Most wines produced in the United States are made as single grape (varietal) wines from a rather limited number of grapes.
But as wine drinkers become more adventurous, wineries are exploring less-frequently planted grapes to create blends — a common practice in Europe, but one that’s still relatively unusual here. This month’s column concerns both types; these wines will often be found under the “Interesting Reds” label.
The grape Blaufränkisch (“Blue Franc”) is grown mainly in Austria. But the Steele Winery in California has a 2008 Shooting Star Blue Franc that’s nice example — and a better value than an Austrian import. It’s a light red, scarcely oaked to make it appealingly fruity, and with light tannins that lead to a clean, dry finish. It’s ideal for salmon or chicken.