Whether you're a wino or just someone who likes a glass of the grape stuff every once in awhile, a good majority of wine drinkers all have one thing in common: There's one type of wine they scoff at, would never drink, makes them clutch their pearls, gag, etc. (We see you, zinfandel haters 👀.)
Friends, really, don't you know there's always an exception to the rule? Here, a look at the vino that will make you rethink everything you ever held to be true, wine-wise.
Chardonnay is considered the #1 avoided wine (maybe tied with merlot, more on that later). "The ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement gained momentum in the 2000s, as consumers got tired of the buttery, oaky, and often sweet style of California Chardonnay that gained popularity in the 1990s," says Lisa Mattson, wine expert and director of marketing and communications at Jordan Vineyard and Winery. But don't give up yet—there are tons of other options than the heavy stuff.
Game Changers: Mattson recommends Jordan Winery Chardonnay Russian River Valley ($32) because it's "refreshing but won't fatigue your palate like those oaky-butterball Chardonnays," or HdV Chardonnay Carneros ($65), which is "bright and fresh with stone fruits."
Poor merlot. Sideways really worked against the red wine ("I am not drinking any f*cking merlot!"), casting it as, uh, basic. But really, it's anything but, says Susan Lueker, SIMI winery's director of winemaking. "Merlot is a crowd pleaser. It's easy to drink, nicely textured, and food-friendly. An extreme value. In fact, most red blends that you might enjoy also have a large percentage of Merlot—and look at how well they drink."
Game Changer: SIMI's Sonoma County Merlot ($14). "It's soft,easy bright cherry, blackberry fruit with a bit of spice is fun, supple and approachable," says Lueker. "You can enjoy at a dinner party or while reading your favorite magazine. It pairs well with anything and everything."
White Wine (in General)
"Some people hate ordering white wine at a restaurant," says Charles Ford, Ribera y Rueda ambassador and wine director of The Bristol. "They think it has to be a big, bold red. But that's obviously not the case."
Game Changers: Verdejo, specifically Bodegas Shaya "Habis" ($22). "It's mind-boggling when you let it warm up," says Ford. "Leave this wine out after you open it and do *not* put it back in the cooler. This wine tells an evolving story from the second you open the bottle to the last glass that you have." Ford also recommends Riesling, specifically Maison Trimbach et Fils Cuvee Frederick Emile ($55). "This wine has a unique ability to take people outside of their comfort zone. It's not sweet, it's not *that* acidic. It's a perfectly paved road of wine enjoyment that explains why Riesling is easily the most popular wine amongst sommeliers."
Things sure have changed for rosé. The once-looked-down-upon wine is now having it's heyday, and if you haven't gotten on board, it's time to.