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Top 10 Underrated Red Wine Grape Varieties

on 03/03/15 at 10:47 am


Cepa-País-1024x678-640x423-350x350As the encyclopaedic Wine Grapes reminds us, there are a staggering 1,368 wine grape varieties currently identified on this planet, with scope for still more to be discovered; yet only a handful have made it into the mainstream.

One might argue that from a marketing perspective the wine world is already impossibly fragmented, so why bamboozle consumers still more with obscure grapes? Then again, how many people a decade ago had heard of Prosecco? Likewise, the success of Grüner Veltliner should give hope to custodians of less easily pronouncable grapes. At a time when the wine world shows signs of moving towards greater homogenity, the argument for preserving these charismatic, local alternatives is more urgent than ever.

Last year’s IMW Symposium saw grape geneticist José Vouillamoz put forward his own list of grape varieties with the potential to emerge from obscurity. In the process he stressed the importance of preserving these little-known grapes as a “very important source of biodiversity“, noting that the best way to safeguard their future was to encourage people to drink the wine they produce.