Some grapes give off more fragrance than others. In the wine business we call these “aromatic varieties”, and during the winemaking process, many of the best winemakers will try to retain these unique smells in the wine, which I think makes for a really fun sipping experience as well as interesting for food pairing.
Watch this CTV clip for a video of four of my personal favourite aromatic grape varieties!
- Crios Torrontes, Argentina | around $15 | available nationally
- If you live in Toronto, it won’t be hard to remember the grape Torrontes. Wines using this grape typically have really fragrant aromas that remind us of big flowers and tropical fruits. Remember Calgon body spray? Crios is an affordable, delicious version that’s made by iconic female winemaker Susana Balbo from Argentina – one of the main Torrontes producing countries. I would pair this with Mediterranean dishes like falafel or also make a spritzer with this plus sparkling water and frozen berries.
- Burgans Albarino, Spain | around $20 | most major markets
- On the more delicate side of floral, Albarino is a lovely aromatic grape that comes from the west coast of Spain and Portugal (you’ll see this spelled with a V on Portuguese labels). To me, Burgans, from the Rias Baixas area of Spain, has gentle aromas of small tree blossoms and really nice orchard fruits like apples and peaches. Great with grilled seafood, paella of course, to match the Spanish theme, or peach or mango salsa, Thai curries. This is one of my go-to sushi wines.
- Trail Estate skin fermented Gewurztraminer, Prince Edward County, Ontario | $45 | order direct from the winery
- This is my local pick for today, from natural wine producer Trail Estate in Prince Edward County. Do you smell rose petals? Gewurztraminer is a pretty fragrant wine grape to begin with, and when you let it steep in its own skins for length of time, it will also gain some grip and texture from the tannins in the grape skin. I often find that Gewurz can remind me of roses, quite a heady perfumey smell to it. Because this wine has some tannin I would encourage you to try this with heartier dishes like biryani or Filipino lechon and sticky coconut rice.
- Filodivino « Diana » Lacrima di Morra d’Alba, Italy | around $20 | BC and ON
- Yes red wines can smell floral too! Most people who know me know that I love to try unusual grapes that can only be found in one spot on the planet. One of my all time favourites is the Italian red grape Lacrima, which you can find mostly in the Marche region of Italy – the calf of the boot. Filodivino is an organic winery and I really like this version. It’s got lovely tones of violets and roses that really jump out of the glass. It’s not too heavy, making it a great summer red, and would be really tasty with kebabs featuring peak summer produce like tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, zucchini.
[pic credit: CTV Your Morning]