Monday, August 2, 2010

Rant: Don't Ignore Niche Wines

I recently realized that I have been championing plenty of niche wines and beverages, those which are less popular, less common or more difficult to find. Not only have I been drinking them, but I have been covering them on my blog. Saké, sherry, Greek wines, hard cider, non-Kosher Israeli wines and more. For example, a regular feature on my blog are Saké Sundays while today I have started a five-part series on the History of Sherry.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and similar such common grapes can be made into complex and excellent wines. California, France, and Italy all make some delicious wines. You'll find such wines almost everywhere, and the wine media, including many blogs, cover them ad nauseum. They are the most popular wines, but that doesn't mean they are the only good wines out there.

I can get bored of these wines, desirous of something different, something off the beaten path. There are plenty of intriguing wines out there which are less commonly known, even by many wine lovers. Why confine yourself to the same old wines and drinks? Why not expand your horizon and palate? You'll never know if you like something else until you try it.

It can sometimes be a problem locating some of these niche wines and drinks. Many wine stores, if they even have them, may only have a very limited selection, and the available choices may not be the best examples of the particular beverage. Thus, if you try one of those lesser examples, you might not enjoy it like you would if it were a better selection. That lesser example could turn you off to that category of niche wine, and it would not be a fair taste test.

Instead, you should seek out someone who is familiar with those niche wines and get specific recommendations. If you are going to experience those niche wines for the first time, you should taste one of their best, to better evaluate how you feel about such wines. It would be similar to introducing someone new to wine to Cabernet Sauvignon. Would you give them a cheap, average wine to taste, or something that might be a bit more expensive, but is also more complex and delicious? The latter wine would be more likely to turn that newbie into a convert. The same applies to niche wines.

To those wine bloggers to which this is applicable, don't you get bored writing about the same old grapes and wines? How many times can you write about Cabernet Sauvignon, and really be original? Isn't it time to inject some new life into your blog and write about something different, some niche wine which gets far less coverage? Wouldn't you like to expand your own wine experiences and try something new?

I'll continue to taste whatever is different, new and unusual. I enjoy championing niche wines and drinks, giving them a louder voice than they usually possess. I revel in the joys of tasting something exciting that intrigues my palate.

Won't you join me this adventurous path?

4 comments: said...

You might be interested in local New England Honey-Wine. When I have some ready should I send you sample bottle? We should be ready in February/January in 2011 to bottle. Fermentation is going on as I type this comment.

Unique wines I think are gaining a lot of momentum, but not sherry, at least not that I know of! I have heard of Madeira getting some attention though. Might be able to bring it into the Sherry debate? Or not?

Kathleen Rake said...

Great post and good food for thought.

The short answer, for me, is Yes, I do get tired of writing about the same few grapes; however, I secretly love the challenge and exercise of finding just one more audience-engaging way to write about one more Pinot Noir. That being said, I'd love to explore more of the less popular wines, more often.



CChamberlain said...

this might just be my favorite rant yet : )

Richard Auffrey said...

Hi Isaak:
I certainly would be interested in a local honey wine. Good luck with your wine making! Madeira is another niche wine which needs more attention. Sherry is poised for a return, as mentioned in my latest posts.

Hi Kathleen:
Thanks for your comments and I hope you do try some niche wines.

Thanks Constance!