Exciting Wines From Grapes You’ve Never Heard Of
Last week I held a tasting featuring some excellent wines made from grapes that are pretty obscure. I was happily surprised that the crowd overwhelmingly loved the wines too, and I want to share with all the folks that couldn’t make it.
It’s not that I don’t love the ‘noble’ varieties: Cabernet is king, and Pinot Noir is an alluring temptress. The quality and stylistic variation of Chardonnay these days is positively fascinating! I do love something new, however, and when I find a wine that’s unique AND super tasty, the deal is sealed.
Many of these intriguing wines I’m finding are made in tiny batches by the next generation of winemakers that don’t get bogged down by large estate ownership and the expense that goes along with it. Instead, they can run things out of rented warehouse space and mine the state for little forgotten patches of unique vines. Some of these plots can be traced back to our first generation of immigrants who brought vine material with them from the old country. Grapes with mysterious names, like Vermentino, Friulano, Cortese, Arneis, Trousseau, Tannat, Alicante Bouschet, Valdiguie, and Aglianico. These are grapes that are considered indigenous to their often isolated spots in Europe, and never took to the world stage in a big way. They are worth seeking out.