Tracker Pixel for Entry

​The Five Varietals That Will Knock Your Socks Off (And You’ve Never Heard Of!)

by Megan Bartholomay | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Beer Snob | April 18th, 2018

I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about 50 before I exhausted my list (and I think that’s pretty good). Looks like I have some studying (read: drinking) to do. Ever heard of Grand Noir de la Calmette? Me either. How about Magaratch Ruby? Yeah, didn’t think so. And frankly, even if you had, you’d be hard pressed to find a lot of those varietals outside of certain geographic areas. But today, I’m going to introduce you to five varietals you may not have heard of and should check out immediately.

Piquepoul or Picpoul Blanc (peek-pool blahnk)
This is one of the oldest varietals in France and is primarily found in the Languedoc region, but is also grown in the United States, albeit sparingly. It’s a highly acidic grape, with delicious minerality. Literally translated into English, it means “lip stinger” because of it’s zippy composition and it goes incredibly well with fish and shellfish, specifically oysters.

If you love: Sauvignon Blanc or other bright and zesty white wines, pick this one up.

My pick: Domaine Delsol Picpoul de Pinet, $12.99

Hondarrabi Zuri (ohnda-rahbi zurr-ee)
Hondarrabi Zuri is a unique varietal grown in the Basque region of Spain (that’s the northern coast for you geography junkies). The wine is also sometimes known at Txakolina (pronounced chock-oh-leen-uh), but that’s actually the region and not the grape. This is an unusual grape with an insane amount of acidity. In fact, it’s so acidic that sometimes there’s a natural effervescence to the wine. The color is pale, yellow with green hues and fresh fruit aromas. It is dry and a peppered with minerals with twists of pear and citrus flavors, hints of herbs and a round fresh mouthfeel. Pair this Spanish gem with shellfish, oysters, fish, white meats, pickled vegetables and fresh cheeses.

In a white wine rut? Run to the liquor store and get this right now!

My pick: Ernio Txakolina, $13.99

Vermentino (vurr-men-tee-noh)
Vermentino is a massively underrated varietal and one that I am shamelessly obsessed with right now. I’m a Sauvignon Blanc HOUND, and this has all my favorite things about SB, but with a little bit more nuance and finesse. It’s dry and crisp, but with bright stone fruit aromas like white peaches and refreshing citrus and orchard fruit flavors like grapefruit and pear. Sometimes it has a herby, floral twist to it with a smattering of honey. Plus, this wine complements everything from fresh, soft cheeses to grilled fish and seafood and a variety of lighter meat dishes.

If you love: A super lively Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino or Semillon, you will adore Vermentino.

My pick: Petraio Vermentino, $12.99

Dornfelder (dorn-fell-dehr)
It’s kind of shocking that Dornfelder is the second most widely planted grape in all of Germany, but rarely makes an appearance on American wine lists. This wine varietal is a cross of two other German varietals and didn’t even make its way onto the wine scene until the late 1970’s. Dornfelder is a deep red color, medium-bodied with a very fruity and smooth taste of black fruit and hints of blackberry jam. The finish is sweet and refreshing. Make sure to serve this wine slightly chilled and serve it with light pastas or spicy cuisine.

If you love: Off-dry rieslings or pinot noirs, try this next time.

My pick: Sun Garden Dornfelder, $12.99

Nero d’Avola (nair-oh davo-la)
Nero d’Avola is well known in the wine world, but it’s finally coming into its own with everyday wine drinkers as well. It hails from Sicily, the mysterious little island off the toe of Italy’s boot. All anyone knows about Sicily is that the oldest Golden Girl, Sophia, is from there (and she makes killer pasta) and that Mafia’s got its start in Palermo (the capital). However, Sicily is so much more than pasta and murder. Nero d’Avola is the flagship grape of Sicily and VERY important to their culture. It’s an aromatic varietal with cherry and red berry flavors and hints of spice. Dry and medium-bodied with smooth tannins and gentle acidity, it pairs well with lots of Italian classics, but it’s especially yummy with grilled foods and mature cheeses.

If you love: A big, fat cabernet or a jammy syrah, this little-known gem is going to be right up your alley.

My pick: Oynos Nero d’Avola Merlot, $14.99

Recently in:

FARGO – Early Tuesday morning Captain Andrew Frobig seated himself at his office desk, quickly discovering that the jail count was up. About 76 people had been incarcerated over the long Veterans Day weekend bringing the total…

Best Bets

A Show for Joe

by HPR Staff

Sunday, November 25, 3-10pmSanctuary Event Center, 670 4th Ave. N, FargoA special benefit show for Joe Swegarten and his family. Joe sustained injuries from a hit and run accident this summer. Musicians from across the FM area band…

It's that time of the year when we’ve finally finished up our Halloween candy and started to deck the halls... but who’s rushing the season when it’s the season of the holiday rush? Here at HPR we’ve had shopping and…

The Third Reich—And Making A Country Great AgainI was in first grade in country school on November 9, 1938 when the Nazis, in avenging the assassination of a German embassy official in Paris by a 17-year-old Jewish youth, committed…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

Ah! The holidays are rushing at us, like well like an out of control, careening caravan. Time to start thinking about what to get the chef in the family for Christmas. The days of a new apron or oven mitt are over, or are they?An…

by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.com With the kickoff of the holiday season (and the weather!) underway, it’s almost time for the annual holiday organ concerts at the Fargo Theatre. The concerts, put on as a partnership…

A long time ago (1977) in a galaxy far, far away (20th Century Fox) there was a film released called “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” George Lucas introduced the world to his Flash Gordon-inspired space opera featuring a…

by: Melissa Gonzalezmelissam.gonzalez@outlook.comFrom music, to sculpture, to grand scale murals, one local artist is working tirelessly to share his work with the community.The West Acres Mall is currently hosting its fifth…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

Beer Snob

Warm up with a hot toddy

by HPR Contributor

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.com Fall is once again upon us. The leaves are turning, gardens have been pulled, and Summer’s heat has waned into Autumnal frosts. Along with the change of seasons comes a change of seasonal flavors.…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

For all intents and purposes, the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party is bankrupt. North Dakota is now a one-party state. That’s sad. Because it wasn’t so long ago that we had an active two-party state government. Now the…