The world of wine is a rich and varied place, and for those looking to explore wines grown off the beaten track there is a huge selection to choose from. Some grape varieties have travelled far from their traditional home, while others can only be found in their own small corner of the world. These varieties often offer unique and interesting flavours for the adventurous and curious wine drinker. Equally, those making wines in areas of the world that have not previously been suited to specific varieties, or even wine itself, can also reward those who branch out.
As with people, wine comes from all different backgrounds and all over the world. Each is different in its own way. The esoteric grapes that are transferred to different regions or are only prominent in a small region are special and could be responsible for your next 'favourite' wine.
Listed below are Liberty Wines’ picks for esoteric wines from around the world. These all offer something a little different, or a little quirky, and are part of the reason we continue to search out new producers and to support those trying to do something new…
Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia (Dry White)
Grosset's Apiana is a blend of Fiano and Semillion grapes that are planted on hard, slate-like red rock with a poor orange/red loam for topsoil, and are situated on a north-eastern extreme of the Watervale at 460m altitude. The Fiano grape fits neatly into Grosset’s philosophy of biodiversity and complexity in the vineyard. The Sicilian variety has adapted well in Australia despite being a low yield grape. Other vineyards around the world are also succeeding with this grape, helping to bring it back from the brink of extinction.
"Displaying lime leaf, honeysuckle and white musk aromatics, it's the kind of vibrant perfume where smelling really is believing. Taut and tight with lemon and lime, a generous chunk of tangerine and cool steely breeze of acidity the whole way through, keeping it nervy. Fabulous."
Yeghegnadzor Valley, Armenia (Dry Red)
This is historically known as the most prestigious wine region in Armenia. Owner Zorik Gharibian's intention was to create a wine of the highest international quality. After searching for precisely the right location for this exciting project, along with three years of research and detailed analysis of every aspect of the region, he finally bought the land in Vayotz Dzor.
Modena, Emilia Romagna, Italy (Sparkling White)
The Pignoletto vines are cultivated on the hills between Modena and Bologna, at an altitude of between 100 and 250 metres above sea level, in optimum conditions to produce a white wine with a delicate nose and good structure.
"Focussed on making top quality Lambrusco, the Chiarli family do a wonderful job at making delicious fizz without compromising on quality. This blend of two local grapes is unusually chalky and minty on the nose but the palate is far more attractive with fresh apple and pear fruit pimped up with a touch of honeysuckle and lively bubbles."
Tasmania, Australia (Sparkling White)
For more than a decade, the House of Arras team has been identifying and developing the ideal vineyard sites for world class sparkling wine, which led them to call the ancient soils and cold climate of Tasmania home. Its climate is significantly cooler than the mainland, with long summer daylight and maritime influences, which are ideal conditions for long, slow and consistent fruit development.
"Made from a Tasmanian blend of 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir by fizzmeister Ed Carr, this Méthode Traditionelle fizz has spent 10 years on its lees in the bottle to produce a complex, stonkingly malty-rich aromatic nose and a full-flavoured mousse of rich malt and toasty flavours whose natural spine of acidity acts as a brake and counterpoint to all that explosive richness of flavour. The term late Disgorged (think B.ll.ng.r) is the key to where Ed Carr, and his complex fizz, is coming from."
Istria, Croatia (Dry White)
Vineyards are located at 250-300 metres above sea level and the soil composition is pseudogley on flysch. The area is characterised by a Mediterranean climate, with mild and rainy winters followed by dry, hot summers. It is Matošević’s goal to slowly cut off the use of any chemicals, by using minimal pesticides and no herbicides. Instead, mechanical cultivation inside the rows is applied as well as mulching between the rows.
"A selection of the best Malvazija Istarska grapes produced only in top years, this is an intensely fresh Istrian dry white from top producer Matošević, whose richly concentrated palate of stonefruit flavours is suffused with spice and salvaged by an incisive dry finish that works wonders with the sweet meat of shellfish and buttery fish sauces."