Found: Four Weird Wines at Wine Loft

There's something unusual about each of the shop's wine selections this week.

One grape was lost but now is found, while another grows mainly in Spain.

There's one that shines with seafood, and another that sparkles red.

They're the main attractions in the "four weird wines" of , and you can get a taste of their unusual natures from 1-6 p.m. Saturday during the shop's weekly wine tasting:

The lost grape—Vistamar Carmenere. Once thought to be extinct after being grown in the Bordeaux region of France, this Carmenere grape was unexpectedly found again being grown in Chile, said Manager Carrie Blank, wine specialist.

Interestingly, though, Chileans mistakenly thought they had been growing a Merlot grape.

"Now, it's the signature grape of Chile," and is also grown in Argentina, Blank said.

"It's ... really silky and smooth and not heavy on the tannin," Blank said. "But because of their intensity they (wines made with Carmenere grapes) can stand up to meat and intensely-flavored food."

Try it if you're looking for a Cabernet, she said.

At $2.99 per bottle, it's inexpensive to try this intensely fruity red.

Grows mainly in Spain—Eguren Viura. Michael Crivello, wine salesman, said he highly recommends this wine, made from the Macabeo grape.

"It has a lean, lemony taste" and is made from the same grape that's used to make Spanish brandy, Crivello said.

It's unusual to see this grape alone in a wine, Blank said, noting that it's most commonly found among other grapes in sparkling wines called Cava.

While it's an unusual wine, it's perfect for summer. "It's a patio-sunset wine, perfect with chicken, goat cheese—it's great with goat cheese—and salads," she said.

The oft-overlooked, crisp, creamy white—Les Martinieres. For people whose white wine world begins and ends with Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, this will be a weird wine, Blank said.

"A lot of people don't try it," Blank said. And it's made with an unusual grape: the Melon de Bourgogne, also known as Muscadet, from the Loire Valley in France.

Unfamiliar, maybe. But "It's really crisp and goes perfect with everything, including seafood, and appetizers, and it has a nice mineral streak that keeps it really fun, especially in the summer," she said.

It's $8.99 per bottle.

The unusual sparkling red—Soria Brachetto of Italy. "There are few red, sparkling wines," said Crivello. But this one's perfect for drinking with spicy foods such as pizza, Italian and Thai foods.

This is good news for residents of Baltimore County where patrons can bring their own alcohol to some restaurants.

For example, take it along to and in Pikesville, or to in Owings Mills, Blank and Crivello suggested.

This wine has "a real, nice rose-petal note," Crivello added.

It's $13.99 per bottle.

On Saturday, Blank plans to serve up the whites chilled, as well as the Brachetto. But the Carmenere will be served at room temperature.

Here's Blank's advice for serving wine:

Serve whites chilled—but not cold.

"If they're too cold ... you can’t taste or smell anything" about them, she said.

To chill: Put them into the refrigerator, then take them out 15 minutes before you serve them. Technically, a good serving temperature for whites is 56 degrees.

Give some reds a chill.

"It's fun to chill things like Beaujolais in the summer because, on its own, its light, fruity and refreshing. A little chill becomes really refreshing," she said.

The Wine Loft is located in Suite 111 at , 1809 Reisterstown Road.

For more information, visit the shop's website, or call 410-753-3388.


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