What unusual wines/regions do you love?

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AAgrawal
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#1 Post by AAgrawal » June 2nd, 2018, 9:04 am

I'm not a complete neophyte with wine, and I like to think I drink broadly and include some unusual wines (Musar, plenty of Vouvray/Chenin), but the more I learn the more I realize how limited my tasting has been.

Specifically, I only recently tried my first vin jaune, and my first trousseau noir. I just started listening to Levi Dalton's I'll Drink to That, and a recent episode was on Aligote, which I just bought and tried my first bottle of. I've never had a Sagrantino (eg. Paolo Bea). I only recently discovered that Petillant Natural was a separate category of sparkling wine.

I'm looking to expand my viewpoint. Outside of the typical Burgundy/Barolo/Bordeaux/Cali Cab regions, what unusual regions or producers do you love, and do you think they are top tier, world-class wines at the level of grand cru burgundy/1st growth bordeaux, or just excellent everyday wines for the price that you enjoy?

(Please include producers that you enjoy as well as regions! So that I can search for them in my explorations...)
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#2 Post by Doug Schulman » June 2nd, 2018, 9:21 am

Chateau Simone Palette Blanc -- weird, funky, super complex, very high quality in my opinion
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#3 Post by RichardFlack » June 2nd, 2018, 9:31 am

Santorini Assyrtiko. But maybe that's mainstream now. Sigalas particularly good and fairly available. Try ageing a bit!
From your intro I'm guessing you are probably already into non-Rioja Spanish wines.

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#4 Post by AAgrawal » June 2nd, 2018, 9:43 am

RichardFlack wrote:Santorini Assyrtiko. But maybe that's mainstream now. Sigalas particularly good and fairly available. Try ageing a bit!
From your intro I'm guessing you are probably already into non-Rioja Spanish wines.
I love Lopez de Heredia whites and reds, but I haven't had a lot of non-Rioja Spanish wines. Any recommendations for producers?
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#5 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » June 2nd, 2018, 9:46 am

not sure it's unusual enough. I'll nominate dry VORS sherry. Can be mind-bending. For example, Hidalgo's VORS "Wellington" Palo Cortado is absolutely GC/1st Growth quality.
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#6 Post by AAgrawal » June 2nd, 2018, 9:47 am

Doug Schulman wrote:Chateau Simone Palette Blanc -- weird, funky, super complex, very high quality in my opinion
Ooh... I have seen these and had no idea what to think about them. I'll find one. What about the Chateau Simone reds and roses?
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#7 Post by Ian Sutton » June 2nd, 2018, 10:13 am

Hi Ashish
Such a wide ranging question, with thousands of different answers possible.

I'll diverge slightly from the remit to give my thoughts:

1. Piggy-back on those that have been actively tasting anything unusual they can get their hands on. People like Tom/Hill/Of/This/Shire and David Crossley's 'wide world of wine', the latter with a natural wine leaning, but far from a zealot, having cut his teeth on the classics.

2. Likewise, find what wine shops actively specialise away from the mainstream. Oddly that's quite strong locally to me, with local merchant with an unusually broad range, another about 30 mins away which is less broad, but arguably more eclectic. Finally another local shop (a fine coffee shop) who also carries a small but very eclectic and natural wine leaning range. On my last visit I walked away with a Chilean Pais from extremely old vines (200yo I think) made by a part time teacher moving into wine making. They've always got something unusual open to taste, plus there is real joy in what they do.

3. Some books really lend themselves to this exploration, and it's readily apparent that Ian d'Agata's Native wine grapes of Italy tome has encouraged me to try some wines/grapes I'd never heard of before, or remind me to return to wines I've enjoyed before but aren't seen around much. For me it's his writing style, where his genuine enthusiasm is apparent and can rub off on the reader.

4. Resist the temptation to constantly return to old favourite wines, regions, grapes, just because they are safe ground and you see them at a good price. Expertise can rather narrow our horizons. It can be very useful to have a broad target of where you want the cellar to be e.g. 50% known favourites, 30% variations on that theme, exploring around the fringes of the safe ground, 20% areas of exploration which might include expanding on a little prior experience all the way to something completely unusual. With this broad target in mind, remind yourself of it when thinking about buying wine. Are you sticking to the plan, falling back on the safe bets, or getting too carried away and avoiding buying wines that you know you love, but are now dwindling in the cellar.

