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Wine Down: Drink the Rainbow

Chillable reds, orange wine, and indigenous grape varieties are making their marks on the wine market.
Chillable reds, orange wine, and indigenous grape varieties are making their marks on the wine market.

We are in a golden age of wine, with more grape-growing regions and indigenous grape varieties on the market today than ever before. While the most ubiquitous varieties—Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc—aren’t going anywhere, here are three other colorful options to try now.

2021 Lomas de Llahuen, Itata, Chile
2021 Lomas de Llahuen, Itata, Chile.

Chillable Reds: This category rose in popularity about a decade ago as an alternative to the big, brooding reds of the 1990s. Chillable reds are often made with lower ABV grape varieties and marked by a delicate fruitiness—a perfect marriage for sultry locales like South Florida.

Try: 2021 Lomas de Llahuen, Itata, Chile. This peppery red from southern Chile is made with a grape variety called Pais, which is the country’s second most planted red grape. It’s an underdog that deserves notoriety. 

2018 La Stoppa Ageno, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
2018 La Stoppa Ageno, Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

Orange Wine: Orange (aka amber or skin-contact) wine is on benchmark wine lists in New York City, London, Tokyo, and Paris. Despite being an ancient winemaking technique (wherein white grapes macerate with the juice, imbuing the wine with an orange hue), it’s back in fashion in part because it provides a novel cornucopia of aromas, flavors, and textures.

Try: 2018 La Stoppa Ageno, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. This reference point for orange wine—made by an iconic, irreverent winery—is intensely aromatic, textural, and dry. It’s a meditative wine to serve over the course of a meal.

2022 Hild Elbling, Mosel, Germany
2022 Hild Elbling, Mosel, Germany.

Indigenous Grape Varieties: Thirsting for a new experience in your glass? There are thousands of grape varieties available, and many are worth trying for their singularity and competitive price point.

Try: 2022 Hild Elbling, Mosel, Germany. Elbling is an ancient and once prolific white grape variety, now with only 1,400 acres planted in all of Germany. Given its lively and crisp nature, it makes for an exciting option for Sauvignon Blanc lovers.

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