Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#1 Post by Glenn P. »

I've become a creature of habit. I have been mostly buying, cellaring, and drinking the same varietals for decades. That's fine because I love my Bordeaux, Barolo, Super Tuscans, Cali Cab blends, Pinot Noir, Rioja, etc...the usual suspects. But there are thousands of grape varietals and I think it might be a good idea to start trying some lesser known wines. I'm thinking that these will be lower priced white and red wines that I will just buy and drink on a Tuesday night...not high end wines to put in the cellar. I just ordered a few Dolcettos and Barberas for this purpose. I'm hoping I get some responses here with some interesting recommendations.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#2 Post by Ian Dorin »

I drink a lot of Chenin Blanc at home. Not an extreme, but certainly something I find that I drink at least once a week, if not more.

Cab Franc is most typically blended, but I drink a lot of Loire Cab Franc too.

Semillon is another blending grape I love to drink on its own, and do it pretty frequently. I like a lot of the Aussie stuff since it's like 11% alcohol.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#3 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Arneis and Cortese are two whites that I really enjoy.

Check out Idlewild https://www.idlewildwines.com/
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#4 Post by maureen nelson »

Trousseau! Arnot-Roberts makes a good one but so do others.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#5 Post by Mattstolz »

maureen nelson wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 5:00 pm Trousseau! Arnot-Roberts makes a good one but so do others.
I love that wine. a red that I feel OK pairing with just about anything- fish to red meat.

OP already mentioned dolcetto and Barbara but Freisa as well! also in Italy, Frappato and nerello mascalese. I could drink Sicilian wine every day and be very happy.

also Aligote is getting better and better IMO. Chenin was already mentioned but always a good decision. Mouvedre and zinfandel are still under appreciated as well in my mind.

oh also whatever grape they use to make wine in the Canary Islands. that stuff is awesome.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#6 Post by Michael Martin »

Carignane, Grenache and Carmenere are all interesting wines that can be found at value pricing. I particularly enjoy Grenache. With a little digging you can find French, Spanish, US, Aussie and even old vine versions.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#7 Post by Chris C a r y »

Albariño, great with shellfish and a range of foods. I like drier versions. Lots of options from Rias Baixis and some new world choices.
Last edited by Chris C a r y on February 22nd, 2021, 7:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#8 Post by Rodrigo B »

A few recommendations:

Mouvedre- not “obscure” per se, but if it’s not in your repertoire it’s worth checking some out. Fellow Berserkers Hardy and Larry make great examples of it

For Dolcetto, if you haven’t tried San Fereolo’s Dogliani Superiore, do make sure to grab some. Great example of Dolcetto with some age.

+1 on David's recommendation of Cortese Ruth Lewandowski makes an an interesting skin-contact example of it

Scheurebe - underrated German varietal more people should drink

Silvaner- idem

Palomino/Sherry in general- Great, food friendly whites I think people ought to drink more of.

Malvasia whites from the Canary Islands

Touriga Nacional/Portuguese red blend- Tomas can probably chime in on here with better recommendations than I can, but some great, affordable, daily drinkers coming out of the Douro, Dao and other regions
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#9 Post by S teve R edenbaugh »

Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Carricante, Pinot Blanc, Cortese di Gavi, Traminer, Vernacccia, Tocai, Orvieto, Pecorino...and these are just the Italian white varietals.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#10 Post by Dan Kravitz »

This broken record would love to say 'Grk', but you can't find it in the US.

Big second for Semillon! Other whites you could look for include Godello and Torrontes (Godello from Spain, Torrontes from Spain and Argentina). From Greece, Athiri can be pretty good; Thrapsathiri can be better. I don't think Assyrtico can be considered uncommon.