5. Personally I've always found it easier to tackle a country or region at a time, starting with Australia and NZ wines (when the exchange rate made them a bargain), then moving into Italy (which is a never-ending journey of exploration), then more recently Portugal. Odd little pockets may get explored along the way, and there is room for other sampling bottles to see if the wine offers a spark of interest. Other people are perfectly happy just tasting randomly from anywhere and everywhere.

Having said all that, you did ask for suggestions, so I'll try and offer some
Pinot Noir / Nebbiolo - Try fumin from Valle d'Aosta. It's closely related to Nebbiolo but has a hint of Pinot Noir about it as well.
Bordeaux So many Bdx copies the world over, but it can be interesting to explore the minor Bdx varieties e.g. Malbec, Carmerere, Petit Verdot. Languedoc has plenty of wines I've not enjoyed, but there are some great wines and great value. Madiran and Cahors offer some similarities with Bdx, but often on a very bonier frame (that I do like).
Cali Cab I'm not the person to offer thoughts here, but others will be able to

In Portugal, I rather enjoy Beiras, Dao etc. towards the north, but you may prefer what is a surprisingly broad range of wines coming out of the Douro, belying its uniformly hot climate image.

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#8 Post by Howard Cooper » June 2nd, 2018, 11:32 am

One region in Italy where I have only had a few wines but have liked what I have tried is Taurasi. Rich wines, but with a bit of an earthy flavor and a lot of character.
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#9 Post by A. So » June 2nd, 2018, 12:26 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:One region in Italy where I have only had a few wines but have liked what I have tried is Taurasi. Rich wines, but with a bit of an earthy flavor and a lot of character.
+1. As far as big wines go, these are excellent.
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#10 Post by Ian Sutton » June 2nd, 2018, 2:06 pm

p.s. one additional thought. The above named Mr Crossley started a regular tasting group called 'Oddities'. the scope was intentionally vague, such that if you wanted to bring a wine from a well known region, but was unusual in some way, then that was fine. On the whole though, the wines were an incredibly eclectic bunch. The wines were all tasted blind, and on the occasion I joined them, I was 100% correct on the right planet the wine came from, but approximately (well exactly) 0% on country and grape. It took me back to those days when I knew little about wine, and gave me a good reminder that outside of my comfort zones, I'm not so far from those days!

So why not see if there are like-minded souls locally, and arrange such a tasting, with everyone bringing something unusual. It should make for a very convivial evening.
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#11 Post by Kelly Walker » June 2nd, 2018, 2:22 pm

Mencia from Ribiera Sacra & Valdeorros in Spain
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#12 Post by ky1em!ttskus » June 2nd, 2018, 2:46 pm

A. So wrote:
Howard Cooper wrote:One region in Italy where I have only had a few wines but have liked what I have tried is Taurasi. Rich wines, but with a bit of an earthy flavor and a lot of character.
+1. As far as big wines go, these are excellent.
Nice. Just dipped my toes into Taurasi a few weeks ago. More excited to try them now.

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#13 Post by joz€f p1nxten » June 2nd, 2018, 2:55 pm

Just drank a 2008 château pauque fossiles (100% pinot blanc) from Luxembourg. Very complex wine and although known a bit as a cult wine in wine circles in luxembourg and surrounding countries, this would definitely qualify as unusual wine from an unusual region.
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#14 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 2nd, 2018, 3:19 pm

While far from unusual, I feel like Priorat just doesn't get the love that it should. Yes, these are big wines, but they have acidity and tannins with a lot of rich, balanced fruit. Terroir Al Limit, Vall Llach, and Clos Mogador are my favorites on the higher end, while Scala Dei makes a really killer one for around $25 normally.

I'm also a fan of Sagrantino. I honestly don't know if the tannins will ever resolve, but, sometimes I just need a giant punch in the face. But, the grape can really bring about some haunting characteristics as it ages where I get some more potpourri and the violet notes become more pronounced.

