Wine n’ About | How many of these unusual red grape varieties do you know?
Articles , Wine n' Culture
How many of these unusual red grape varieties do you know?

The so-called ‘international’ varieties such as Cabernet SauvignonMerlot, and Pinot Noir can be found in abundance, from some of the cheapest supermarket wines to the most expensive wines in the world.

But what if you want to try something new and under the radar?

Here are five unusual red grape varieties worth tracking down if you’re the adventurous sort. How many have you tried?


Vox Populi, Bobal 2013

Utiel-Requena, west of Valencia, is arid and hot. This gives the Bobal grapes muscle and intensity. Redcurrant and blackberry aromas show immediately that this is not a subtle wine. Ripe, juicy black blue and red fruits jostle for position in the mouth and provide a constant wave of sensations. A soft texture belies the underlying structure. This would be fantastic with some grilled meat.

Alc 13%
Taster: James Button


Roches Sèches, Les Essards Noirs 2014

Jura is enjoying a surge in popularity, thanks in part to the new horizons on offer from the unusual grape varieties grown here and the minimalist, traditional winemaking. Roches Sèches ferments whole bunches of low yielding, 50 year old Grolleau vines (certified organic) and crushes by foot.

The result is a wine with dense black cherry fruit, violet and menthol aromas. It has a strikingly juicy and intense palate of black cherry and strawberry, before layers of dark chocolate, liquorice and fragrant cedar wood come into play. The tannins remain in the background, allowing the fruit to shine. Long and elegant, it has a moreish finish. Only 800 bottles made.

Taster: James Button
Alc: 12.5%


Domaine Pignier, Trousseau 2015

Pignier’s vines have been certified biodynamic since 2003, and this attention to their health is not lost in the winery. Hand sorted and destemmed, the Trousseau grapes are fermented with wild yeasts, aged in oak for 12 months and bottled, unfiltered and with minimal suplphur dioxide, according to the phase of the moon. The wine has a light nose of cranberry and raspberry. Spicy and fresh on the palate, it has a Pinot character of red fruit, game and a vibrant acidity. This is an elegant wine ideal for pairing with duck or cheese.

Taster: James Button
Alc: 13.5%


Bouchon Family Wines, País Salvaje 2016

Made from the wild País grapes that grow all around the vineyards, climbing trees and vegetation to a height of up to five metres. 50% underwent carbonic fermentation, with the other half being fermented normally using wild yeasts. The wine was aged in concrete tanks and then bottled unfiltered. It has spicy cherry and raspberry aromas with some cream notes, while the palate is lean and edgy, with black and red cherry fruit. Quite a juicy style with some spice and a good acidity.

Taster: James Button
Alc: 12%