Two grapes you’ve probably never heard of. . .

Cabernet Sauvignon. Malbec. Pinot Noir.

Chardonnay. Riesling. Sauvingnon Blanc.

All of the grapes listed above are household names, tried and true. When scanning the wine list of a restaurant, these are the names that will probably catch your eye, influence your order and end up swirling in your glass.

Of course familiarity is something we all pine for when dappling in a bottle or two with dinner. What happens if you order some bizarre wine on the list and end up with something you don’t like, right?

That kind of mentality is simply a cop-out because when dining in a wine savvy restaurant you can always ask for help. Ask your server. Ask the sommelier. Because, when it comes to wine, familiarity breeds contempt. I can’t list the number of times people have ordered the tried and true Malbec on our wine list for fear of trying something new. Inside I cringe, knowing there are so many other wines that are more delicious and for the same price that you have overlooked. Keeping the wine blinders up only means one thing: you’re missing out.

So, dear readers, I am going to introduce to you today TWO new wines that you’ve probably never heard of. I’ve never talked about these wines because I only discovered (one) of them recently. The other I’ve been holding out on simply because it is a special wine, to be reserved for certain foods and occasions.

Nero d’Avola. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz (basically anything big, juicy and jammy) you will love Nero. Nero d’Avola is an indigenous grape to Italy and probably one of the most prized grapes of the Sicilian region. It produces big momma reds, that have good age-ability and is perfect with grilled meats. The food you serve with Nero needs to be strong enough to stand up to this well structured, fruit bomb.

Alabariño (Ahl-bah-reen-yo) is a stunning white grape that makes a white wine equally as stunning. It is intensely aromatic and is similar in flavour to a Pinot Gris. Albariño is grown in the North of Spain close to the Atlantic. The grape is also grown on granite soils. The combination of granite soils which gives the grape a fine crispness and it’s location by the seaside allows Albariño to be the ideal match for seafood. For any shellfish lover, this white wine is a dream come true.

So there you have it, two new wines to spice up your palate and wine knowledge. Go nuts with the tastings!

This entry was posted in Food and tagged , , , , , by Kate Lalumiere. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kate Lalumiere

After studying wine and spending years in the food service industry, Kate is nutshell's designated food and wine aficionado. Her posts take on the foodie-sphere one restaurant at a time, exposing some of the hottest spots to satiate the ol' buds ! Her favourite restaurants usually include: innovative menus, sustainable & local produce and unparalleled hospitality. Although Kate has a keen ear for food buzz in the National Capital, you'll also find her weighing in on fashion, music and anything that peaks her interest! ** Favourite Restaurant (Ottawa) : Supply & Demand • Wine of Choice: Every wine • Favourite Band: The National • Bad Habit: Being a backseat driver• Favourite Song: Wild Horses • Fashion Icon: Olivia Palermo • Favourite Movie: The Sandlot • Favourite TV Series: Gossip Girl (sue me!) • Sport: Football (to watch and play) • Team: Arizona Cardinals • Blackberry or Iphone: Iphone • Favourite Book: The Sun Also Rises, The Cat's Table, The Bell Jar, On the Road... • ** To ask Kate a question about food, wine or anything else contact her at :

One thought on “Two grapes you’ve probably never heard of. . .

  1. Well, Munchkin/Walton, one thing about keeping the wine blinders on is that it could have the effect of preventing one bolting from the restaurant when the server brings the bill.
    But, I digress.
    I, myself, love Cabernet Sauvignon and from the sound of it would probably enjoy Nero d’ Avola.
    Holy, fruit bomb, Batman!
    On the other hand, Louise prefers white grape wine……….especially, if it is stunning.
    She likes shellfish.
    So, Albarino would seem like a good choice for her.
    Holy, I seafood differently, Batman!
    We shall try both and report back to you at a later date.

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