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#15 Post by Markus S » June 2nd, 2018, 7:38 pm

I don't know, I feel everything is pretty mainstream these days since Internet media dissect things to death and it is hard to be undiscovered for more than several months. Like the Good Book says: there is nothing new under the sun. Just because it is new to you, doesn't mean it hasn't been around. Consider: mencia from Ribera Sacra. This was a region which began being planted by the Romans I believe, some what...1800 years ago? How is that "new" by any definition? Same with Priorat, planted in the 19th century and then found again in the 1980's.
Even New World areas have been around for a few hundred years now. There are just new characters with a wider selection of vines planting the same areas where the missions once made sacramental wines. Wine seeking will always lead you to places you haven't been, but always were, in a way like a kaleidoscopic time machine. Fascinating journey.
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#16 Post by Mike Evans » June 2nd, 2018, 8:04 pm

Here are just a few of the more eclectic wines I’ve enjoyed in recent years:

La Grange aux Belles Brise d’Aunis - A blend of Gamay and Pineau d’Aunis showing a lot of the celery seed character of Pineau d’Aunis

2013 Vinos La Zorra Sierra de Salamanca La Zorra - A delicious blend of Rufete and Tempranillo, Lots of pure purple fruit, some spice, and a little acidic zing, it is lively and fun and very good both as a quaffer and with food, it should satisfy both wine geeks and the non-obsessed alike, and the whimsical label is a perfect match for the whimsical wine in the bottle.

2013 Comando G La Bruja de Rozas - Tasty Garnacha.

Belluard - I really like the Gringet (still and sparkling) and Altesse, not cheap but excellent wines.

Forlorn Hope - Matt Rorick is making a lot of interesting wines. I love the Verdelho Que Saudade and Alvarelhão Suspiro Del Moro Silvaspoons Vineyard in particular.

Luis A. Rodriguez Vazquez Ribeiro Viña de Martin A Teixa - Treixadura (mostly), Godello, and Albariño.

Browsing the Chambers St website is a good place to get an idea of some of the interesting wines that are out there.

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#17 Post by Mark C » June 2nd, 2018, 9:38 pm

Mike Evans wrote: Belluard - I really like the Gringet (still and sparkling) and Altesse, not cheap but excellent wines.
YES. Really great with seafood.
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#18 Post by Wes Barton » June 2nd, 2018, 11:04 pm

There are plenty of great wine shops in SF and across the bay. We try all sorts of uncommon stuff, some bought at the recommendation of passionate staff at these places. There are so many fun, wonderful and novel wines available these days, especially from Italy. Top wine shop to visit should be Biondivino. We had an amazing Nero di Troia today, which I believe was a rec from SF Wine Trading Co. K&L has a lot of great such selections in the mix.

This Ruche is really good: https://www.klwines.com/p/i?i=1320275

K&L and a couple east bay shops carry Algueira wines, a wonderful producer from Ribeira Sacra. Try the Brancellao. https://www.klwines.com/Products/r?d=0& ... t=algueira If you can find it, their Merenzao is equally fantastic. That's the local name for Trousseau, and it's the best I've had.

Try the Heitz Grignolino. I haven't had the '15 yet, but the '14 blew the minds of everyone I poured it for: https://www.klwines.com/p/i?i=1345985

Another CA producer I highly recommend is Idlewild who special in Piemonte grapes. Maybe start with the Arneis. https://www.klwines.com/Products/r?d=0& ... t=idlewild

Keep an eye out for Lacrima di Morro d'Alba.
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#19 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 3rd, 2018, 12:31 am

I guess my taste is pretty eclectic because approximately 95% of the wines mentioned here are mainstream to me. :D

I guess they might be unusual to people who drink only Cali Cabs, Bordeaux and Burgundy, but they are far from the dark side of the wine world.

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#20 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 3rd, 2018, 6:06 am

Georgia (Republic of) is the area I am exploring most right now. One of the many things I like about the country is how wine drinking and making is so ingrained in their culture - along with hospitality, eating well, snging and dancing. So what seems exotic to us is normal and mainstream, including making wine in buried clay jars and hundreds of indigenous varieties.

