Survey Respondents on the Rare and Unusual

Note: Many of these selections are only brought to American shores in microscopic quantities, if at all, so don’t get disappointed when they’re not in your local shop. Your best for tracking them down is to perform an Internet search (e.g., Google or or work with a good wine merchant. –Mark

Pirramimma’s Petit Verdot [a red-wine grape typically used in small amounts to add flavor to the Bordeaux blend; a rarity as a stand-alone varietal, it makes big, rich, peppery wine].
Delia Viader, winery owner

Rosé from Corsica
(Domaine Peraldi)
“Every year, I spend the summer vacation in Corsica. My holiday wine, that I have every day, is the Domaine Peraldi. This rosé wine is the product of the magnificent wine hills that overlook the town of Ajaccio. The Domaine Peraldi is mostly made out of sciarello, a native Corsica vine.”
Claude Taittinger

Antinori’s Aleatico
“A unique dessert wine made from [red] Aleatico grape in Central Italy : delicious fruit, finesse and charm. I find it simply irresistible…”
Rémi Krug

Cotes de St Mont [red table wine from the Gers area of Gascony in southwest France]
“Simple, round and tasty, perfect for picnics.”
Jean-Michel Cazes, Owner, Chateau Lynch-Bages

Madiran [dark, rich red wine from southwest France, very close to Cotes de St Mont]
Paul Henderson, restaurateur

Irouléguy [rosé and light red wine from the Basque country of far southwest France, along the Spanish border]
Georges Duboeuf

Lubéron [primarily red and rosé wine from around Provence in Southern France]
Morley Safer, 60 Minutes

Orin Swift Cellars “The Prisoner” [from Napa, a blend of Zinfandel and four other grapes]

Sonora Winery’s “Quinta da Sonora” [a dry red using Portuguese grapes grown in California’s Sierra Foothills]
Peter Granoff, wine merchant and Master Sommelier

Brachetto d’Acqui
“A unique sparkling red wine that garners attention for its sweetness and red color yet its crisp acidity. Starts sweet but finishes dry and goes wonderfully with chocolate and berries or simply as an aperitif. A great conversation piece so I love to serve to guests
Cristina Mariani-May, Owner, Castello Banfi

Scheurebe [a rare white grape/wine from Germany]
“[I drink all of it] I can lay hands on.”
Terry Theise, importer

Somewhat easier to find:

Portugese red wine
* Quinta do Crasto, “Teresa” or “Ponte” cuvees [Crasto is a high-quality estate making rich, spicy, oaky red wine as well as Port]
“The soul of the Douro valley.”
Jean-Michel Cazes, Owner, Chateau Lynch-Bages

* (Quinta de Roriz’s Prazo de Roriz)
“A delicious fruity young red that will go with anything.”
Rupert Symington, Managing Director, Symington Port Companies

Carmenère [a delicious Merlot-like grape once popular in 19th century Bordeaux and is now the rage in Chile; try Concha y Toro, Viña Carmen, and Viña Agustinos; note: it is fairly easy to source]
“The uniqueness of the variety and the volume and softness of the wine.”
Álvaro Espinoza, winemaker, Haras de Pirque

Languedoc-Roussillon (the up-and-coming “value region” of southern France)
* (e.g., Domaine Deshenrys’ Abbaye Sylva Plana “La Closeraie” [a big, soft, spicy red from the Faugères district of the Langedoc])
“Inexpensive but very pleasing quaffers”
Don Quattlebaum, importer

* (Domaine de Trevallon [full-bodied comprised of a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon])
Francois Perrin

Chenin Blanc-based wines from the Loire Valley – Savennières and Vouvray
“These are such great food wines, and their flavors really reflect the huge. chunky limestone soils their grapes grow in. The minerality is never-ending! I love high acid and little to no oak treatment, and these wines usually offer both. And the sweet wines are rarely cloying, a great balance between acid and sugar.”
Heather Willens, importer

Manzanilla [a dry Spanish sherry]
(Xavier Hidalgo)
“To start a meal – [I recall] a glass of Manzanilla in August on the bank of the Guadalquvir River in Andalucia served with grilled fish.”
Jean-Guillaume Prats, CEO, Chateau Cos-d’Estournel

* “I remember Mazanilla drunk in Sevilla near the Plaza de Toros with a group of good friends. It was blond, fine, elegant subtle but powerful with a wonderful fragrance”
Didier Depond, President, Champagne Salon

Madeira [fortified wine from Portugal’s Madeira island – often has a burnt caramel taste]
* (e.g., Barbeito, Blandy’s, Leacock’s)
“The notion of an elixir comes to mind when I think of drinking Madeira. It is a world class wine that has such an interesting history, discovered by accident. It is in danger of becoming extinct as Resort hotels are taking over the vineyards on the volcanic island of Madeira. It lasts forever after opening. I always feel better when I drink some.”
Karen King, wine director, Gramercy Tavern

* “Always unique, mysterious, intense: an unforgettable experience!”
Rémi Krug, owner, Champagne Krug

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