When it comes to red wine varieties, you've been there and done that — right? Not so fast. Meet Catawba, the sweetest little red that you haven't had the pleasure of tasting yet.
What Is Catawba?
For many red wine varieties, the origin story starts in France. Catawba? Let's just say that this red is a little different. It's actually known as a "created grape." It's a hybrid of two established fruits, the much-loved and super traditional French vitis vinifera and the popular American vitis labrusca.
Where's It Produced?
The main reason Catawba manages to stay under the radar is that these grapes only grow in limited regions. Catawba grapes love the cool, humid climate of New England and New York's Finger Lakes region, so most bottles you spot hail from the Northeast. A select few come from Canada, which is right around the corner.
Catawba has the distinction of having been the most planted type of grape in the mid-19th century. It's been a minute, though. Catawba is a bit harder to find these days, but that doesn't mean it's any less delicious.
What's It Taste Like?
Like many wines that feature vinus labrusca grapes, Catawba has a touch of a foxy flavor that's balanced by sweet, fruity notes. Its acidity is on the high side, which makes this variety super refreshing.
Why You'll Love Catawba:
If you're looking for a type of wine that has plenty of surprises up its sleeve, Catawba is always a good pick. There are tons of varieties to choose from, and to say that not every bottle is created the same would be a pretty serious understatement.
Even though the grape itself is red, not all bottles are straight reds. Some winemakers keep it traditional and create a classic red from Catawba grapes. But some go for a White Zinfandel-style bottle to create a Pink Catawba. These rosé-style bottles undergo partial fermentation runs with the skins to produce Catawbas with lighter pink colors and sweeter flavors. Sounds refreshing, right?
That's not all, though. Tons of Catawba varieties have a bubbly thing going on, too. So if you're shopping for a new-to-you sparkling wine, make it Catawba.
Great Food Pairings for Catawba:
You can sip Catawba all on its own, especially if you're celebrating something fun. But its sparkling nature and natural acidity make it the perfect pair for heavier foods like deep-dish pizza and richly spiced foods like pork- and seafood-packed paella dishes.