Mailbag Monday: Non-Pinot Noir Recs for the Pinot Lover?

Dear Alleigh:
I love Pinot Noir. Have it every night. Can you recommend any other wine I might want to go to. Started off with Merlot,(which I now hate), and worked up. I love red and not sweet.

Thanks Love the sight, just stumbled onto it.

–Stephanie

Hi Stephanie—
I’m glad you stumbled onto the site and are enjoying it!  And thanks for asking a question.

Branching out into new types of wine can be difficult because it’s hard to vocalize what you like (or dislike) about a wine.  My guess is that if you like Pinot Noir and, at least for a little while, were enjoying Merlot, you probably tend to like wines that are more dominated by red fruit characteristics and have a light-to-medium body; the types of wines that have good flavor without feeling like you’re sinking your teeth into it.  Wines that make you want to rub your tongue along your teeth or cluck cluck if off the roof of your mouth are probably not your things, right?

I would hunt for a Garnacha/Grenache based wine.  Usually this grape is found in a blend, like in the 2005 Perrin & Fils “Les Sinards” Chateauneuf-du-Pape or the 2008 Torbreck Cuvee Juveniles, both of which I definitely recommend.  And, if you’re willing to experiment and go with a wine that has a little more body, Troublemaker is great blend that has 20% Grenache and it might a good place to start.

All that said about the blends, there are some great wines out there that are 100% Garnacha/Grenache, like the 2007 Flor de Lasierpe.  The wines are most often from Spain, and they’re well worth the effort to search them out.

Another good option, if you’re interested in French wines, would be to try some Beaujolais, which are made with the Gamay grapes.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any posts on my site to point you towards, but my fellow blogger Frank, from Drink What YOU Like, has a couple of good recommendations.

If you’re willing to go with a more medium body wine, I highly recommend looking for a Carmenère.  These grapes are also usually part of a blend, although my favorites are always 90% or more Carmenère.  The one I opened for my birthday last year, the Oveja Negra from Chile, is a particular favorite.

The most important things to remember as you start to drink new types of wine is don’t grape hate (not all wines made from the same grape taste the same), don’t be afraid to dump (there are far too many delicious wines to drink something you don’t like), and enjoy the experiment (so what if you open a bottle you don’t like, the next one might become and your favorite and at least you tried something new).

Good luck…and let me know what you end up tasting!

Cheers!
-Alleigh

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