Unique White Wine Varietals Worth Seeking Out this Summer

When you think of white wine, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris most commonly to come to mind, but there are some great lesser known white varietals that you should consider giving a try this summer when you are in the mood for some white wine.


Assyrtiko grapes originally hail from the island of Santorini in Greece. Some of the vines on the island go back over 70 years and the vineyards go back over 3500 years. Although assyrtiko grapes can now be found planted throughout Greece, assyritiko from Santorini best captures the expression of these grapes because of the soil on that island. The soil on the island of Santorini is volcanic rock and pumice giving the grapes a distinct minerality. The minerality in the soil along with the heat provide high acidity and nice citrus flavors that provide good balance and structure. Try this varietal of you want a crisp yet fresh and intense full bodied and structured white wine.  This wine pairs great with seafood.

Gruner Veltiner

Gruner Veltiner is the most widely planted grape variety in Austria, covering almost a third of all Austrian vineyards. It can also be found in Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Gruner Veltiner is a very pale green almost clear colored wine. Typically crisp and medium bodied it provides a nice blend of acidity spice and minerality. Gruner Veltiner is juicy and refreshing with hints of citrus and honey and it goes with a lot of foods.  Gruner Veltiner is great paired with Thai and other asian foods and also goes well with hard to pair asparagus and artichoke. Gruner Vertiner can also be enjoyed with fish, chicken or salad


Alvarino (also known at Albarino in Spain) is grown in northwest of Spain and northwest of Portugal. These grapes produce light aromatic high acidity wines  meant to be drunk young.  Alvarino wines are fresh and zesty with aromas of peach, apricot, citrus and jasmine and are often bottled with some carbon dioxide to give them a light sparkling sensation in the mouth.  Alvarino is good with seafood or just by itself to cool off on a hot summer day.  These wines are easy to drink, inexpensive and are helping to get Portugese wines noticed.


Vermentino grapes although originally from Spain are now grown primarily in France and Italy. Vermentino is also known as Rolle in Provence, Pigato in Liguria and Favorita in Piedmonte. Vermentino from Sardegna best captures the essence of this grape. Sardegnian Vermentino is bright crisp citrusy and a great inexpensive Italian varietal. Vermentino’s lightness and great flavor make it a great wine to enjoy outside on a hot summer day to help transport you to the Mediterranean.

These days with the Global Economy, more then ever it is possible to find and try things from around the world and often at inexpensive prices.   When it comes to wine this means the chance to try wine varietals such as Assrytiko, Gruner Veltiner, Alvarino & Vermentino which are not commonly grown or even known in the United States making them fun new discoveries and as a added bonus also great value wines!

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