Food & Drink » Winesipper

Oddball Summer Whites


I've got nothing against the usual suspects, but there's a whole world of white beyond Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. In fact, here are over 1360 different wine grape varieties. At the rate of one per day (on the outside chance you could round up a bottle of each), it would take the better part of four years to try them all. We tasted through a much smaller sample of unusual varieties, perfect for sipping during the waning dog days of summer. Here are the panel's top three picks:

2017 Jordanov Rkaciteli, $11.99

You'd be hard pressed to find a more obscure varietal, or one more difficult to pronounce (ree-kaht-see-tay-lee), than this wine from Macedonia. It has a lovely floral nose that offers peach aromas. There's a richness to the palate as well, with more ripe peach playing against lively acidity, along with lime zest and mineral on the finish.

2016 Rekalde RK Txakolina, $15.99

The grape used in the Basque Country's Txakolina (chah-kuh-leena) is Hondarrabi Zuri, which produces lean whites with a touch of fizz. This one breaks from that model, amping the flavors up considerably. The nose is a mix of citrus and stone fruit with touches of mineral and spice, and its velvety texture turns crisp on the long finish.

2017 Semeli Mantinia Moschofilero, $16.99

Another Greek entry, this wine is made from Moschofilero grapes grown in the Peloponnese. The variety is typically very fragrant, and Semeli offers rose, peach, papaya and mango aromas. The smooth, tropical fruit flavors add kiwi and lime to the mix, and the bright acidity of spicy lemon zest comes through on the finish.