Rare Wine Varieties: Taste Them – James Melendez

When one thinks of rare varieties there might be an automatic assumption:

“They are rare for a reason”

Or rare varieties are assigned to the un-alluring “Esoteric” category.

But the history of wine grapes is complex and a story we do not fully know.

We know some relationships of the non-hybrid grapes but don’t have a full map of the relationship to one another.  If we had more knowledge and tagging where grapes descend from we might be understanding trade routes in Europe and even a greater historical perspective.

Wine grapes have been cultivated in spite of kingdom or government type or war–they moved on.  The reason is apparent.  Food and wine are needed even in spite of government type or political current or current affairs–somehow just somehow they survive–some more successful than others.

Some succeeded because of scent and flavour profiles and some just because they could withstand harsh or short growing cycles.  Pinot Noir succeeds in spite of the difficulty of cultivation and it’s very finickieness.  But if it wasn’t for it’s stellar and identifiable scent and flavour profile it might not have survived.

But I would also says some varieties became rarer because of geography or even that some wine grape varieties were not identified as such.   The Italian variety of Timorasso saved by Walter Massa in the 1980s from extinction.  For me it is an outstanding, distinct and superbly apt for food.  This is an elegant white wine from Piemonte specifically Colli Tortonesi.  This wine variety comes from a land known for it’s reds before it’s white wines–thicker skin with a longer time spent in maceration. A thick skin wine bold and yet fulfilling palate with elegance, nuance and beauty.


Malagouzia is a rare Greek white wine variety that too was saved from extinction in the 1970s.  Vassilis Logothetis, a professor of enology identified this grape and one of his students Vangelis Gerovassiliou and his eponymous winery Ktima Gerovassiliou has brought this to the world stage.  Malagouzia for me is an experience of spice, heirloom apple–a dance of the palate in the aromatic plane.


Embracing rare varieties ultimately means preserving them by finding engagement with people to find a new favourite red or white wine.  In doing so represents and opportunity to not just preserve but increase hectarage for wine grape cultivation of the rarer set.

I would like the variety to speak for itself versus a narrow set of varieties available to consumers.   I believe that all varieties have a place as there is a palate that has a desire to enjoy them.

I certainly recommend tasting a new or rarer variety; live outside of your comfort zone and try something new.

As much as I advocate for them–the power is in you tasting them.  Taste them–you’ll be excited to try something new.



James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

All brand copyrights are property of the producer.

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:





About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Rare Wine Varieties: Taste Them – James Melendez

  1. Pingback: Wine Blog Daily Tuesday 7/31/18 | Edible Arts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.