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#21 Post by NoahR » June 3rd, 2018, 6:24 am

You have lots of options.

If you have not explored Swabia, you should. Spatburgunder/Pinot, Trollinger/Schiava and Riesling are the primary grapes. You should be able to find some Knauss, Beurer and Enderle&Moll though hip retailers.

If you like Loire, have you moved West to explore Muscadet?

If you have discovered Jura, have you looked into Pfifferling’s wines from Tavel?

Alsace and Austria are huge regions with excellent and historic producers. Riesling is a wide and deep rabbit hole to go down...
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#22 Post by Eric Ifune » June 3rd, 2018, 6:26 am

Portugal. Specifically Herdade do Mouchao from the Alentejo. Fantastic old school wine, but not at all rustic. Ages wonderfully. I'm looking for older vintages. The Dao, Quinta de Pellada and Saes. Both run by Mr. Crasto. The Carrosel blend is fantastic as is their Encruzado. In Barriada, both Luis Pato and his daughter Phillipa Pato. Both red and whites. And that's not talking about the Douro, Tejo, or Vinho Verde.

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#23 Post by NoahR » June 3rd, 2018, 6:27 am

Also, incredible wines from the South of Italy abound. Howard mentioned Taurasi, but Aglianico has many expressions, of which Taurasi is merely one. Would also explore Nerello and Negroamaro-based wines. Look at the wonderful wines of Sicily. Seek out Elena Fucci’s Titolo, just as a readily available example.
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#24 Post by AAgrawal » June 3rd, 2018, 8:54 am

Amazing suggestions, all. Thanks so much! I'll start to work through them slowly...
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#25 Post by Jim Cowan » June 3rd, 2018, 8:56 am

Ballard Canyon.

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#26 Post by Nicos Neocleous » June 3rd, 2018, 9:11 am

Wines from the paradise island of Cyprus. A bottle of 2014 Yiannoudi from Vouni Banayia that I drank about 2 weeks ago was enjoyable.
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#27 Post by James Wright » June 3rd, 2018, 9:39 am

Blaufränkisch from Burgenland or from Carnuntum
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#28 Post by Bruce Rudman » June 3rd, 2018, 9:59 am

While I wouldn't say I love it, my brother introduced me to Jura wines several years ago and I enjoy them on occasion. I think the specific appellation was Arbois.
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#29 Post by Howard Cooper » June 3rd, 2018, 10:01 am

Markus S wrote:Like the Good Book says: there is nothing new under the sun.

Does the Bible really say that? Wow!! Where. Seems horrible if it does.
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#30 Post by Markus S » June 3rd, 2018, 11:05 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
Markus S wrote:Like the Good Book says: there is nothing new under the sun.

Does the Bible really say that? Wow!! Where. Seems horrible if it does.
Yeah, I think it's in Ecclesiastes. Not really horrible if you think about it, merely stating that mankind really has nothing new up its sleeves. I find it akin to something I saw this week, that there are only 6 or 9 (can't remember exactly) plots in literature. We can keep saying something is different, but it really is a variation on a theme.
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#31 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 3rd, 2018, 11:22 am

ky1em!ttskus wrote:
A. So wrote:
Howard Cooper wrote:One region in Italy where I have only had a few wines but have liked what I have tried is Taurasi. Rich wines, but with a bit of an earthy flavor and a lot of character.
+1. As far as big wines go, these are excellent.
Nice. Just dipped my toes into Taurasi a few weeks ago. More excited to try them now.
Any recommendations? I've tried one, liked it, but just not familiar with the producers.

Back to the OP, I really love mature Colares. Incredibly unique wines.

