The world of wines begins with some 8-10 grapes and most wine list comprise of these because they are global and move off the shelf easily. However, because of the brand value these grapes carry, they automatically command a price which may necessarily not offer value. As a wine enthusiast it is advisable to look beyond to broaden your wine horizon and also save money as the lesser known varieties can offer super value. Here are a 10 not so known grape varieties that are available in India. Sante!
Hailing from Sicily this is the main hero in Etna DOC wines made 800 meters above sea level on volcanic soils. It produces a very lean and crisp wine with green fruits notes. Mt Etna is still an active volcano by the way which make this wine even more interesting.
Caricante brands in India: Scalunera Etna Bianco
Hailing from Sardinia; Italy, the Vermentino is quite an aromatic grape variety and offers refreshing notes of pears and citrus with floral undertones. It’s also called Rolle in France and brings out very value driven wines from South-eastern France.
Vermentino brands in India: Marius by Chapoutier, France, Bibi Graetz Casamatta, Italy, Metal, Australia.
The Austrian specialty with bracing acidity, the GruVee is a wine meant for ageing. A high yielding variety it can be spicy & peppery or can be laden with stone fruits depending from where it comes from. It accounts for over 28% of Austrian wine acreage.
Gruner Veltliner brands in India: Domaene Gobelsburg, Weingut Jurtschitsch
Albarino in Spain or Alvarinho in Portugal is a grape known to produce wines with refreshing acidity and citrus notes with some stone fruit and tropical melon creeping in with ripeness. The grape is also a part of Vinho Verde blends from Portugal.
Albarino brands in India: Bodegas Paco & Lola from Rias Baixas; Spain
The most famous white grape from Salta, Argentina. This is one is very perfumed with balanced acidity couple with stone fruit notes. Indian palates will love this.
Torrontes brands in India: Crios, Zuccardi Santa Julia
This north eastern Italian grape make is the main hero in the world-famous blends of Valpolicella and Bardolino. It can also be available as a 100% with a very good potential to age. It makes light to medium bodied wines with refreshing acidity, red fruit notes with cherry lingering. It is the same grape used to make our favourite Amarone Della Valpolicella.
Corvina brands in India: Zenato, Tedeschi, Zonin, Folonari, Pasqua, Tenuta Saint Antonio
A thin-skinned paradox which requires a lot of sun to ripen to give out a lot of lovely strawberry and red fruit noted but the acidity gets it caught on the wrong side, it’s low. Thus Grenache in most cases is a blend with Syrah for the balance and also GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends . The classic region for Grenache is southern Rhone, Priorat in Spain where it is called Garnacha and now Australia too, mainly Barossa is getting very popular.
Garnacha brands in India :
Rhone and South West France Blends: Famille Perrin, M Chapoutier, Daronton, Le Grand Noir GSM.
Spain: Prima by Bodegas Maurodos, Castello De Monseran
Australia & India: Rolfbinder;Oz, Source by Sula Grenache Rose, Chapel Hill 100% Grenache; Oz,
Monastrell in Spain or Mourvedre in France is a grape which yields a full-bodied red with black fruit, spices and herbs. It can see oak and makes wine which are a mouthful. It is the ‘M’ in the GSM blends.
Monastrell brands in India: Eco Bodegas Fuerza; Spain, Fairview Caldera GSM,
This Italian grape is the 2nd largest varietal planted in Italy. It yields medium bodied red wines which are black fruit driven with sweet spice and supple tannins. The most famous Montepulciano wines come from Abruzzo.
Montepulciano brands in India: Sirente, Folonari, Pasqua,
Lush black fruit, licorice and the ripeness is alluring in this Sicilian variety which is not as known. It makes medium to full bodied fruit driven wines. Surprisingly we also have an Indian version of Nero D’Avola made in India by Reveilo wines.
Nero D’Avola brands in India: Donnafugata Sedara, Pieno Sud