'adventures with weird wine grapes' on Serious Eats

Žlahtina: The Perfect Under-$20 Wine For Oysters

I'd been hiding this quirky, slender, delicious looking bottle in the fridge for a special occasion. I don't mean a fancy dinner or holiday, or even an evening with important company. I mean a special occasion... Enter: the northern California coast, where there are fresher-than-fresh oysters available just footsteps away, doled out by the bag-full with little accompaniment besides sunshine and a shucking knife. More

Affordable Italian Wine: Argiolas Perdera from Sardinia

Confession: I love a recipe from the Campbell's soup website. It calls for simmering chicken breasts in creamy stock, balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, oregano, and kalamata olives. You sprinkle the whole thing with feta cheese and serve it up over orzo. I've eaten this dish with plenty of different wines that were all... fine. California Pinot Noir was overwhelmed; a northern Italian Barbera was bright but not bold enough; New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made it feel like everything was fighting. But last week, I found the perfect match. More

Sagrantino: A Grape Emerging from Darkness

When things got tricky last week, I sought comfort in three stalwarts of hope: my dog, a recipe for my Italian great grandmother's tomato sugo, and wine. The wine I pulled out was from a grape called Sagrantino, grown in an area called Montefalco in Italy's Umbria region. What struck me in reading about Sagrantino was this line in Wine Grapes: "The variety had become almost extinct in the 1960s." Yet here I was with three different bottles at my table. More

Weird, Cool Wine: Give Valdiguié a Chance

According to Wine Grapes, Valdigiué is a "high-yielding, rather ordinary variety from south-west France." Today, with barely 300 acres in California, Valdiguié has languished into obscurity, relegated to a reputation for mediocrity. But in the hands of Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, the "rather ordinary" Valdiguié has grown up into something quite interesting and delicious. More

Abouriou: An Endangered Species of Wine

Do you care about saving the endangered pygmy three-toed sloth? What about protecting the long heritage of the Roxbury Russet apple? If you believe in preserving species diversity or heirloom varieties, add Abouriou to your list. Only four acres of this spicy red grape remain in California—and all of the U.S., as far as anyone can tell. In its home in Southwest France, there are barely 800 acres left, and they're quickly diminishing. More

Weird Wine Grapes: A Tale of Two Trousseaus

If you ask me where I'm from, I will tell you "all over the place." My family moved five times before I was eight, when we finally settled in Minnesota. I developed a love for "hot dishes" and spoke with long, drawn-out "OHHs," dontchaknow. At 18, I bolted cross-country to Los Angeles, where I dyed my hair blonde, ate sushi daily and dropped my OHs for a tendency to end? Each sentence? With, like, a question?? Next was London, mate, for pints and chips. And in New York City I ordered pies, wore black, and hurried, everywhere. Who I am is as much owed to my DNA as to the environments where I lived, learned and developed. Which is why, approximately 30 seconds into my Wine Grapes adventure, I realized there was a problem I needed to address. More

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