May 25, 2019, is National Wine Day. This is not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day that took place in February.
The two “National Days” seem to share a purpose while the February date does include a call to action with the word “drink” in the title. Do not despair or become overcome with confusion as we at BevX are calling for the drinking of wine on May 25 (as well as 364 additional dates in 2019). Wine is for drinking.
Nevermind who actually comes up with these National Days now presented daily let’s focus on making the best of this day by drinking some terrific wine.
In the USA the top selling varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris), Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not surprising that these are all varietals that originally hail from France.
On a day that celebrates wine we would encourage our readers to spread their wings and try a varietal that has not cracked the top five top-sellers.
Vermentino – an Italian white varietal that is grown in numerous Italian regions from north to south.
Vermentino is also an important grape in the south of France and portions of Spain.
In Italy, Vermentino is enjoying renewed interest thanks to the bright and approachable wines made on the island of Sardinia. Vermentino is now Sardinia’s primary white grape and today nearly 70% of Vermentino grown in Italy is found on the island.
Vermentino wines are typically dry, beautifully floral with exotic fruit notes, bright acidity, and mineral accents. If you like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio you will love Vermentino.
Chenin Blanc – a white grape of French origin that is responsible for many world-renowned wines from the Loire Valley. Vouvray is the most popular of these Loire wines and luckily they can be found in most any wine shop worth its salt.
Chenin Blanc is extraordinarily versatile grape used to create dry, off-dry, sweet, and sparkling wines. Sadly this lovely varietal is often over-looked and frequently associated with cheap table wines.
While this grape hails from France more than half of the world’s Chenin Blanc vines are found in South Africa. The bulk of South African Chenin Blancs are simple if not boring but there are a growing number of exciting wines such as Delaire Graff Chenin Blanc from Swartland.
Chenin Blanc is often subtle complex offering flavors of apple, pear, tropical fruits, citrus, candied ginger, jasmine, and honey.
Tempranillo – a red grape native to Spain and to this day roughly 8 out of 10 Tempranillo vines planted in the world reside in Spain.
In its native Spain, Tempranillo is most notably grown in the regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Tempranillo features in value-minded, varietally labeled wines as well as luxury brands selling for hundreds of dollars per bottle on their release. However, it’s easy to find a super bottle of Spanish Tempranillo for $15 or less.
Tempranillo has more weight and tannins than Pinot Noir but less weight and tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavors are very approachable and often complex offering notes of cherry, plum, and fig with accents of dried herbs, cedar, clove, and vanilla. Tempranillo can be made to drink young or it can age for decades.
Sagrantino – is a native of Italy’s Umbria region — a land-locked region in Central Italy that’s bordered by Tuscany, Lazio, and Le Marche. More than 90% of all Sagrantino grown in Italy is grown in Umbria.
Sagrantino has the dubious reputation as being one of the most tannic of all red grapes. In truth, the tannins are most often well-polished and integrated into the wine’s complex and generous fruit palate.
Sagrantino is used in multiple red blends, most notably Montefalco Rosso, It is the solo varietal in Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG.
Sagrantino wines are described as being abundant in aromas and flavors red berries, red & black cherry, ginger, anise, cocoa, vanilla, and brown baking spices. The famous tannins are surely plentiful but present themselves as well-polished and rarely astringent. If you are a dedicated fan of Cabernet Sauvignon you owe it to yourself to try Sagrantino.
For more on Sagrantino read our feature story.
Last but not least, how could we celebrate National Wine Day in May without a Rosé? Rosé is undeniably and deservedly hot these days but there is one Rosé that you have likely overlooked – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is Italy’s only DOC dedicated to Rosé. As the name strongly suggests it is made in the region of Abruzzo with the versatile and under appreciated Montepulciano varietal.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo offer a bright red color with loads of ripe and tart red fruits. It offers bright acidity making it a great food wine or an equally good aperitif.
For more on Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo read our feature story.
We hope that you have a super National Wine Day.