I'm a well-known Carignan nut, but while it's more available than Grk, it's not easy to find as a labeled varietal.
From Greece, both Aghioritiko and Xynomavro qualify. Now please pronounce both names quickly and correctly...*
Cab Franc has already been mentioned and is gaining a market; so is Petit Verdot. Malbec was rescued from obscurity by Argentina. Carmenere, a Bordeaux grape prominent in Chile, has not yet gotten the same love. During a hiking vacation in Chilean Patagonia, I gorged on the stuff, there are some excellent wines for not much money.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#11 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Dan Petroski at Massican makes a couple of somewhat quirky blends focused on Italian white grapes. His Annia and Gemina blends are both worth exploring. I drink a lot of the Annia, which is a mix of tocai friuliano, ribolla gialla and chardonnay.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#12 Post by C. Mc Cart »

Tuesday night wines? You already mentioned Barbera which is almost always a great match with tomato based pasta's or pizza, etc.
Cool climate Gamay is often a go to for something like roast chicken or a burger.

On the white side - I say it to myself every time I open one that I should buy more - Soave - good Soave may not be super cheap, but if you find the basic Classico from Pieropan or Gini, always interesting and food friendly.
More obvious, less obscure - Austrian Riesling. Brundlemeyer or Wachau's entry level Rieslings are very good, their higher end bottles - really good.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#13 Post by Tom F. »

FYI, I think you meant grape varieties not varietals. A variety is a grape cultivar and varietal is an adjective describing a wine made entirely of one variety. This is basically the “there, their and they’re” of the wine world.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#14 Post by Jeremy Holmes »

Aligoté
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#15 Post by Tomás Costa »

Rodrigo B wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 6:52 pm Touriga Nacional/Portuguese red blend- Tomas can probably chime in on here with better recommendations than I can, but some great, affordable, daily drinkers coming out of the Douro, Dao and other regions
There are endless seas of them, but the problem is knowing what can be sourced in the US (assuming that is the aim of this thread). If I had to give a single suggestion it might be the Niepoort Rótulo Dão: delicious, on the transparent/AFWE side of things and should be sub-$15 in the US (Niepoort does great in the export market). For slightly juicier Dão I absolutely love the work Beatriz Cabral de Almeida is doing for Sogrape in Quinta dos Carvalhais, but in the US I can only find the Duque de Viseu, which is the cheapest wine in their line up. In the Douro you might go to the basic Quinta do Vallado in the same price range, some producers' second wines (Meandro from Quinta do Vale Meão, Post Scriptum from Prats and Symington, etc.), or the very large, affordable yet high quality lineup of Beyra wines from Rui Roboredo Madeira.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#16 Post by JBrochu »

Poulsard
Mencia
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#17 Post by larry schaffer »

I am just releasing my first Clairette Blanche - expect to see lots more being released over the next few years as well . . .
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#18 Post by RichardFlack »

Assyrtiko - I’d say it’s as uncommon, at least here in Canada, as many of the other nominations
(And +1 on many of the above suggestions ... Godello, Albariño, Aligote from good producers)
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#19 Post by Vince T »

Start with a berserker day pack from Sabelli-Frisch:
viewtopic.php?f=87&t=176431

Most of them qualify as uncommon - and every wine I’ve tried so far has been delicious. Grapes this year include:
Flame Tokay
Mission
Petit manseng
Tinto cao
Alicante bouschet

When you factor in the insanely low price, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#20 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng »

Gruner
Blaufrankisch
Zweigelt
Moschofilero

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#21 Post by Larry Link »


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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#22 Post by Brent C l a y t o n »

Ruche
Freisa
Lacrima di Morro d'Alba
Aglianico
Negramaro
Mondeuse
Fiano
Falanghina
Verdicchio
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#23 Post by Chris Seiber »

My #1 recommendation would be California grenache blanc. Curran and Tercero are so consistently good. Tablas Creek, Kinero and some others are good too.

They’re wines that will please your geek palate, but your relatives and neighbors will love them too. Good as cocktails and with food, good young but can age a medium amount.

If it sounds like I’m describing Loire chenin, it’s pretty well in the same bucket to me.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#24 Post by Wes Barton »

Such an open ended question. So many producers doing a great job with so many less common grapes. I'd suggest ordering a selection, tasting through them, and going from there. Some particular wines might really inspire what you want to explore next.

Idlewild is an excellent high quality, low priced producer. My introduction with them was Nebbiolo - one of the better made in CA, made in a ready to drink, transparent style. (He presses a little early, so it's not over-extracted.) Everything I've had from them is excellent. Plenty of single variety wines, but he's also a masterful blender.

