A white mutation of Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio enjoys popularity across the world. And, it’s easy to see why. It’s on every supermarket’s shelves for a start, so it’s easy to pick up on your way home from work. It’s also versatile, easy drinking and makes a refreshing summer drink. If you have guests, it’s likely they will like Pinot Grigio and there’s one on pretty much every restaurant wine list. But, it’s all too easy to keep on grabbing a bottle of Pinot Grigio with your weekly shop and becoming so stuck in your ways that you don’t try anything else. If you love this style of wine, there are lots of other options out there just waiting to be tasted…
Predominantly grown in North West Spain, Albarino is crisp and dry, just like Pinot Grigio, but it’s a little less delicate, and much smoother. Its longer finish gives you more options when it comes to food pairing and you’ll still get the lemony notes of a Pinot Grigio, albeit with the addition of a bit of ripe peach or apple.
Another incredibly popular choice, Sauvingnon is just as drinkable as Pinot Grigio, but with much more intense minerality and floral aromas. While Sauvignon is grown across the globe and there are some great varieties from New Zealand and Chile, Spanish Sauvignons have local fruity and herby notes which can be similar to the fresh herbal aromas of a Pinot.
Often with more elegance than a Pinot Grigio, a Riesling is still clean, fresh and light, but it can cope with much more than a Pinot. They go beautifully with Asian dishes and you can even pair them with red meat in a curry. They’re great, for example, with a beef Thai green curry. They’ll also go well with fish dishes, particularly those which need a wine which can cut through any elements of spice.
It’s not very often we describe a wine as smelling and tasting of, well, grapes. But Muscat is the exception. Lingering longer on the palate than a Pinot Grigio, typical varieties give you lovely aromas of orange blossom, along with peaches. While Muscat grapes are often used in dessert wine, the Sumarroca Muscat is a good example of a Muscat which you can serve up with the kind of light starters and grilled seafood you may have usually eaten with a glass of your usual Pinot Grigio.
Spain is arguably better known for its red wine, but if it has a signature white, it has to be the Verdejo. The high altitude of Rueda , north of Madrid, gives Verdejo bags of character with lots of lemon and minerality. Most importantly, it also has a sharp acidity, which means it is perfect as an aperitif, with tapas, with fried calamari or grilled shrimp.
If you’ve become stuck in your wine ways, we hope we’ve inspired you to pick up something different next time you pause in front of the white wine shelf or you’re looking for your next batch of wine online.