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Excerpted from The New York Times, 12 Wine Grapes Worth Discovering, by Eric Asimov, March 24, 2017:

“In the distant, cobwebbed past of the early 1980s, when I was first learning about wine, the choices were not so different from what they had been 100 years before.

Within the sparse selections that passed for restaurant wine lists back then, you would find, depending on the food, Bordeaux and Burgundy, Champagne and sherry, or Chiantis and a few other Italian wines. Californian bottles were there, too, as the state emerged from the thrall of the “burgundy” and “chablis” jug wine era. Anything else was conveniently lumped together as “other.”

The exponential change in the past 35 years has been astounding. Even as recently as 2000, a wine like grüner veltliner was unknown in the United States. Now, this Austrian white is a staple in many restaurants across the country, something to embrace if facing a list of newer and still obscure bottles.

In the wine world, obscurity’s meaning can change quickly. In 2012, I wrote about a dozen esoteric grapes that were worth seeking out. That list included assyrtiko from Santorini and frappato from Sicily. Five years later, these grapes, if not yet household words, are at least firmly established.

The choices continue to expand. Here are 12 more little-known, sometimes very rare, grapes worth getting to know, in alphabetical order. Who knows? One or two may be old hat by 2020. 


Encruzado This rare grape accounts for some of the best white wines from the Dão region of northern Portugal, a country far better known for reds. In the hands of good producers like Quinta do Perdigão, Casa de Mouraz and Quinta das Marias, encruzado makes an herbal, earthy, tangy wine, with an intriguing bitter note that lingers. It is refreshing, surprisingly flavorful and well worth trying.”

Check out the full article here.