Tasting Rare Wines

The Path Less Taken – Our Search for Rare Wines

Winemaker with Grapes

Winemaker in the Vineyard

If you are looking for notes on a particular Varietal, scroll to the bottom of this page to see if we’ve got a blog post on it.

When you wine taste every other weekend on average, it can get pretty easy to fall into a rut. There is an ocean of Chardonnay, a river of Cabernet Sauvignon and a veritable flood of Zinfandel in California. Now I know that wine tasting three or four times per month doesn’t sound like a particularly burdensome cross to bear (it’s not…trust me), but it can leave you wanting something different, hence the name of this series of posts. It’s easy to stay on the main road drinking the same old thing, but occasionally taking the dusty side path can lead to some interesting locations, or in this case, some rare wines…Teroldego anyone? How about a crisp glass of Picpoul Blanc? Do you often get a craving for Counoise? Of course you don’t, but that doesn’t mean that these hard to find wines are any less worthwhile than the tried and true standards. So why dedicate a whole wine blog section to Varietals many people haven’t discovered, can’t readily get and have no idea what they taste like? Other than having no life outside of this site (sad but true of late), it can be tough to come up with blog post ideas and educating our readers about other worthwhile wines, falls squarely within our self appointed charter (wow didn’t that sound pompous?). There are a host of Varietals that are made in the US that just don’t get the press that they deserve. For those of you who are regular readers of our blog, you know we have a soft spot for Albarino. We find it much more interesting than Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc (don’t get me started on Sauvignon Blanc), two of the more popular white wines. If you like refreshing white wines and haven’t had Albarino, stop reading now and go to a wine store and buy a bottle. That’s right…grab your car keys and go find a bottle now unless you have already been drinking. Get a DD if you’ve been drinking. Consider it homework. Then come back and finish reading this post with a new appreciation of a truly great white wine. How about Petite Verdot? It really doesn’t have anything in common with Albarino other than it’s a wine that most people haven’t heard of – but they should have. The odds are that if you’ve had lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ve had Petite Verdot because it’s often used in small quantities to give Cabernet more depth. Yep…I said it. To give Cabernet Sauvignon more depth if you can believe it. It’s almost always used for blending but it makes a stunning big, inky wine that can make even the biggest Cabs look like Kool-Aid.

So here’s to the underdogs of wine – those that have been unfairly cast aside in favor of “more of the same”. Many are made only because it’s a labor of love for the wine maker and perhaps that’s the story. If the winemaker has a passion for a rare Varietal, odds are that its a compelling tale and probably a great glass of wine as well, so do yourself a favor and give one a try. Who knows? You may never go back to the same old thing again.

Tasting Tannat at Tobin James



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