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Finding a wine style you love is one of life’s joys – you know you can come back to it again and again, and make sure you always have a bottle in the rack for any occasion. But isn’t it marvellous to venture out of your comfort zone every now and then and find something new?

So where do you start? Well, we’ve taken four of the most popular grape varieties and tasked our own Matthew Horsley with finding horizon-expanding alternatives to try, safe in the knowledge they’re not too different from what you already know and love. First, he’s picked a safer option containing many of the key characteristics of the original wine, then he’s found a less obvious wildcard version which still shares a flavour or style that links it back to our starting grape. Conveniently, these are then all pulled together in three mixed cases. So if you like that, then try this…





If you like… chardonnay

The beauty of the chardonnay grape is its relative neutrality, making it a blank canvas for the vineyard and the winemaker to make their mark. The result is a diverse range of styles to choose from, with examples from all over the world.


Flavours:

Apple

Apple

Tropical Fruit

Tropical Fruit

Toasted Brioche

Toasted Brioche



Chardonnay starting point

The Society’s White Burgundy 2017

The Society’s White Burgundy 2017

A ripe and round Burgundy showing appley flavours on the broad palate, yet with a fresh finish. A timeless classic and a deserved bestseller.

£9.95 bottle
(LL-BU69701)


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The Society’s Falanghina 2016

The Society’s Falanghina 2016

This Italian white from the Campania region is an amazing alternative to white Burgundy, thanks to its late-picked fruit and a little careful bottle ageing. The result is a wine that matches The Society’s White Burgundy’s weight, texture and pleasing apple and melon flavours beautifully – and it’s divine with lemony pasta dishes.

£8.75 bottle
(LL-IT24111)

Go wild

Painted Wolf ‘Peloton’ Blanc, Coastal 2016

Painted Wolf ‘Peloton’ Blanc, Coastal 2016

Although a left-field choice, this not only matches our White Burgundy’s delicious texture thanks to touches of chenin blanc and roussanne grapes in the blend, but it also has an aromatic ‘pop’ thanks to the additions of viognier, grenache blanc and clairette blanc, and nutty complexity from a short time spent in oak.

£9.50 bottle
(LL-SA13511)



If you like… sauvignon blanc

Beloved the world over, this aromatic, mouthwateringly refreshing white can be packed with gooseberry, passionfruit and grassy character, and many of the best-known examples come from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.


Flavours:

Citrus

Citrus

Gooseberry

Gooseberry

Herbaceous/grassy

Herbaceous/grassy



Sauvignon blanc starting point

Rata Marlborough Sauvignon 2017

Rata Marlborough Sauvignon 2017

Jumping out of the glass with gooseberry and passionfruit tropical aromas, this wine has a lovely refreshing finish. A great Kiwi sauvignon blanc for anyday drinking. Gorgeous with goat’s cheese.

£7.25 bottle
(LL-NZ9831)


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Finca Lallana Verdejo 2017

Finca Lallana Verdejo 2017

Verdejo shares many characteristics with sauvignon blanc, and this example from Finca Lallana in north-west Spain (near the border with Portugal) has plenty of fresh acidity and lemon flavours on the palate and pleasing grassy aromas. Enjoy it with Spanish tapas dishes like garlic prawns or stuffed olives.

£8.75 bottle
(LL-SP13491)

Go wild

The Society’s Picpoul de Pinet 2017

The Society’s Picpoul de Pinet 2017

Sauvignon blanc can be so much more than just pungent gooseberry and citrus notes – it often has bewitching grassy, hedgerow and green-pepper aromas, all of which can be found in this delicious Languedoc white made from the picpoul grape, as well as lemon and lime to keep it fresh and moreish.

£8.50 bottle
(LL-FC34451)


Try the whites case



If you like… pinot noir

This lightish, delicate, cherry and redcurrant-scented grape gained its fame in the Burgundy region of France, but these days you can find exquisite examples from various places, including California and New Zealand.


Flavours:

Forest Fruits

Forest Fruits

Earthy

Earthy

Herbs

Herbs



Pinot noir starting point

The Society’s Red Burgundy 2017

The Society’s Red Burgundy 2017

This modest, cherry-scented pinot has round tannins and a fresh redcurrant character. An ideal Burgundy for beginners on a budget thanks to 2017’s added ripeness. Try it with a baked Camembert.

£9.95 bottle
(LL-BU69301)


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Regina Viarum Mencía, Ribeira Sacra 2017

Regina Viarum Mencía, Ribeira Sacra 2017

A little higher in price than The Society’s Red Burgundy, but what you get is a wine with a little more of everything – more deliciously sappy cherry fruit, mouthwatering acidity, body and that ethereal perfume that makes both pinot noir and the mencía grape (from Galicia in north-west Spain) so exciting.

£11.50 bottle
(LL-SP14101)

Go wild

Pittnauer Pitti Red, Burgenland 2016

Pittnauer Pitti Red, Burgenland 2016

Austria’s blaufränkisch grape may not be your first thought when finding an alternative to pinot noir but this delicious example has classic cherry and redcurrant-stalk flavours alongside blaufränkisch’s signature acidity. A fun and delicious alternative to your entry-level pinot noirs.

£9.95 bottle
(LL-AA2301)



If you like… merlot

One of the wine world’s great crowd-pleasers – full-bodied with plum, bramble and cherry character, not to mention good structure and freshness.


Flavours:

Plum

Plum

Blackberry

Blackberry

Cherry

Cherry



Merlot starting point

The Society’s Chilean Merlot, Rapel 2016

The Society’s Chilean Merlot, Rapel 2016

Fragrant plum-scented merlot with a hint of cedary complexity, rounded out by a little oak ageing. Ripe but not heavy or overtly oaky, this is a must for every wine rack, especially with comfort food like bangers and mash.

£6.75 bottle
(LL-CE9721)


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Valpolicella Valpantena Torre del Falasco 2017

Valpolicella Valpantena Torre del Falasco 2017

Merlot typically displays beautiful plum and spice flavours and is soft and full. This Valpolicella has both qualities in spades – delicious plum and dark-cherry fruit alongside a wonderfully succulent palate. A really fun, moreish merlot alternative.

£8.50 bottle
(LL-IT24951)

Go wild

Öküzgözü Vinkara Winehouse 2015

Öküzgözü Vinkara Winehouse 2015

Öküzgözü (which translates as ‘bull’s eye’) is a dark-skinned Turkish grape that is often compared to pinot noir. This example, however, is darker and fuller than many found in the Anatolia region, with deliciously ripe tannins, juicy dark fruit and lovely acidity. An absolute winner that even has a touch of savoury spice to match The Society’s Chilean Merlot.

£9.50 bottle
(LL-TU161)



Try the reds case
 
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