Weird Grapes that Make Great Rosé Wine

Weird Grapes that Make Great Rosé Wine

There are over 10,000 grape varietals in the world that are used to make wine. The majority of people are only familiar with a few, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay come to mind.

Back in August, 2019, we discussed the “Noble Grape” varietals and gave a brief history. Wine Folly shared a list of the 18 varietals and provided tasting notes, also stating that they should be part of our American lexicon.

While there are only 18 Noble, the truth is that many of those 10,000 other varietals make beautiful wine. Unfortunately, nobody sees them, other than the people who make it and maybe a few neighbors. They just don’t get elevated to a commercially viable production volume that can be exported. If the winery does make enough, it has to fiercely compete for an importers attention to make room for it in the oh so limited number of shipping containers wandering around the globe. In other words, there has to be something very special about the wine. This week, at City Vino, we are looking to bring you some treats from the far corners of the world. These are really rare and beautiful wines trying to find a place on the American dinner table.

Chamlija Papaskarasi Rosé de Strandja Turkey 2019- The grape is Papaskaraski, which translates to “papa” or pope. It commemorates the Byzantine Papacy (AD 537-752) when the Pope resided in Constantinople. Turkey has a long history of viticulture, and at one time ranked 6th in the world’s production, most of which served Russia. Chamlija Winery is located high on the Strandja Massif, near where European Turkey meets Bulgaria. Mustafa Chamlija specializes in rare and ancient grape varieties, and believes each grape has its own language that deserves to be expressed.  The Chamlija is a bright, acidic, fragrant rose, with a complexity flavors; orange peel, dried strawberry, red berries. This Provence style is great for your summer salads, pulled pork, shellfish or just because you cut the grass.

Artesana Tannat Rosé Uruguay 2019- Uruguay has all of about 150 years’ worth of experience making wine, and is the current 4th largest producer in South America. CNN Travel, in March 2020, named Uruguay as the next great wine destination. In 1840, Pascual Harriague, a Frenchman from the Basque Country, moved to Salto, Uruguay to become a business partner in some venture. Along the way, he became interested in cultivating indigenous grapes, none of which became commercially viable. After consulting with Juan Jaurelgi, they came decided to plant Tannat which was a varietal grown in Juan's French home town. By 1888, Harriague was awarded the Medalla de Oro (gold medal) for his crops and silver medal for his Tannat wines at the Universal Exposition in Barcelona, Spain. 

Tannat is a deep color varietal and it produces a very deep color rose. Prominent flavors include red fruits, red cherry, cranberry, red currants (you would think this is describing a full on red). Picnic ideas for this wine include braised beef sandwiches with mushrooms, or pack your cheese-based pastas and risottos.

Stobi Rose Tikveš Macedonia 2020- Bouncing back to really Old-World wine territory of Macedonia, we bump into a wine that has Vranec and Rkatsiteli (along with more normal grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot). Of all the Grecian wine growing regions, the most known is, of course, Macedonia. Make sure you don’t confuse that area with North Macedonia, which is a completely different country, north of Greece. Rkatsiteli, which is a white wine, is thought to have originated in the Republic of Georgia, which is thought to be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) wine producing regions in the world. Rkatsiteli enjoys the Eastern European Mediterranean warm sun and migrated around to Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, North Macedonia, and Ukraine. Rkatsiteli brings acidity, with spice and florals.

Vranec, a red varietal, means strong, black, and powerful horse with strength, potency and success.  The wine proves equal to be the name. Originated from the Macedonia region, this varietal brings ripe red fruit aromas, structure, color and strawberry jam.

The Stobi Rose has floral and citrus aromas, with wild, pucker-y strawberry, raspberries and bright acidity. It is going to be great with your summer charcuterie boards with strong cheeses.

Isaac Fernandez Seleccion Bovale Rose Utiel-Requena Spain 2020- Bovale is the ancient Roman name for the grape Bobal, and in all actuality, we should be more familiar with the grape, since it is the 4th most grown grape in Spain behind Airén (what is Airén?), Tempranillo, and Granacha. Airén is a white variety that is mainly produced into distilled Brandy de Jerez. Bobal is a black grape variety that mainly grows on the east coast of Spain, in a wine region known as Utiel Requena. It is the most regionally planted grape, claiming over 70% of the plantings. The varietal can take some abuse and still produce quality wine. It is late budding, acid retaining, and heat tolerant.

Bubal is actually known better as a rose than for full on reds. The Bovale Rose exhibits big strawberry notes on the palate with raspberry, red cherry, passion fruit, wet stone, with a structured selenic minerality. A totally food friendly wine. Try it with orange chicken or grilled salmon.


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