Category Archives: Curious Picks

Petite Sirah, Stag’s Leap

Petite Sirah is excellent value. Dense, fruity, chocolatey, and at a fraction of the price of California Heavy Hitters. Recently in New Orleans, I broke the rule of “No Red Wine When It’s Hot”. I chilled this one down on ice to enjoy with braised lamb and BBQ shrimp. As strange as that sounds, it […]
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Riesling Beerenauslese, Dr. Loosen

A dessert wine made with Riesling grapes from the Mosel River region in Germany. The soil and unique growing conditions here make for a noble palette, from which this winemaker crafts art. Beerenauslese denotes that this is the 2nd sweetest classification of quality-controlled wines in Germany. The grapes will lose about half of their weight […]
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Cline Zinfandel

From just east of San Francisco, this Zinfandel is as cool and eclectic as the Bay Area itself. I noticed that Zinfandel started getting more attention as a “value” wine when drinkers were becoming more vocal about the screaming high prices of California Cabernet circa 2005’ish. I was weary, but now I’m a believer. Juicy, […]
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Barolo Chinato

A most curious aromatic wine, Barolo Chinato (of Piedmont and Protected Origin infamy in Italy) is essentially a red wine spiked with quinine. It may sound like you don’t need medication for malaria, but…maybe you do? I can’t express how much of a pleasant surprise this was for me–burnt orange peel and violets on the […]
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Assyrtiko

I feel like this is the one wine people know outside of Greece. The new “It” wine of Greece, which I understand: it’s indigenous to Santorini, and so beauty births beauty unto itself. Orange blossom, peach, and an elegant almond finish. Perfect for those cold dips and shell fish!

Nostos

I love seeing this–classic blends as an experiment outside of their “home”. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Rousanne. All classic South Rhone grapes from France, except they’re grown on the western end of Crete by Chania. This is a wine doppelganger: superficially similar, except that it has a distinct personality you couldĀ miss if you judged it […]
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Malvasia

I have written about Malvasia before. It’s a grape I came across in volcanic soil in the Canary Islands, and it is perfect for the experience you would get there. The same in Crete–this grape just WORKS here. Lime zest, fresh cut grass, castelveltrano olives (those buttery dark green ones). On the fertile island of […]
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Vinsanto

Holy wine. Ok, not literally, maybe just a signature sweet wine (vin) from Santorini (santo). This epic name is more closely associated with Italy, although the origins are Greek. Bragging rights aside, this sweet wine was the perfect touch for every meal in Greece. Raisinated grapes, sugar coated prunes, and baking spice. It’s the delicious […]
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Mantilari

A native grape of Crete, and by far the most curious one I came across. Mantilari is incredibly savoury. This wine literally tasted like fresh basil and grilled bacon. I repeat, fresh basil and grilled bacon. I sniffed, sipped, and smacked this wine for over an hour to make sure my senses weren’t playing a […]
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Vidiano

“Catch me if you can”. Never heard of it. Tried it. Can’t get enough. Let me just say that the Isle of Crete is a bastion of fertility: olive and citrus trees, grape vines, and sheep for daaaaaaaays. Vidiano is an Old, Old World grape grown on Crete for thousands of years. There’s a bit […]
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