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#32 Post by John Morris » June 3rd, 2018, 11:32 am

Doug Schulman wrote:Chateau Simone Palette Blanc -- weird, funky, super complex, very high quality in my opinion
+1

I'm not sure these are in the very top leagues of wine, but well worth exploring:
Kelly Walker wrote:Mencia from Ribiera Sacra & Valdeorros in Spain
+1 When you are in the mood for a light, very floral red.
RichardFlack wrote:Santorini Assyrtiko. But maybe that's mainstream now. Sigalas particularly good and fairly available. Try ageing a bit!
+1 I read recently that the vines on Santorini are all ungrafted; phylloxera never reached the island. I wonder if that helps explain the complexity of these wines.

To all of these, I would add:

* Whites from the Alto Adige in Italy -- German grapes such as riesling and Muller-Thurgau and Kerner.

* Nebbiolo from outside the Langhe, such as Gattinara. Somewhat lighter than Barolo and Barbaresco, but capable of great finesse.

* Narince (pronounced nah-rin-juh), a native white Turkish grape from the Aegean coast and islands that shows a lot of complexity and depth. Vinkara and Kavaklıdere make decent ones that are available in the U.S. Try to get the unoaked versions if you can. I think they're more distinctive.

* Kalecik Karasi (pronounced kah-leh-jik kah-rah-si), a native red Turkish grape grown around Ankara that can produce surprisingly light (for a hot climate) reds with almost pinot-like red fruit aromas. Again, Vinkara and Kavaklıdere are the ones you're likely to find here.
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#33 Post by Lee Short » June 3rd, 2018, 12:10 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:I guess my taste is pretty eclectic because approximately 95% of the wines mentioned here are mainstream to me. :D

I guess they might be unusual to people who drink only Cali Cabs, Bordeaux and Burgundy, but they are far from the dark side of the wine world.
That's exactly the problem I have in answering this question: what counts as unusual?

Nonetheless, I'll put forth the following:

Cerdon du Bugey
Alto-Adige Lagrein
Frappatto
Ribiera Sacra
red Chassagne-Montrachet
dry + sparking Furmint
Ribolla Gialla

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#34 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 3rd, 2018, 12:18 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:Any recommendations? I've tried one, liked it, but just not familiar with the producers.

Back to the OP, I really love mature Colares. Incredibly unique wines.
Mastroberardino, Caggiano and Perillo pop into my mind. And yes, old Colares wines are really something.
John Morris wrote:
Doug Schulman wrote:Chateau Simone Palette Blanc -- weird, funky, super complex, very high quality in my opinion
+1

I'm not sure these are in the very top leagues of wine, but well worth exploring:
Kelly Walker wrote:Mencia from Ribiera Sacra & Valdeorros in Spain
+1 When you are in the mood for a light, very floral red.
RichardFlack wrote:Santorini Assyrtiko. But maybe that's mainstream now. Sigalas particularly good and fairly available. Try ageing a bit!
+1 I read recently that the vines on Santorini are all ungrafted; phylloxera never reached the island. I wonder if that helps explain the complexity of these wines.

To all of these, I would add:

* Whites from the Alto Adige in Italy -- German grapes such as riesling and Muller-Thurgau and Kerner.

* Nebbiolo from outside the Langhe, such as Gattinara. Somewhat lighter than Barolo and Barbaresco, but capable of great finesse.

* Narince (pronounced nah-rin-juh), a native white Turkish grape from the Aegean coast and islands that shows a lot of complexity and depth. Vinkara and Kavaklıdere make decent ones that are available in the U.S. Try to get the unoaked versions if you can. I think they're more distinctive.

* Kalecik Karasi (pronounced kah-leh-jik kah-rah-si), a native red Turkish grape grown around Ankara that can produce surprisingly light (for a hot climate) reds with almost pinot-like red fruit aromas. Again, Vinkara and Kavaklıdere are the ones you're likely to find here.
Agree with all your suggestions here, great wines - although in my books Alto Adige wines or Piedmontese Nebbiolos are anything but unusual. :D Turkish grapes, on the other hand, are well within the boundaries of more eccentric wine suggestions. If I may add, also wines made from Papaskarasi grapes are worth exploring.
Lee Short wrote:That's exactly the problem I have in answering this question: what counts as unusual?

