Get out of your wine rut: Seven alternatives to some of the world’s most popular wines

Wine expert Joe Fattorini suggests seven alternatives to some of the most popular wines in the world.

One of the great pleasures of getting into drinking wine is the opportunity to try all manner of different varieties from across the globe. And that pleasure is heightened when an adventurous new pick turns out to be right up your vineyard, becoming a regular favourite.

Finding new wines which will agree with your tastebuds is not always easy, however – making these suggestions from Joe Fattorini (a presenter of the popular Wine Show on ITV last year) a godsend for oenophiles who are after something a bit different.

If you like Shiraz or Chateauneuf du Pape, try: Grenache from the Rhone Valley

The southern Rhone Valley is making some very exciting Grenaches: juicy, hearty options which are perfect for those looking for something that blends class with great value.

Joe Fattorini’s tasting notes: “This is the incoming age of Grenache. Wineries in Southern Rhone Valley are making Grenache-dominant reds with class, panache and yet still good value”

One to try – Serabel Cairanne Cotes du Rhône Village from Waitrose Cellar: “This wine is 100% Grenache, and has a core of fresh, ripe strawberry fruit, smooth tannins and a rounded, soft texture. Shows lovely concentration and depth.”

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 If you like Pinot Noir, try: Frappato from Mount Etna

Volcanic wines have a growing a reputation, apparently. This Italian wine is versatile, medium-bodied and said to be best served slightly chilled.

Joe Fattorini’s tasting notes: “Like a warm-climate Pinot Noir, with delicious strawberry fruit and a versatile, medium-bodied style.”

One to try – Sicilian Frappato from M&S:  “Full of ripe, refreshing berry fruit, layers of raspberry, cranberry and cherry flavour complement a tangy crispness that dances on the palate and develops a long lingering finish.”

If you like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, try: Bordeaux white wines

Thanks in no small part to the great wines coming out of New Zealand in recent years, Sauvignon Blanc is a firm favourite for many. If you’re looking for something a little more interesting, however, a white from Bordeaux is a great, refreshing choice.

Joe Fattorini’s tasting notes: “The area is better known for its reds, but their whites are delicious, complex and smokey. Calvet Fleur Baron is one of my favourites.”

One to try – Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc from Aldi:  “Crisp, lime-squeezed flavours and the scent of passionfruit. It is deliciously drinkable, elegant and versatile.”


If you like Prosecco, try: Franciacorta from Lombardy

It feels as if Prosecco has tried to take over the world in the last few years – now, though, it’s time to move on to the latest ‘Italian answer to champagne’. Franciacorta is a rather more complex beast than its fellow Italian sparkling wine.

Joe Fattorini’s tasting notes: “More serious than Prosecco and made in the same way as Champagne. It’s warmer, more generous and fleshier”

One to try – Ca’ del Bosco from Soundtaste“Bright and lively, with a lovely stream of tiny bubbles and rich stone fruit and floral flavours” according to our colleagues at Decanter.

If you like Cabernet Franc, try: Mencia, from Northern Spain

The Mencia grape cultivated in north-western Spain produces a fruity and bright red that you may not have tried before, one of a number of wines from the Iberian peninsula which are really starting to catch people’s attention.

Joe Fattorini’s tasting notes: “If you love fruity and bright reds, then you must dig out Mencia. All wine lovers should be looking to Spain as it’s a wine lover’s paradise at the moment”

One to try – Pizarras de Otero 2015 Bierzo from Majestic“A deep cherry red with violet reflections. Lively on the nose, with aromas of strawberry, plum and blackberry, and subtle floral lift.”

If you like Sauternes, try: Vinsanto from Santorini

Vinsanto is a sweet wine with a distinct flavour influenced by the ash and pumice from past volcanic eruptions on the Greek island.

Joe Fattorini’s tasting notes: “A sweet wine aged for anything between 4 and 40 years in barrels making an unctuous, complex, multi-layered wine.”

One to try – Vinsanto Hatzidakis from “Dark, caramel color reminiscent of molasses that shows its age. Nose of medium intensity, with complex aromas of butter, cognac, nuts, vanilla and dried plum.”

 If you like Riesling, try: Riesling from British Columbia

Climate change means that wine production is marching ever northwards into regions that were previously too cold, and some wonderful Pinot Noirs, Rieslings are now coming from British Columbia.

Joe Fattorini’s tasting notes: “What’s so wonderful is that winemakers are finding their own, bigger, richer distinctive style. Reflecting the climate and soils of British Columbia.” 

One to try – They can be tough to find, but look out for St Hubertus & Oak Bay: Their 2013 Riesling was named British Columbia’s best wine last year.

Joe Fattorini was working for Celebrity Cruises when he came up with his wine advice, and they commissioned a series of beautiful paintings to go along with it – including this one of British Columbia

Joe Fattorini was working for Celebrity Cruises when he came up with his wine advice, and they commissioned a series of beautiful paintings to go along with it – including this one of British Columbia. See all the pictures here.