New wine choices?
Fancy some furmint? How about a nice glass of grillo? If you’ve never heard of either, chances are you will. Wine lists are getting a makeover as producers all over the world make a play for U.S. palates.
“There are so many new wines coming from around the world, Americans’ choices have increased exponentially,” says wine expert Mike DeSimone, co-author with Jeff Jenssen of “Wines of California: The Comprehensive Guide,” scheduled for release in September.
Among the emerging varieties: “Definitely mavrud from Bulgaria and malvasia Istriana from Croatia. Also, we’re seeing more nero d’avola and grillo from Sicily,” says Jenssen. (Mavrud is a red wine, malvasia a white.) “The funny thing is, none of these is new. They are just new to the American wine market.”
Take Sicily, a region primarily known for cheap bulk wine until relatively recently, when producers started focusing on quality. “International varieties” such as merlot and cabernet sauvignon can and do grow here.
But there also are interesting local grapes such as nero d’avola (neh-row DA-vo-lah), a red, which is beginning to make a name for itself in the U.S. market, and grillo (GREE-low), a white grape, that is showing up in imports like Stemmari’s “Dalila,” an 80/20 mix of grillo and viognier.