Nonetheless, I'll put forth the following:

Cerdon du Bugey
Alto-Adige Lagrein
Frappatto
Ribiera Sacra
red Chassagne-Montrachet
dry + sparking Furmint
Ribolla Gialla
Agree. As there's no definition of "unusual", it's rather entertaining to see how stuff you've drunk most of your vinous life is unusual to some. However, I'd agree that your list of wines is pretty much in the unusual end.

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#35 Post by M. Meer » June 3rd, 2018, 12:24 pm

Corsica has a nice expression of grenache (cannonau) and great rosés (Marquiliani, for one).
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What unusual wines/regions do you love?

#36 Post by AD Northup » June 3rd, 2018, 12:33 pm

+for Ribolla and Friulano from Collio and Slovenia
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What unusual wines/regions do you love?

#37 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 3rd, 2018, 12:39 pm

I actually started to think some unusual wines and regions for people who are interested in the more eccentric end of the wine world.

Some obvious and better-known examples:
- Aged Hunter Valley Sémillons (this is so well-known style that it really isn't even unusual, yet it's rather rare to see anybody drinking them nowadays)
- Chateau Musar
- Frank Cornelissen
- Jurancon wines
- Massandra
- Nicolas Joly
- Txakoli

Then on to the darker side:
- Aosta Valley wines
- Asturian wine
- Bugey and Savoie
- Carcavelos
- Carema
- Colares
- Dingac and Postup
- Fief-Vendéens
- Georgian wines made from other than Rkatsiteli or Saperavi grapes
- Japanese wines made from other than Koshu grapes
- Klevener de Heiligenstein
- Lorraine wines
- Morellino varietal wines
- Rosés des Riceys
- Schilcher and Schilchersekt
- Slovakian wines (Alibernet, Devín, Dunaj, Neronet, Palava and Slovakian Tokaj)
- Somlói whites (Juhfark, Furmint and Harslevelu)
- South African "port wines"
- Sparkling orange wines
- The red wines of Galicia
- The red wines of Santorini
- Turkish wines besides those made by Kavaklidere
- Wines from the Canary Isles

Truly random, not always worth exploring:
- African wines outside South Africa
- Baltic wines
- Chinese wines
- Nordic wines
- Russian wines
- Thai wines
- Wines from the Benelux countries

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#38 Post by AAgrawal » June 3rd, 2018, 1:31 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote: Back to the OP, I really love mature Colares. Incredibly unique wines.
How old is mature Colares? I see the currently released vintages are about 10 years old already.

Just another example of a wine I didn't even know existed...
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#39 Post by Eric Ifune » June 3rd, 2018, 2:46 pm

How old is mature Colares? I see the currently released vintages are about 10 years old already.
Lots from the 50's around. Even from the 1930's are not too hard to find and are drinking wonderfully. If you like Colares, you also might like Caves Sao Joao. They have wines from both the Dao and Bairrada (and even a blend of the two, although this is no longer allowed by the EU.)

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What unusual wines/regions do you love?

#40 Post by Mike Zimbric » June 3rd, 2018, 6:27 pm

One of the most distinctive and interesting (as well as delicious) wines I've had recently was a Schioppettino by Ronchi di Cialla, from Friuli.
Really beautiful and intriguing stuff, can age, and is great with Italian food. I must have had my nose in that glass for 45 minutes.

I've also enjoyed some wines from Corsica, and I've gone through about a half dozen bottles of Maestracci "e prove" red from 2014. Tasty, well-fruited, and with a touch of something herbal that you don't find from mainland France.

Finally, I'd also give a thumbs up to any wine from Chateau Simone. I've been fortunate enough to have a friend supply all 3 of them in one sitting (white, red, rose) and they are all delicious, balanced, and full of unique character.
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#41 Post by GregT » June 3rd, 2018, 7:28 pm

Just because it is new to you, doesn't mean it hasn't been around. Consider: mencia from Ribera Sacra. This was a region which began being planted by the Romans I believe, some what...1800 years ago? How is that "new" by any definition? Same with Priorat, planted in the 19th century and then found again in the 1980's.
I was going to post something similar yesterday but decided against it. People need to explore. I didn't know many places or any places until I started exploring, so I guess everything is new until it isn't. I wouldn't call any of the wines or places listed so far all that unusual though. They're unusual if you think in terms of Napa, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and perhaps Piedmont.

