Ramon C wrote:I'll throw in Irouléguy wines from Pays Basque in France. Again, just repeating the caveat that the concept of unusual is relative.
In any case, I was impressed with these wines as they're abundant in minerality, combined with meaty/savory character and with some pebbly earth occasionally mixed in. And I'm just referring to the whites here. These are made from courbu, petit manseng and gros manseng grapes.
The reds are normally harshly tannic when young but they provide a whole new dimension and scope in understanding rusticity and regionalism....
Rimmerman offered an Irouléguy rosé a few years ago (Illaria) that was very interesting -- more tannic and less acidic than most rosés, and drank and aged more like a red. I can't recall what the grapes were.
Howard Cooper wrote:
As I said above, I have only had a few wines from Taurasi so far. The first wine I had was from Mastroberardino a few years ago. I liked it enough that I bought a few bottles that I am aging.
Mastroberardino can age. A bottle of the 1981 base Taurasi, drunk a few years ago, was plush, balanced, and youthful, although not particularly complex.
Steve Slatcher wrote:
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.
Steve, would you be willing to share any interesting Georgian finds? One of my local wine stores has an owner of Georgian descent who imports a number of wines from there, and perhaps could source others. I've tried two that a salesperson there recommended (sorry, can't now remember exactly what, as they were of course obscure to me), but neither particularly struck my fancy.
As to what counts as unusual, I might throw out field-blend wines from regions where almost everything else is a varietal bottling -- such as Deiss in Alsace or Bedrock in Sonoma -- these aren't obscure but stand out from their peers -- and both definitely go in a category that I seek out because of their difference.
Txakoli, previously mentioned, is also not that obscure to wine geeks at this point, but presents very differently from most other wines one would enjoy in the same setting, and in a way that makes a real difference to me.
Finally, although mostly made from familiar grapes that one would see in French wines, a number of Swiss wines that I tried on a trip through Basel-Stadt and Luzern a few years back offered very different interpretations of their respective varieties that were a real pleasure to try. I expect none of the wines I tried would count as all that unusual in Switzerland, but since they are not much exported, they were unusual to me.