Switching up your wine's nationality - Metro US

Switching up your wine’s nationality

If you want to learn more about wine you’ve got to be willing to try different styles, from different countries, made with different grapes.

Not that I want to rant — look where that’s gotten Mel Gibson lately — it’s just that the river to liquid expertise is flowing with more than just pinot grigio and merlot.

Take viognier. Tracing its roots to the Rhone Valley in France, it has quietly become the hottest white grape on the shelf thanks to its full, floral aromas and light tropical (often spicy) flavours. That kind of personality means it’s more than just menu-friendly; it’s a by-the-glass winner that shines bright in the summertime.

If, like me, you’re mad about Thai cuisine, then the 2009 Yalumba ‘Y Series’ Viognier ($17.99 – $18.30) from South Australia — with its exotic mix of citrus, pear and subtle white pepper — will knock you on your Pad Thai.

But don’t fear red fans, viognier (thanks to its French heritage) is a blender’s dream, often underlining its fellow grapes with an accent of refreshing spice. The Yalumba 2008 ‘Y Series’ Shiraz Viognier ($14.95 – $18.30) is all about bright, juicy cranberry/cherry flavours ideally matched with a rack of barbecued ribs.

– Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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