I'd be interested in GOOD wines from some places though, like say the entire subcontinent of India, where they are very interested in making wine but have yet to turn out something drinkable. China seems more likely to be able to pull it off, although I've only had a few from there. And you'd think that Georgia, which claims to have some of the oldest wine-producing antiquities, should be able to make something more interesting than they are making, but I think the politics is partly to blame. The only wines I've had from Egypt are from French grapes, so who knows what they're capable of if they made wines from some local varieties.
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What unusual wines/regions do you love?

#42 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 4th, 2018, 12:46 am

GregT wrote:And you'd think that Georgia, which claims to have some of the oldest wine-producing antiquities, should be able to make something more interesting than they are making, but I think the politics is partly to blame.
When you say "interesting", maybe you mean "good"? "Good" is a subjective term, so difficult to argue against, but I would disagree. Or perhaps you mean that you can't find interesting/good stuff in the West? Maybe true in your case, but I think that is more due to the economics of importing small production wines, and I really do not accept that Georgia should be MAKING more interesting stuff.

As an extreme example of an interesting wine, I returned from the country a few weeks ago with a bottle made from a blend of 4 "wild" grape varieties - where "wild" seems to mean domesticated varieties that were forgotten, so the grapes were picked from the few vines that have rediscovered in nature, and 580 bottles were made from the 2015 vintage. You will not find those grapes in any books. They are not even listed in the 500 or so indigenous grape varieties that Georgian's claim.

Why do you think politics is to blame? The invading Ottomans and Persians were not good for wine production, and the Soviet period was bad for Georgian wine, but that is now history. Although it still has some political problems, things have improved vastly in Georgia in the last decade or so, and I can think of no particular political issue that impacts on wine production.
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What unusual wines/regions do you love?

#43 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 4th, 2018, 12:57 am

GregT wrote:
Just because it is new to you, doesn't mean it hasn't been around. Consider: mencia from Ribera Sacra. This was a region which began being planted by the Romans I believe, some what...1800 years ago? How is that "new" by any definition? Same with Priorat, planted in the 19th century and then found again in the 1980's.
I was going to post something similar yesterday but decided against it. People need to explore. I didn't know many places or any places until I started exploring, so I guess everything is new until it isn't. I wouldn't call any of the wines or places listed so far all that unusual though. They're unusual if you think in terms of Napa, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and perhaps Piedmont.
Seconded. Although I wouldn't say Ribeira Sacra and other Galician regions are on par with Priorat. After all, anyone who knows anything about Spanish wine most likely knows about Priorat - after all, it's a region that's only one of the two DOCa appellations of Spain - and quite probably has also tasted them multiple times. Galician reds, on the other hand, are less known and less available anywhere outside Spain - whereas Priorat is probably the most likely appellation you're going to come across in a wine shop after Rioja and perhaps Ribera del Duero.
I'd be interested in GOOD wines from some places though, like say the entire subcontinent of India, where they are very interested in making wine but have yet to turn out something drinkable. China seems more likely to be able to pull it off, although I've only had a few from there. And you'd think that Georgia, which claims to have some of the oldest wine-producing antiquities, should be able to make something more interesting than they are making, but I think the politics is partly to blame. The only wines I've had from Egypt are from French grapes, so who knows what they're capable of if they made wines from some local varieties.
I've had some surprisingly serious and impressive wines from China, but I agree that most of the stuff they make is just super yawny-boring. On the other hand, I've found most of the Georgian wines that I've tasted very interesting and of high quality. Most of the are very unlike the "impressive" classic wines of the western world, but very interesting, fascinating and delicious wines all the same. I don't know what wines you've had, perhaps just wines from the bigger and less interesting producers?

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#44 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 4th, 2018, 7:00 am

Otto,

The reason I suggested Priorat is due to the fact that here in the states, it doesn’t get much love and I have seen more than a few Ribera Del Duero sections be up to twice the size of the Priorat section. This was certainly the case when I was doing retail at a major retailer a few years ago.

