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There are well over 1000 grape varieties used in winemaking across the world (1368 according to the most recent research), and to complicate things further, many have multiple identities in different countries. The cultivation of the domesticated grape began 6,000–8,000 years ago, with archaeological evidence of winemaking having been found in Georgia from that period, and as production has grown and diversified, so too have the varieties of grapes used.
Out of the many varieties, there are only a limited number that have found worldwide fame. When dining out or buying wine for home do you stick with an old faithful? A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a Californian Chardonnay or perhaps a Burgundian Pinot Noir? After discovering a wine you really love your vinous journey might seem complete; a favourite becomes your own personal definition of a great glass of wine and you are reluctant to consider other alternatives.
However, you can expand your horizons further by exploring new and exciting versions of your favourite variety from different regions. Growth conditions and many other factors might contribute to a unique twist on your favourite variety that will give a whole new perspective to your preferred glass of wine.
Simply find your favourite variety below for a host of different ideas and suggestions of wines that you may not have tried.
Grown all over the world this popular grape variety comes in many disguises depending where you are in the world. Head to the Loire Valley in France and you will find wines from Pouilly Fume and Sancerre both of which are made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Try the fantastic La Folie Sancerre Alphonse Mellot from Loire. A biobynamic wine that has a slight smokiness to it and is perfect when paired with fish pie.
A few years ago Riesling was pigeon holed as, only coming from Germany and only comes in one style, sweet and even sweeter. Today this is not the case with many new versions to discover, from bone dry to fruit driven, aromatic styles. You will find Riesling from France, Austria, New Zealand, Australia and off course Germany where the styles are amazingly varied.
If you like Pinot Noir but want to move on from Burgundy and New Zealand. Then why not try a Pinot Noir from South America? Chile produces some amazing fruit driven Pinot Noir, they tend to be fuller in flavour with a slight smokiness to the finish. Try Cono Sur Reserva Pinot Noir which is wonderfully aromatic with smooth cherry notes.
Over the year's Chardonnay has come in and out of fashion from big, oaky tropical flavours of Australia to more refined, fresh offerings from Chablis, France. Whatever your style we have a Chardonnay for you, including some fizz! Try
Domaine Louis Moreau, Chablis
The Merlot grape is a firm favourite used in many red wine blends and can be found in most wines from Bordeaux. Popular blends include Cabernet/Merlot from Haut-Medoc and Merlot plays an important element in prestige growing regions such as Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. Merlot brings ripe plummy flavours to a wine that could be tannic or lack fruit characters.
Pinot Grigio is a hugely popular Italian variety, but look outside of Italy and you will find PG from Eastern Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand, it is sometimes know as Pinot Gris.
Great examples of the diversity and quality of this variety include Waitrose Hungarian Pinot Grigio, St Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio and the Cave de Beblenheim Pinot Gris.
Sometimes known as the king of grapes grape varies from country to country but will always produce a full-bodied wine. If you'd like to try something that has a delicate yet rustic character, then why not try a Cabernet Franc from Loire which is packed full of ripe berry flavours and a touch of smoke on the finish.