The World's Most Interesting Grape Varieties

Staff Writer
You've definitely never heard of these varietals before

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Our world of wine roughly breaks down into three distinct categories. The vast majority of wines are produced using a handful of international varieties that are produced around the globe. I don't know how much of the market these wines control, but I bet nine out of 10 bottles sold is not far from the truth. A second set of wines are well-known, and produced in significant quantities in specific regions, and these probably count for nine of the next 10 bottles sold, leaving about 1 percent of the market free for the final category of wines.

Here we find the oddballs and outcasts, the grapes that are so particular that you can only find them in this or that corner of the world. These are grapes that often get the cold shoulder from even knowledgeable wine drinkers, and not because they don't produce good wines. These grapes and the wines they produce are generally ignored because they are not easy to understand, and are often produced in ways that are designed to offer pleasure at the table rather than impress at some grand tasting event.

These wines aren't always big, and are rarely pointy, but they represent the diversity and patrimony of an entire industry. They are so important on so many levels that we must pay more attention to them. We have to save them, to help the wineries that are trying to stave off their extinction. These are wines that have no equal and no comparison. They are authentic, unique, and a part of the fabric of a culture that is receding out of view. They represent the true source of wine for so many, and today I'd like to take a look at a few.

Click here for more on these interesting grape varieties.

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— Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth