It’s well known that we are a nation of Prosecco lovers, we’ve well and truly taken the Italian bottle of sparkling goodness to our hearts. However, wine expert and co-host of The Wine Show Joe Fattorini has boldly proposed an alternative to our favourite tipple, along with nine other alternatives to our wine favourites.
Joe Fattorini worked with Celebrity Cruises to scour the world for the most exciting, up-and-coming wines that are perfect to swap for your old favourites. From volcanic wines to Champagne-quality without the Champagne price tag, you’ll find something new and exciting to impress your friends with next time you’re handed the wine menu.
Each alternative wine has been chosen by Joe to match the tastes and styles of some of the UK’s favourite wines – such as Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc. Use the handy wine map to help discover delicious wines from places you may not have expected such as Canada, Greece and Tasmania.
Swap Prosecco for Franciorta from Italy
If Prosecco is your go-to tipple of choice, you should make 2017 the year you fall in love with Franciacorta. It’s been referred to by some as ‘Italy’s Champagne’ as the method and grapes they use to make it are the same as those in the Champagne region – but it’s much more affordable.
Joe says, “More serious than Prosecco and made in the same way as Champagne… it’s warmer, more generous and fleshier. It has a personality of its own and I know plenty of people who much prefer it to both Prosecco and Champagne.”
Swap Pinot Noir for Frappato from Mount Etna
Volcanic wines are all the rage at the moment, so if you’re looking to impress someone with your wine choices – this is a great option. Wine from Mount Etna offers delicious and complex flavours due to its steeply-sloped vineyards on the side of the mountain coupled with the highly nutritious volcanic soil. Look out for Frappato from this region, it’s a versatile, medium bodied style that is best served slightly chilled with light meals such as salads and grills, which will suit people who can’t get enough of Pinot Noir at the moment.
Joe says, “Like a warm-climate Pinot Noir, with delicious strawberry fruit and a versatile, medium-bodied style”
Swap Sauvignon Blanc for Calvet Fleur Baron from Bordeaux
You may not be surprised at a suggestion to try a wine from Bordeaux, but while the region is famed for its reds – it’s their white wines you must try this year. Sauvignon Blanc is a firm favourite for many at the moment, but if you’re looking for something a little more interesting then a white from Bordeaux, such as Calvet Fleur Baron, is a great, refreshing choice.
Joe says, “The area is better known for its reds, but their whites are delicious, complex and smoky. This is one of my favourites!”
Swap Riesling for Canadian Riesling from British Columbia
Thanks to climate change, wine production is marching ever northwards into regions that were previously too cold. Wonderful Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays can be found from British Columbia with their own unique styles which reflect the area, but if you’re going to try one this year – make it a Riesling from this stunning mountain region.
Joe says, “What’s so wonderful is that winemakers are finding their own, bigger, richer distinctive style. Reflecting the climate and soils of British Columbia”
Swap Champagne for Jansz Cuvee from Tasmania
Another cooler region that is coming into its own, this temperate climate is perfect for sparkling wines. The Jansz vineyards were the first to make sparkling wine in the traditional Champagne method, and have coined the term ‘Méthode Tasmanoise’.
Joe says, “A great, ripe alternative to Champagne. Don’t expect it to be the same. It has more fruit and ripeness. But it’s a gorgeous wine”
Swap Pinot Grigio for Picpoul de Pinet from Rhone Valley
Picpoul is a fresh, fruity grape from Southern France with a ripe, juicy flavour and just a squeeze of citrus to make the perfect seafood wine. It’s hard to miss, just look out for the distinctive slender green bottle with a cross embossed on it. Give this a try if your go-to is normally a Pinot Grigio.
Swap your favourite sweet wine for Vinsanto from Santorini
Sweet wines are having a bit of a resurgence at the moment, if you’re going to try the trend this year why not be bold and sample one from somewhere a little more surprising. Another on-trend volcanic choice, Vinsanto from Santorini is the region’s delicious sweet wine. The distinct and funky flavour is influenced by the ash and pumice from volcanic eruptions from years ago.
Joe says, “A sweet wine aged for anything between 4 and 40 years in barrels making an unctuous, complex, multi-layered wine”
Swap Soave for Dorona from Venice
When you think of Venice you may think of canals, gondolas and breath-taking architecture. What might not spring to mind are vineyards, but nestled in the lagoon just by the city is a vineyard within the ancient walled monastery of Venissa. This is where Dorona, a medieval grape, is produced and uniquely bottled with a single gold leaf label – Joe recommends it if you fancy an earthier, more complex Soave-like wine.
Swap Shiraz for Grenache from Rhone Valley
2017 will see a big focus on Grenache, and it’s the Southern Rhone Valley that is making some of the most exciting ones out there. These juicy and hearty options are perfect for Shiraz-lovers looking for something with class that are also great value.
Joe says, “This is the incoming age of Grenache. Wineries in Southern Rhone Valley are making Grenache-dominant reds with class, panache and yet still good value”
Swap Cabernet Franc for Mencia from Northern Spain
For a fruity and bright red that you may not have tried before, Mencia from Northern Spain is a great choice. Spain as a whole is a really exciting wine region this year, so make sure you try at least one to stay ahead of the wine-curve.
Joe says, “If you love fruity and bright reds, then you must dig out Mencia. All wine lovers should be looking to Spain as it’s a wine lover’s paradise at the moment”