2014 is in full swing now. You are probably working on your New Year’s resolution.  Do not feel bad if you have not started. It is not too late. Ease your way into the New Year.  Try something new. Do you have the same wine over and over again?  There are over 10,000 grapes varieties worldwide. If you get rid of all the varietals you drink currently and start over, you would not miss a beat.  In Maryland alone, over 400 types of wines are produced.      

Challenge yourself to try something new!  Are you up for the challenge? Here are some recommendations:

Like Riesling? Try Gewurztraminer. Gewurztraminer (geh VURTZ tra MEEN er) can be sweet or dry like a Riesling, but is characteristically lower in acid. Gewürztraminer wine with low alcohol percentage, 5 percent or lower, are sweeter wines.  Once you get past trying to pronounce the name, you will really love it.

Like Pinot Grigio? Try Albariño.  Albariño can be considered the Spanish Pinot Grigio. This Spanish wine has hints of peachy and apple aromas.  It will have a crisp finish that you would expect from a Pinot Grigio. Albariño pairs very nicely with fish and poultry.

Like Chardonnay? Try Viognier (vee-own-yay). Viognier has the creaminess and fruity aromas similar to a Chardonnay, but lacks the oaky flavors. If you vowed you would never drink Chardonnay, this is the wine for you. Viognier lacks the oaky notes because of the aging process used. This is perfect for those who do not like oaky Chardonnay wine.

Like Merlot? Try Grenache. Grenache has similar fruit flavors and textures as a Merlot. There hints of strawberry, black cherry and cinnamon. Its tannin is milder and has a higher alcohol content. Grenache is slightly more expensive than Merlot, but do not let the price from stopping you from trying it.

Like Cabernet? Try Tempranillo. Tempranillo offers that big red flavor Cabernet is known for. You will not miss its cherry and tomato flavors.  It is also aromatic, and can have a spicy finish. Tempranillo is versatile and pairs with all types of food. 

Break out of your wine comfort zone.  Try the challenge.  All of these wines can be found at your local fine wine store.  As you explore, wine store staff can help you find what you like.  Ask plenty of questions and go to wine tastings. Many wine stores have wine tastings that are free or at a nominal price. For even more fun, visit your local vineyard. Enjoy your challenge.  Life is too short not to try something new. 

Leslie Frelow, owner of Vino 301  

Leslie Frelow, owner of Vino 301