I'm always on the lookout for something new -- a new ingredient, new flavor combination, or a new wine. While I love Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, among others, I was desperate for a new white wine for the summer season. A sommelier friend suggested I try three "new" varietals, and I haven't looked back. All three have become some of my favorite wines to taste and talk about.
The first is Arneis, from Italy's Piedmont region. This medium-bodied, aromatic white tastes of apples, pears, and apricots and is sublime with cold chicken salad or smoked trout. Verdicchio is the second discovery, another native varietal from Italy. It's made in the Marches region and has a nutty, almost peachy flavor. What makes it even better is how well is pairs with any seafood - shrimp, scallops, crab, fish; they all sing with a glass of Verdicchio. Last but certainly not least is Torrontes, a grape native to Argentina. (Wine geeks often refer to it as Argentina's Viognier.) This lively, aromatic wine has hints of green apple, orange blossoms, and tropical fruits. It's food-friendly and has become my go-to white when I serve a cheese platter or grilled shrimp. Arneis, Verdicchio, and Torrontes can be found from $8 to $30 a bottle in wine shops so uncork a bottle (or three) and embrace something new!