Have you ever found yourself in a pattern of drinking the same wines over and over again? Perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to branch out and try a new wine. However, you might not be sure how to find wines that you’ll like. Here is a guide with alternative grape varieties for some of the most common wines so that you can start to broaden your palate.
Alternative Grape Varieties if You Love Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a go-to wine for many. Pinot Noir wines are light, fresh, red fruit driven, and earthy. Often notes of strawberry, cranberry, and red cherries are found on the nose as well as complex aromas of mushrooms and forest floor. If you’re a fan of Pinot Noir and looking to try other light but complex red wines to sip or enjoy with roast chicken, here are a few other grape varieties to try.
- Sangiovese. Sangiovese grapes are used to make Chianti Classico wines in Tuscany, Italy. They are light and fresh. Sangiovese have similar red fruit driven qualities on the nose with notes of red cherry and cranberry. They are earthy and herbal with a cured meat quality. They are equally complex and a beautiful alternative.
- Gamay. Gamay grapes are most prominent in Beaujolais. The wines are also light and fresh. They have both red and black fruit aromas on the nose, and a candied quality as a result of carbonic maceration during winemaking. Try Gamay if you haven’t already! It’s a classic pairing for roasted poultry.
- Barbera.Barbera wines from Piedmont, Italy are fresh and light. They have aromas of red cherry, fennel, and tomato leaves. Barbera wines are wonderful and light, perfect for pasta or pizza on a weeknight.
Alternative Grape Varieties if You Love Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its black fruit aromas and baking spices on the nose, as well as tannins and body. Notes of plum, blackberry, black cherry, vanilla, tobacco, and black pepper are commonly expressed. Here are some alternative grape varieties to enjoy.
- Malbec. Most Malbec wines are made in Argentina. They are full-bodied with black fruit aromas of jammy black cherry and plum. This is a great choice if you’re enjoying lean red meat for dinner.
- Syrah. Syrah from Northern Rhône or Shiraz from Australia are also great alternatives. They are bold wines with peppery notes and aromas of black and blue fruits. Enjoy with steak.
- Zinfandel. Zinfandel from Croatia or California is jammy blue and red fruit driven with moderate tannins and full body. This is a great wine to pair with grilled or braised meats.
Alternative Grape Varieties if You Love Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is fresh and crisp, with notes of citrus, green peppers, and fresh cut grass. Here are grape varieties that also offer a lot acidity as well as fruity, herbal, and vegetal notes.
- Albariño. Albariño from Rías Baixas, Spain is crisp and fresh with aromas of lemon, grapefruit, and basil. This is a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc if you’re looking to branch out.
- Grüner Veltliner. The majority of Grüner wines are produced in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Notes of lemon, lime, and grapefruit as well as a green herbal note are commonly expressed in these wines. They are also super crisp and fresh.
- Dry Riesling. Most dry Riesling wines are produced in Germany. They have aromas of lime, green apple, and jasmine. The acidity is ripping high making for an incredibly crisp wine.
All of these wines are great sipping wines or can be paired with lighter fare.
Alternative Grape Varieties if You Love Oaked Chardonnay
Oaked Chardonnay tends to be buttery, creamy, and nutty, with fruity notes of apple and pear. If you’re a fan of these complex, fuller bodied white wines, here are a couple of alternatives you could try.
- Viognier. Oaked Viognier is produced in Northern Rhône and California, as well as across other warm climate regions around the world. They are fuller bodied with aromas of peach, honeysuckle, vanilla, and creamy notes.
- Marsanne and Roussanne. Marsanne and Roussanne wines are produced in Northern Rhône. They have beautiful aromas of peach, pear, almonds, and a buttery / creamy quality.
All of these wines can be enjoyed as an aperitif, with cheeses, or rich fish dishes.
Wrap Up on Trying New Wines
If you haven’t already tried many of the alternative wines on this list, start shopping! This is a really simple way to start branching out and exploring new wines that are similar to the wines you already enjoy. If you’re looking for a wine adventure, try our subscription service where we curate a selection for you. Happy wine exploring!