Featured Grapes

In a world where Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc often steal the limelight, there’s a trio of lesser-known white grapes that deserve your attention. Albariño, Picpoul, and Assyrtiko are the hidden gems making waves in the wine world. With unique tasting notes and a rising global presence due to their hot climate / drought resistance, these varietals share a special something that’s catching the eyes (and palates) of wine enthusiasts worldwide and favourites of mine.

Albariño: Spanish Sunshine in a Glass

Originating from the coastal regions of Spain, Albariño is like a sip of summer. With bright acidity and crisp minerality, it entices with flavours of green apple, citrus, and a touch of salinity. Tasting notes often include floral hints, making it an exquisite partner for seafood dishes, especially those with a Mediterranean flair.

Picpoul: A Breath of Fresh Air from Languedoc

From the Languedoc region of France comes Picpoul, an enchanting varietal known for its lively character. With zesty acidity and a delicate bouquet of white flowers and green herbs, Picpoul dances on the palate. It’s a versatile choice, equally delightful as an aperitif or alongside seafood delights.

Assyrtiko: Greece’s Gift to the Wine World

I never made it to the sun-soaked Greek island of Santorini, I’d possibly never leave as Assyrtiko is a force of nature. With volcanic soils lending unique minerality, this grape bursts with flavours of citrus, stone fruit, and a touch of smoke. Its vibrant acidity makes it a dream companion for seafood and grilled dishes, harmonising beautifully with the Mediterranean cuisine. Better still, the late harvest Vin Santo sweet wines are great for those cold nights when you’re looking forward to summer.

What Do They Have in Common?

While distinct, these grapes share a common thread - beside the sun drenched, sea-side climaates: a vibrant acidity that brings their flavours to life. Each grape’s natural acidity is like a refreshing breeze, creating a balanced and invigorating drinking experience. This acidity, coupled with their unique tasting profiles, is what sets them apart in a world of white wines.

Rising Stars on the Global Stage

As wine lovers seek new horizons, Albariño, Picpoul, and Assyrtiko are stepping into the spotlight. These once lesser-known grapes are becoming increasingly popular, even finding new homes in unexpected regions. Countries like Australia are embracing their potential, cultivating these varietals to craft wines in hot climates. I recently discovered Picpoul in a sparkling style (delicious, vibrant) and Assyrtiko (shows great promise) - both just lacking some of that Mediterranean terroir.

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Meet the author

Photo for Damien Saunders
Damien Saunders
WSET3 award - Has been on a journey to learn more about wine, viticulture since I started travelling. Every country has something to drink.