I also feel around these parts, Priorat gets slapped with the gloppy, over alcoholic, Parkerized label without people truly giving them a real go.

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#45 Post by Chris T. » June 4th, 2018, 7:10 am

Mike Evans wrote:Here are just a few of the more eclectic wines I’ve enjoyed in recent years:

La Grange aux Belles Brise d’Aunis - A blend of Gamay and Pineau d’Aunis showing a lot of the celery seed character of Pineau d’Aunis

2013 Vinos La Zorra Sierra de Salamanca La Zorra - A delicious blend of Rufete and Tempranillo, Lots of pure purple fruit, some spice, and a little acidic zing, it is lively and fun and very good both as a quaffer and with food, it should satisfy both wine geeks and the non-obsessed alike, and the whimsical label is a perfect match for the whimsical wine in the bottle.

2013 Comando G La Bruja de Rozas - Tasty Garnacha.

Belluard - I really like the Gringet (still and sparkling) and Altesse, not cheap but excellent wines.

Forlorn Hope - Matt Rorick is making a lot of interesting wines. I love the Verdelho Que Saudade and Alvarelhão Suspiro Del Moro Silvaspoons Vineyard in particular.

Luis A. Rodriguez Vazquez Ribeiro Viña de Martin A Teixa - Treixadura (mostly), Godello, and Albariño.

Browsing the Chambers St website is a good place to get an idea of some of the interesting wines that are out there.
+1 for Commando G. Start with their entry level rozas 1er Cru. Read about their story and then try some of their single vineyard stuff las umbrias or tumba del Rey
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What unusual wines/regions do you love?

#46 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 4th, 2018, 7:56 am

Keith A k e r s wrote:Otto,

The reason I suggested Priorat is due to the fact that here in the states, it doesn’t get much love and I have seen more than a few Ribera Del Duero sections be up to twice the size of the Priorat section. This was certainly the case when I was doing retail at a major retailer a few years ago.

I also feel around these parts, Priorat gets slapped with the gloppy, over alcoholic, Parkerized label without people truly giving them a real go.
I can believe that, but I really don't think that still makes it "unusual". For example, we really don't see much Napa Cab here, basically because their prices are ridiculous - even more so because of the customs duty that boosts the already high prices - but just because the wines don't get much love and are virtually unknown for the great majority of wine drinkers here, I really don't think that alone would make them "unusual". After all, Priorat is still one of the best-known appellations of Spain.

And although there are some truly tremendous Priorat wines with incredible finesse and remarkable minerality, I still think that all too often the Priorat wines one comes across are just over-alcoholic and too Parkerized.

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#47 Post by Markus S » June 4th, 2018, 8:07 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:...After all, Priorat is still one of the best-known appellations of Spain.
I always thought it was Rioja that was the best well known, followed by Sherry and Ribera del Duero, and others. I honestly don't see all that much Priorat around here.
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#48 Post by Keith A k e r s » June 4th, 2018, 8:26 am

Otto,

I never said Priorat is unusual though......

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#49 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 4th, 2018, 8:29 am

Markus S wrote:
Otto Forsberg wrote:...After all, Priorat is still one of the best-known appellations of Spain.
I always thought it was Rioja that was the best well known, followed by Sherry and Ribera del Duero, and others. I honestly don't see all that much Priorat around here.
I guess no-one is denying that Rioja is the best well-known region. Sherry used to be, but I guess apart from wine geeks, nobody drinks - maybe even knows - Sherry. Ribera del Duero and Priorat are more on less on par with each other as the second-most known appellation of Spain. For example in this part of the world both regions are well-known, Priorat perhaps even more so than Ribera del Duero.

In my books an "unusual" region is one that you really don't see much outside the region itself and very seldom outside the country where it comes from. Just because you don't see much Priorat where you live doesn't really make it unusual, just like Napa Cabs aren't unusual even though they are relatively rare here in the northern reaches of Europe.

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#50 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 4th, 2018, 8:31 am

Keith A k e r s wrote:Otto,

I never said Priorat is unusual though......
Oh, good point there! :D

Sorry about that.

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