Oddball Wines for Eccentric Tastes

Finding that sophisticated wine with the right bouquet to accompany your dinner party may seem like an overwhelming challenge with the abundance of elegant wines on the market today.  Often as not, these top shelf varieties, with their pleasing pedigrees, can be a bit stuffy.  Consider choosing something slightly more eccentric, some elixir with more personality for your next event!  The following article details some eccentric wine choices that are not to be missed.

A bowl of olives, a plate of pan-seared chicken smothered in lemon and oregano, a bottle of Retsina and you have all the makings of a Grecian feast.  Retsina’s unmistakable flavor comes from pine pitch, which is mingled with white or rose wine.  The pine pitch is an historic ingredient.  Early Greek wine makers once treated clay vessels with pine pitch so that they could adequately store wine in them.  Greeks grew accustomed to the taste and centuries later, it is still an essential component of this traditional wine despite the fact that bottles have long replaced clay vessels.

If pine pitch is not to your liking, consider a wine with the distinctive flavor of oak.  Rioja Gran Reserva is considered, by some, to be overwhelmed with this oak flavor, but many wine-lovers find this wine to be delightful and a pleasant alternative to fruitier-tasting wines.  This dry red wine with an oaken flair is especially delicious when accompanied with lamb chops.  The wine is produced in the Rioja region of Spain.

As an alternative to a glass of port on a cold winter’s night, try a rich glass of California’s Black Muscat.  Seldom paired with food, this sweet wine is a delicious after-dinner drink.  Connoisseurs recommend two California varieties, Andrew Quady and Rosenblum Cellars.  The Muscat family of grapes is also grown for raisins so it isn’t surprising that this offering boasts a distinctively raisin-like flavor.

The Ste. Chapelle wine growers of Idaho make two rather striking wines, Reisling and Gewurztraminer.  It goes without saying that an old fashioned cookout—steaks and Idaho potatoes on the grill—call for either of these affordable selections.  Most people are not aware that Idaho has been producing wine for more than a century.  Their wine is surprisingly good and may make for interesting conversation over dinner.

Feeling tart? You may want to crack open a bottle of Vouvray Sec produced in the Loire region of France.  Ordinarily, the wine producers of Vouvray make a popular off-dry white wine called Vouvray Demi-Sec, but this requires a warm and sunny growing season.  If their season is cold and rainy, the wine makers, instead, make Vouvray Sec, which is considered the world’s most acidic wine.  It is a must-try for white wine connoisseurs, but it is, perhaps, an acquired taste.  Pair it with raw shellfish for best results.