Break Free From Your Regular Wine Choices

5 varietals you’ve likely never had—but should try.

Sticking with the same wine order every time is safe and comfortable—some would say even reassuring in such a chaotic world. But it’s also mundane. Limiting. Okay, let’s be out with it: boring.

Jeannie and Rich Credidio, owners of 12 Grapes in Peekskill, are here to gently lead you from the familiar Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs to the wonderful, much wider world of less-mainstream wine. They have 12 reds and 12 whites by the glass, “which gives our customers variety and choice, and keeps things interesting,” Jeannie Credidio says.

The white wines most people ask for are Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling, she says. So we definitely won’t be going there.

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The Credidios want to introduce you to five varietals many people don’t know about, and they should. Rich Credidio’s five suggestions include three white wines available by the glass that people ask about a lot because they’ve never heard of them. His other two recommendations are interesting red wines sold by the bottle.

1. If you like Pinot Grigio, you’ll love…Albariño.
Albariño is a varietal from Rias Baixas, Spain, under the La Val and Serra da Estrela labels. This sunny wine tastes crisp, bright, and zesty, sometimes like grapefruit and other times like pineapple, always with a hint of seaside minerality.

2. If you like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll love…Verdejo.
Verdejo is a varietal from Rueda, Spain, under the Arindo label. One of Spain’s higher quality white wines, Verdejo-dominated wines are also crisp, but with creamy, nutty overtones. You might detect a whisper of honey as well.

3. If you like dry Riesling or Chardonnay, you’ll love…Viognier.*
Viognier is a varietal from Rhone Valley, France, under the Domaine de Vedilhan label. This is a powerful, fragrant grape, known for its assertive stone-fruit flavors and floral overtones.

4. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec, you’ll love…Nero D’Avola.
Nero D’Avola is a varietal from Sicily, Italy, under the Villa Pozzi label. Considered the most important wine in Sicily, Nero D’Avola is a full-bodied red with notes of plum, tobacco, black cherry, and licorice.

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5. If you like Merlot but with a little more spice, you’ll love…Carménère.
Carménère is a varietal from Maipo Valley, Chile, under the Santa Alicia Reserve label. Originally from Bordeaux, France, the grape has found a home in Chile, where it can develop its plumpness and herbaceous, cedar notes.
*About Viognier: It is the most planted white Rhone varietal in the US, so Viognier from California is quite popular, and can originate from anywhere from Napa to Santa Barbara.

To practice your newly found wine drinking knowledge, go to Wine & Food Fest and learn about this magazine’s June 8-12 festival.

Connect with this reporter: @AmySowder on Twitter, @GoudaGoodness on Instagram or at

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