4 Rare Wines You've Never Heard Of

Wine is a versatile product that is great for gifts and parties, and adds spice to any get-together or celebration. Most adults have seen, heard of, or tasted wines such as Bordeaux, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Chardonnay—but what about those more obscure varietals you've only ready about on restaurant menus? Over 70 different countries produce bottled wine, meaning there are bound to be some styles out there you've yet to encounter. Study up on some less common wines and then try them yourself to find your new favorite.

Nascetta

Credit: Federico Moznich / Wikimedia

Discovered in the town of Novello, Italy, in the 19th century, the Nascetta has endured the test of time. Even when this fine white grape was passed over for the more abundant varietals, people eventually returned to the quality of this variety. The taste is a mix of crisp apple, citrus, and honey.

Nerello Mascalese

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This dark-skinned Nerello grape is found on the lower slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna on Sicily, the island in Italy. The volcanic soil and elevation of 3,280 feet gives the Nerello Mascalese a complexity without the extra weight found in many Sicilian red wines harvested from lower altitudes.

Dating back to 1880, the Nerello Mascalese is now having a huge upswing in popularity because of its fruity and tart flavor. The perfume fragrance will remind some of a Burgundy or maybe even a Barolo. In addition, the grape also makes an excellent rosé.

Ruchè

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In the town of Monferrato, Italy, a priest cultivated grapes on a small plot, which is used in the Ruché. Consumer interest in light- to medium-bodied reds fits the demand for those looking for a unique, nostalgic taste. The Ruché has a light color with a nice mixture of perfume. The tannins from the grape along with the acidity stimulate the palate. Tannins allow for the creation of complex aromas due to the maturation as well as the fermentation in oak barrels.

Bonarda

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The Bonarda grapes originated in France, and are widely grown among vineyards in Argentina and Napa Valley, California. The Bonarda is fruity with notes of plum, blueberry, and black cherry. It delivers a nuance of aromas that include five-spice, allspice, peonies, and violets. Most Bonardas are not oaked, but if they are, they have a sweet fig and chocolate note. Once on the palate, you can taste the fruitiness, acidity, and low-tannin qualities. Even though created to be on the lower end of the price spectrum, it does not taste that way. With the Bonarda, there are hints of fruit and spice, and it incorporates a leathery blend, which combines well with the aromatic complexity.

The essential component in wine is the flavor. Many people think that if they do not know the brand name of the wine, they are missing the taste. This is not true. Wine is about traction, and many lesser-known wines are equal to (if not better than) the more well-known ones.

Cover image credit: MarkSwallow / iStock

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