean.
If you like Syrah/Shiraz, why not try a Carmenere, the signature grape of Chile and considered the "lost grape of Bordeaux". This varietal has notes of dark, plumy flavors, with easy spiceness.

If you like Merlot, why not try a Tremparnillo from Spain? It's a light to medium-bodied wine with hints of dark fruits, berries, plum, tobacco and leather.

Let's talk about Cabernet Sauvignon. If this is all you drink, can we persuade you to join us on this journey? Cabernet Sauvignon offers a broad spectrum of styles, medium to full-bodied wines, with smooth to very strong tannins. Flavors of dark berries, plums, currants, cassis, and hints of vanilla, mocha or coffee bean characterize this varietal. Although California makes some of the best Cabs in the world, there are also some very fine discoveries waiting for you from around the world. We recommend tasting Cabs from Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and Washington State.

When you are ready to explore, think about a Cabernet Franc. This grape is mostly used as a blending grape for red Bordeaux. It is on the lighter to medium-bodied side, with less tannins and has distinct notes of cherries.

How about a Malbec from Argentina? When you are looking for a value driven bottle of wine to accompany your steak, Malbec will not let you down. Notes of blackberry, chocolate and smokiness are often detected.

We hope the next time you are at a restaurant or wine store, you think about exploring one or more of the wines mentioned. We are confident you will be happy that you did. Cheers!

Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier are owners of Vino 100 in Valencia, a unique specialty wine store offering boutique, handcrafted wines from small, artisan vineyards, as well as a large selection of gifts and accessories. Daily tastings, weekly specials and monthly events. Visit Vino 100 located at 28112 Newhall Ranch Road in the HighRidge Crossing Center at the corner of Copper Hill Drive in Valencia. (661) 294-6886, www.vino100valencia.com.

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