Get Weird With These Three Unconventional Wines

Posted January 21, 2015

Ian Dorin


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One of the great things about making wine in America is that there is no restrictions on what grapes you can grow. Sure, there are things that just won't work, or are completely ill advised because hey, if you bottle it, you gotta sell it (Old Vine Russian River Colombard, anybody?). That laissez faire attitude toward winemaking is distinctly new-world, but there are still tons of examples of “wait they make that there?” in the old-world, too. Here are some wild examples we have floating around the store:

2013 La Fruitiere Chardonnay

In the land of wine geekdom, Loire Chardonnay is actually more common than you think. That said, this wine has actually been a huge talking point in the store. Chards like this will always have a great level of freshness to them, and minerality by the bucketful. Sounds like Chablis, right? Except it's about thirty percent cheaper than Chablis.That's why this wine is an absolute killer. Chablis is pricing itself out of the market. Loire Chard is going to be very big, very soon. There’s a reason US importers descended on the Loire in 2014.

Dandelion Vineyards Legacy Of Australia 30 Yr Pedro Ximenez

Best known for being the sweet component of Cream Sherry, Pedro Ximenez thrives in warm climates, so why not Australia? Mostly grown in Jerez in the south of Spain, PX (as it's most often known) has very high sugar and acid content, and can stand up to very long periods in barrel. Think Tawny Port, but at a much higher sugar level. It’s also worth noting that a 30-year Tawny would be roughly twice the price of this. Another reason to look outside of the common regions for wines like this.

2012 Mt Difficulty Riesling

While Sauvignon Blanc has been the king variety in NZ, the Alsatian/German varieties have actually done quite well from a quality standpoint. The wines take on a much more opulent, Alsatian style while staying fresh and floral. If you take climate out of the picture, Alsace and Marlborough look quite similar, with vineyards nestled among gentle rolling hills of green. This is great quality, and given how much Sauv Blanc dominates the market, Kiwi Riesling presents a really cool opportunity for you to expand your palate and surprise the hell out of some friends along the way.


With over 15 years of experience (and counting), Ian has risen to become Wine Director for the Wine Library. He also been featured in the Wall St. Journal, and has regularly been quoted in a variety of wine articles.

Product Label.

Mt Difficulty Riesling

92 Wine & Spirits

Item: 85132

750 mL

Retail: $21.99

$13.20 per btl

Product Label.

La Fruitiere Chardonnay

88 Stephan Reinhardt - Robert...

Item: 85896

750 mL

Retail: $16.99

$12.98 per btl

Product Label.

Dandelion Vineyards Legacy Of Australia...

95 Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Item: 86049

375 mL

Retail: $27.99

$19.99 per btl