4 varieties that (maybe) you don’t know about and you shouldn’t miss

The vine is one of the most adaptable of plants and has considerable survival instincts. It adapts to different types of climate and soil, and has resisted devastating pests such as phylloxera.

So… It is not surprising that there are hundreds of vines of the species “vitis vinifera” all over the world. Yes, undoubtedly there are a lot of them, but… Shall we play a game?

How many grape varieties can you name in 5 seconds? (Masters of Wine please stay away!)

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc… You almost certainly chose one of these… right?

4 varieties that

Here we present 4 grape varieties that may not be amongst the most well-known but deserve to be featured in your life… and in your glass:

1. Godello

·    White Variety

·    Origin: Galicia

·    Main production Country/Region: Galicia (Spain)

Godello is part of the magic quartet of Galician white varieties along with Torrontés, Treixadura and the better known Albariño. (To learn more about the Galician wine scene we recommend this article recently published on our blog.

Godello in the glass

·    Wines of straw yellow color with greenish reflections that are expressive on the nose, including notes of ripe white fruit with subtle floral hints. Wines are fresh, balanced and full bodied.


2. Gamay

·    Red Variety

·    Origin: France

·    Main production Country/Region: Beaujolais, Burgundy

Gamay is to Beaujolais (Côte d’ Or, Burgundy) what love is to poets. Necessary, a whole, indivisible.

For instance, Gamay today represents almost 90 % of the area under vine in this renowned area of Burgundy, famous for its young wines. It’s an eternal teenager whose characteristics make it ideal for wines sold in the same year as they are harvested.

Gamay in the glass:

Very correct wines but not very complex although pleasant, with colors indicating youth (purple). Moderately high acidity, scarce tannin content and a very vivid sense of red fruits.

Although Gamay is typically used to produce young wines as we have seen before, aged versions can stand alongside aged Pinot Noirs produced in the same region, and may actually be confused on the nose and palate in a blind tasting….


3. Sémillon

·    White Variety

·    Origin: France

·    Main production Country/Region: Chile, France (Bordeaux), USA, New Zealand, Australia (Hunter Valley)

Many were those who used to think that wines made from this variety were vulgar, flabby and even dull… However, today and at its best, Sémillon can be compared with the finest Chardonnays in the world. In fact they share certain similarities, such as their potential for barrel aging.

In addition, sweet wines from the Bordeaux region of Sauternes glorify and elevate to the max the potential of this magnificent grape variety.

Sémillon in the glass:

If we focus on fortified wines, Semillon is sweet with lemony notes that over time are reminiscent of caramel.


4. Tannat

·    Red Variety

·    Origin: France

·    Main production Country/Region: Uruguay, France, Portugal

Sometimes it is said that this one’s from Uruguay, when the truth is it’s a French variety taken to the South American country in the nineteenth century…

Tannat in the glass:

·    The name of this variety does not lead to any deception… Tannat provides important tannic structure and firmness to its wines. With alcoholic strength and good acidity, Tannat produces wines with great aging potential, needed to tame its intense personality.

Well, this has been just a small insight into a world of grape varieties waiting to be discovered. In future installments and if your curiosity has not been satisfied, we will expand this catalog of illustrious and unknown “rarities”.


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