Like many of you, we are beer drinkers. That probably doesn't surprise you. Though, what might surprise you is that as a beer drinker, is the potential to use your palate to delve into other sorts of beverages is very high. In that spirit, here are a few wines that we think would tickle your beer drinking fancy:
1) Rojac Refosk
Refosk is a Slovenian red grape varietal, which is characterized by its elegance and acidity. Slovenian, you say? Sure did, and this might not be as unfamiliar as it seems. Here's the deal: Slovenia and Italy share a border. The soil, climate, etc. of Southern Slovenia are not unlike that of Northern Italy. Italian wine has a penchant for sustaining high acidity without compromising its density of earthy flavors. This indigenous Slovenian varietal expresses a similar tendency. Rojac Refosk is spontaneously fermented with natural yeasts and then laid to rest in neutral oak for 10-12 months. The resulting product comes out of the barrel drinking a whole lot like a Flanders Red. I've always felt that the Flanders is the perfect jumping off-point for budding sour beer drinkers, particularly beers like Duchesse or Rodenbach Grand Cru. They are complex, tart and satisfying, but present familiarity with the sweet red malt base and noticeable oak presence. For those of you well-versed in drinking this classic beer style, perhaps you will find a similar starting point into wine with wines like Rojac Refosk.
2) I Tigli Vino Bianco
I Tigli Viano Bianco is an orange wine, and despite how it sounds, is not wine made from oranges. Orange wine is basically white wine that ferments on its skins, which is not something that is typically done with a white wine. Skin contains tannins, or, that chalky, dry sensation that structures the finish of a sip. Sounds pretty simple, right? If I like beer, why should I care about orange wine? Well, I'll tell you why you should care about this one. I Tigli (like many orange wines) spontaneously ferments, much like Lambic; or in its common form, Gueuze. Interested yet? These funky, full-bodied, tart and very dry-finishing wines are just the right kind of weird for the sour beer drinker.
3) Branger Muscadet
Muscadet is a small appellation (a small sub-region, basically) on the western end of the Loire Valley, which grows only one type of grape and produces only one style of wine. Made from a grape called Melon du Bourgogne, this white wine is characterized by its full body, soft, round mouthfeel, and punchy salinity from its proximity to the ocean. Sound familiar? Well, this description is one that would also befit the Gose, a wheat beer that has a full, softness on the palate because of the wheat grain and is punctuated by salt, coriander and the occasional lemony acidity.
Bonus Wine for the Adventurous Drinker:
Swick Pet Nat Verdelho
Pet'Nat, or petillant-naturel, is an old-world fermentation process that pre-dates even the champagne method by several hundred years. Pet'Nat wines are bottled while fermenting without any adjunct sugars, which allows the primary fermentation to unfold in the bottle, leaving a little cake of sediment down in there and then is shipped off to be sold completely undefined and unfiltered. Verdelho is somewhat of an obscure Portuguese varietal, which has found a home in Washington’s Columbia Valley. Swick is one of the only producers that has a Pet'Nat product in the Nashville market, so be sure to check this one out if you like bottle-conditioned Belgian ales such as Trippels or our very own Blackberry Farm line of saisons, particularly those with some acidity as Verdelho tends to sport some tartness.