If you point us to the website of one of your favorite retailers, we could suggest a selection of specific wines.

"Native Wine Grapes of Italy" by Ian d'Agata is a wonderful book that will inspire explorations.

A few particularly exciting grapes to me right now, off-hand: Touriga Nacional, Falanghina, Fiano, Gamay, Graciano, Sagrantino, Carricante, Nerello Mascalese, Cortese...
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#25 Post by lleichtman »

We drink many Alto Adige specialties like Lagrein and Schiava.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#26 Post by brodie thomson »

Nerello Mascalese Etna Rossos
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#27 Post by dougwilder »

Some notable examples from the Central Coast (with producer)
Ugni Blanc (Paix Sur Terre)
Counoise (Paix Sur Terre
Melon (Lieu Dit)
Cinsaut (Thacher)
Picardin ( Tablas Creek)
Bourboulenc (Tablas Creek)
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#28 Post by Laurent Gibet »

Mollard, persan, Ribeyrenc, Verdanel, Chatus, Genouillet, Terret, gringet, bouysselet, …

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#29 Post by LasseK »

Savagnin!
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#30 Post by Laurent Gibet »

LasseK wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 7:44 amSavagnin!
Savagnin often produces excellent wines in French Jura, Arbois and Côtes du Jura (sometimes combined with chardonnay).
Vin jaune and Château-Chalon can be tremendous !

Poulsard and Trousseau are worth tasting there (not only pinot noir).
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#31 Post by D@vid Bu3ker »

Idlewild just released their first ever Erbaluce.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#32 Post by RehbergK »

Tablas Creek seems to be a great place to start

Bourboulenc
Clairette Blanche
Counoise
Petit Manseng
Picardan
Picpoul Blanc
Tannat
Terret Noir
Vermentino
K E V I N

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#33 Post by Laurent Gibet »

Vin de France (Gaillac - Sud-Ouest) Plageoles Mauzac noir 2019 : 14/20 – 23/2/2021
12°. Robe assez pâle. Matière fluide, acidulée et « verte », rappelant par ses goûts nets (mais simples) la groseille et le poivre (du cépage gaillacois Duras ?).

Very unusual ...
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#34 Post by Mariano Chiaramonte »

Forlorn Hope is making quiet unusual and interesting wine in Sierra Foothills, CA, including some crazy blend for their "Queen of Sierra" product line (for example, the red is a blend of Zinfandel, Barbera, Tempranillo, Trousseau noir, and Mondeuse).
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#35 Post by Brian Curtis »

Harrington Wines have been making lovely wines from unusual varieties for years. Sadly, they are no longer making wine, but they are still selling wines. Check out their great offers here. You'll find Greco di Tufo, Malvasia, Sagrantino, Aglianico, and Muscat Canelli, among others.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#36 Post by Laurent Gibet »

D@vid Bu3ker wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 9:42 am Idlewild just released their first ever Erbaluce.
My best Erbaluce wines, at the domain in november 2015 :
Barbaglia Colline Novaresi Lucino 2013 : 15,5/20
Cépage erbaluce. Matière déterminée, florale, citronnée. Très dynamique (avec ses 5g de sucre résiduel), un goût salin, du caractère.

Barbaglia Colline Novaresi Curticella Caballi Regis Vino Spumante di Qualita Metodo Classico Brut Erbaluce: 15,5/20
54 mois sur lattes. 7g de S/R. Fruité, tonique, fin.

Barbaglia Colline Novaresi Curticella Caballi Regis Vino Spumante di Qualita Metodo Classico Brut Erbaluce : 16/20
60 mois sur lattes. Récolte 2008, dégorgé en 2014. Plus de complexité que dans la cuvée précédente. Pamplemousse, citron, apport tertiaire (cuir). Même dosage mais le moelleux du sucre est moins perceptible.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#37 Post by Phil T r o t t e r »

Teroldego was not mentioned I think. The base cuvée from Elisabetta Foradori is not expensive and quite enjoyable.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#38 Post by Noah C »

Uncommon grapes I would recommend: Cataratto, Xinomavro, Garganega (makes Soave). Soave from volcanic soils can be lovely. Pelaverga. Agree with the Canary Islands recommendation.

