By Bob Hosmon
City & Shore Magazine
If your list begins and ends with wines from California – with maybe a red or white thrown in from Italy or France – it’s time for a new list. Here’s where to start looking:
The wines of Greece don’t get the praise nor publicity they deserve. Try a glass of Greek Wine Cellars Santorini ($15), made from the Assyrtiko grape, for example; or the Erasmios Moschofilero ($16), produced from Moschofilero grapes grown on Mantinia, a plateau in the Peloponnese region of Greece. Both dry, crisp whites offer a great introduction to Greek wines, and both pair nicely with shrimp and scallops. Prefer something in pink in Greek? Try the special Kir Yianni Akakies ($16), a rosé produced from Xinomavro grapes in northwestern Greece. This fresh, aromatic wine makes for an excellent aperitif as well as a complement to salmon and roast chicken.
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The Galil Mountain Rosé ($12) is another pink libation worth getting to know. Located in the Upper Galilee mountain range of Israel, the winery (a joint venture of Galil Mountain and Golan Heights/Yarden) is a paragon of “sustainable” viticulture, and this winning pink is a perfect blend of sangiovese, pinot noir and grenache. Yarden also produces a very nice white. Indeed, the Yarden Chardonnay Odem Organic Vineyards ($22) pairs perfectly with chicken or seafood.
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Another country that too often gets lost on wine shelves here is South Africa. Don’t overlook the Table Mountain Vineyards Jackal Bird ($32), an artisanal Rhône-style white blend of chenin blanc, grenache blanc, roussanne, chardonnay and viognier, that pairs perfectly with sushi or alone as an apertif. The Springfield Estate Chardonnay ($25) is also a very special white, produced by a winery that was founded in 1902. Meticulously made in true Burgundian style, it’s a favorite paired with chicken roasted with sliced truffles or Maine (or Florida) lobster.
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Those who favor reds should taste the pinot noirs coming out of New Zealand, like the Kim Crawford Pinot Noir South Island ($20) and the Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir Marlborough ($20). I like both of these delicious reds with rack of lamb, char-broiled tuna or just as sipping wines all on their own.
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For something truly different, consider the Bulgariana Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah ($17). Produced from grapes grown in Bulgaria’s Thracian Valley, the wine shows velvet-like tannins and a rich finish on the palate. You’re in for a special treat.