Declaring Independence from Your Everyday Wines

Posted by Amy Ullman July 4, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Stuck in a drinking rut? Time to declare your independence from your everyday wines, and try something new. Not just new, but crazy, cool and unconventional. If our forefathers were brave 
Independence-day-winesenough to bid adieu to British oppression, the least you can do to pay homage is to step out of your comfort zone:

  • Do you find whites wimpy? Time to seek out an orange wine: white wines fermented on the skins to impart color, flavor, depth and texture. The fine folks at the Wine Bottega in Boston’s North End usually have several examples on hand right now. They’re such fans they have devoted not one but several posts to this underappreciated category. Ready to challenge yourself further? Try a tongue-twistingly delicious dry Gewürztraminer from Alsace or Washington or a Ribolla Giallo (Movia makes a beautiful one). Bold, brazen, aromatic and engaging enough to stand up to the most hardened of palates. 
  • Founding member of the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) Club? Fearful of the butter and oak slathered, flabby monstrosities that bear more of a resemblance to movie theater popcorn than wine? Say bonjour to Chablis, Chardonnay from the northernmost edge of Burgundy – crisp, clean, mineral driven and elegant. The soil in this region is composed of ancient, decomposed oyster shells. Grab a bottle by Jean-Marc Brocard or Frederic Gueguen, some Wellfleets, your sweetie and head to the Charles to watch the fireworks. *le sigh* God Bless America!
  • Abrasively tannic, heavy, in-your-face reds as appealing as a woman wearing too much perfume? Time to try something bright, fresh and fruity and perhaps a bit smoky in honor of barbecue season: Italy’s Bonardas and Barberas are just the thing to bring to the afternoon cookout. Craving something a bit more high octane? An elegant well-made Zinfandel is just the ticket – bursting with brambly, berry fruit and just a hint of spice. The Serious Eats peeps did an awesome roundup of a few stellar selections for less than $20.
  • Do bubbles give a headache just thinking about them? Then far be it from me, to push for a punishment. However, there are some delicately effervescent alternatives: France’s Muscadets or Portugal’s Vinho Verde’s are delightfully, crisp, refreshing, fun and easy on the budget. If you’re feeling adventurous look for any bottle emblazoned with the term perlant, spritzig or frizzante or learn more about these mild-mannered bubblies from this awesome post by James Beard nominee, Elliot Essman.

I hope that you had a happy, and healthy holiday and that you take the opportunity to exercise your vinous freedoms, on each and ever day. Still stumped on what to try and where to buy? Drop a line here, or tweet me at @amyullman.

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