Let's Talk Wine with Eric Garnier
March 2014

Have you tried me?

The average person goes to the store, usually the grocery store, and buys wine that they are most comfortable with. Varietals that they have been drinking for years. Varietals that they have known to trust. The most well known of these would be Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for the reds, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for the whites.

With the explosion of wineries during the last decade, wineries and wine makers throughout the world have experimented in the vineyards and in the actual wine making process. They are planting more obscure grape varietals in order to give the wine public a much larger variety of wines to choose from.

The wine industry is reaching out, just as the beer business has over the last few years. In the beer business, the Big Three, Bud, Coors and Miller, have lost sales to up and coming micro brews that are more expensive but are packed with flavors. The wineries are doing the same thing.

I'm not saying that cabs and chards are going away, but I am saying that the OTHER varieties are coming on strong.

Below, I have listed a few of my favorite new varietals that are becoming more readily available.


Tannat: Until most recently, only grown in the south of France. New planting in California are producing some great wines; rich in flavor with lower tannins than a cab

Mouvedre: Grown in France and Spain for years, this wine is largely planted in Paso Robles and Santa Ynez. Medium tannins, with earthy and soft fruit notes. Most notably blended with Sryah and Grenache but stands up well by itself.

Carignon: Mostly grown in Spain and France. Mostly blended in the Rhone Valley, a few producers bottle in by itself. Medium body and inexpensive, I really like this.

Aglianico: From the Campania region of Italy just east of Naples called Taurasi. This varietal is grown in volcanic soil. Full bodied with firm tannins and good acidity. I would serve this with a good steak instead of a cab.


Viognier: Grown in the Rhone, this varietal has become very popular in California. Full bodied, lush, aromatic with notes of peach and pear and slight minerality.

Albarino: Until recently, Spain and Portugal owned this. California is now on board, producing some greats. Distinctive aroma, light in alcohol and high acidity. Great summer wine

Friulano: Grown in Northern Italy, this wine was once called Tokay. Hungary went to court and made Italy change the name even though its the same. Almost like a Sauvignon without the grapefruit.

I love all these wines. One thing for sure, you cant buy these wines at your local supermarket. You can however visit your favorite wine store here in Ventura (we have a few good ones). The wineries on the Ventura Wine Trail also produce some of these varietals. So, be adventureous next time you pick up a bottle of wine.

Questions or comments? Reach me at : Wineoeric@gmail.com

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