Widely available obvious picks that I would recommend: Portuguese reds, Zinfandel/Primitivo (often gets a bad name, but can be so so good), Beaujolais, Aglianico, Gruner, Txakoli.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#39 Post by dougwilder »

RehbergK wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 9:49 am Tablas Creek seems to be a great place to start

Bourboulenc
Clairette Blanche
Counoise
Petit Manseng
Picardan
Picpoul Blanc
Tannat
Terret Noir
Vermentino
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#40 Post by jtfriedman »

Mencia, anyone? Hits that medium-bodied weeknight red wine craving. Endlessly pairable.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#41 Post by Laurent Gibet »

jtfriedman wrote: February 24th, 2021, 12:30 pm Mencia, anyone? Hits that medium-bodied weeknight red wine craving. Endlessly pairable.
Mencia can be excellent in Bierzo (Castilla Y Leon) and Ribeira Sacra (Galicia).
Many possible expressions … more or less fresh, more or less complex.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#42 Post by TerryD »

One of my regular stops recommended a Fable, Pinot Meunier from Dommen vineyard RRV Sonoma. Shelf price 14.99. Finished on day two. Good stuff, tasted like a PN on some steroid program.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#43 Post by Eric Ifune »

Portugal has dozens if not hundreds of varieties. Don't forget the whites: Arinto, Bical, Alvarinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina (also known as Bual on Madeira), Maria Gomes are just a few.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#44 Post by Andrew Bair »

A few additions:

Kerner always seems get a bad rap among us German wine aficionados (although exceptions exist among older German wines), but it does quite well in Alto Adige. Abbazia di Novacella and Manni Nossing are both about $20.

Lyrarakis (not Ayrarakis; the first character is a lambda) in Crete makes some very interesting wines from lesser-known native grapes like Liatiko, Dafni, Vidiano, Plyto, and Vilana. I first discovered them in the mid-2000s when they were under $10, and they still typically sell for under $20.

Finally, I really like Roter Veltliner, but haven't seen much locally in recent years. Leth and Setzer have both made very nice, reasonably priced examples in the past.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#45 Post by simonjwoolf »

Eric Ifune wrote: February 24th, 2021, 2:58 pm Portugal has dozens if not hundreds of varieties. Don't forget the whites: Arinto, Bical, Alvarinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina (also known as Bual on Madeira), Maria Gomes are just a few.
Definitely in the hundreds! WIne Grapes listed 77, but I think that is quite incomplete and outdated (book was published 2012).

Some wonderful forgotten red varieties now gaining a bit more traction, such as Mourisco (aka Marufo) (in Douro). Ramisco (from Colares) is one of the more particular ones, I don't know any other red grape that has this briney, almost seaweedy tone (maybe doesn't sound so appealing, but in mature Colares it is insanely good)

Personally I'm also a Trincadeira lover - a spicy variety commonly found in Alentejo that really seems to retain freshness even in hot climates.
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#46 Post by JBrochu »

jtfriedman wrote: February 24th, 2021, 12:30 pm Mencia, anyone?
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#47 Post by Laurent Gibet »

VdF Domaine de Cressance (Pont du Gard - Uzès) Myriades rouge 2019 : 15/20 - august 2020
80% cépage chenanson. 20% syrah. Fait très syrah, assez fluide mais agréable.

Le chenanson est un croisement de grenache noir et de jurançon noir (un autre cépage rare, que l'on trouve à Fronton, Cahors).
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#48 Post by Dan Kravitz »

Chenancon, sorry I can't put the squiggle under the second 'c'.

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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#49 Post by jnbrown »

Petite Verdot
Counoise
Cinsault
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Re: Uncommon wine varietals for everyday drinking

#50 Post by PeterH »

Mariano Chiaramonte wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 10:14 am Forlorn Hope is making quiet unusual and interesting wine in Sierra Foothills, CA, including some crazy blend for their "Queen of Sierra" product line (for example, the red is a blend of Zinfandel, Barbera, Tempranillo, Trousseau noir, and Mondeuse).
https://www.forlornhopewines.com
Referencing another thread, Forlorn Hope make a St. Laurent.
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