Lesser Known Grapes
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin

‘A- Z- Learn About Wine’ – Obscure Grapes & Lesser Known Wine Regions – Part 2

The sequel, part two, are they ever as good as the original? The Godfather Part 2, Terminator 2, Lethal Weapon 2 & of course Die Hard 2 in my opinion are a few great examples. I am sure you have your favourites too!

This month, part 2 of ‘Lesser known grapes’ featuring the letters I – P is a fascinating tale where we uncover, disclose and discover even more about the complex world of wine. Grab your popcorn or cheese & charcuterie and of course a glass of wine and keep on reading….

I – Indigenous grapes, loosely describes grapes that are native to a particular region or country and rarely seen outside of that area. Italy alone, has hundreds of local grape varieties such as; Aglianico, Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and even one called Monica! All over the world you will find grapes that thrive in little pockets tucked away waiting to be discovered. Have you heard of Gruner Veltliner from Austria, Torrontes from Argentina or Pinotage from South Africa? There is even a grape called Daphne from Greece! These and many more indigenous grapes are all worth seeking out. A particular favourite of mine is ‘Piano del Cerro’ Aglianico del Vulture from Italy, a rich full bodied wine with dark berry fruit, it is complex with lots of layers and hints of spice, it needs decanting and ideally served with rich robust beef or stew. With so many grapes to explore, I would also recommend a visit to a good wine bar; Ely Wine Bars or Olesya’s have an extensive selection of wines served by the glass that will tantalise your taste buds. Or take a trip to your local independent wine shop, they should be able to guide you in the direction of some fantastic hidden gems.

J – Jumilla is my new favourite undiscovered wine region of Spain, they mainly produce wines using the Monastrell grape (AKA Mourvedre). I tasted Juan Gil, Monastrell, Jumilla wine at the launch of Spanish wine week last month in Tapas de Lola (PS In my opinion the best authentic tapas in Ireland) I was with a Spanish friend who wholeheartedly agreed! The wine was an absolute joy to drink, soft and rich, with lots of deep plum flavours it is exceptionally good value and paired beautifully with the tapas, cured meats and olives we enjoyed.

KKimmeridgian clay, where wine is concerned it is probably the most famous and important soil type in the world. Have you heard of the term ‘terroir’? Well, it is described as ‘The complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate’. This is why Kimmeridgian soil is considered an extremely vital element in the growing of vines in the Chablis region. It is found in only a few other places in the world; mainly parts of Champagne, Burgundy & The Loire Valley. I love the award winning wine producer La Chablisienne their ‘La Pierelée Chablis’ is gorgeous. It is grown on Kimmeridgian clay, 100% unoaked Chardonnay. It is a fresh, crisp wine with delicate aromas of apple and citrus notes, on the palate it is clean and refreshing with subtle hints of minerality with a really long finish. Ideal for any occasion and pairs beautifully with white meat & fish.

L – Learn, I am still constantly learning about wine, despite having a WSET Diploma in wines and spirits. I am intrigued that there is always something more to read up on; new wine making techniques, vines being discovered and of course current wine trends. If you are curious to learn more about the mysterious world of wine – I have a new masterclass coming up soon. ‘Discover Hidden Gems’ is a social wine tasting evening where we focus on ‘lesser known’ grape varieties and regions. If you are stuck in a wine rut, always choosing the same grapes & styles this might be exactly what you have been waiting for. I guide the intimate group through a tasting of up to 10 wines and we enjoy finger food platters. The evening promises to be good craic, fun, entertaining and informative. For more information read below.

MMadeira is a fortified wine made on the island of Madeira. It can be made in a few different styles ranging from dry to very rich and sweet depending on the grape variety used. After adding neutral grape spirit to fortify the wine, it is transferred into heating tanks, over a period of three months the wine is heated to a temperature of 40-50֯ Celcius, oxidising it at the same time. For the wine geeks this process is called ‘estufagem’. The most impressive range that I have come across is in The Celtic Whiskey shop, Dawson Street. I would recommend ‘Barbeito Malvasia Old Reserve 10 Year Old’, a sweet wine with stone fruit, honey and nutty notes, pair with hard or blue cheese or dark chocolate. Unlike most wine, Madeira doesn’t go off once open and can remain fresh in your cupboard for years!

N – Nero D’avola a red grape found in the island of Sicily. Very few grapevines are able to tolerate the arid heat of the island of Sicily, luckily Nero D’Avola flourishes here. It is occasionally described as having a similar profile to the Syrah grape with bold and rich dark ripe berry with hints of spice. One of the best value and crowd pleasing ones I have enjoyed is Mandrarossa Nero D’Avola, a delightful wine with soft silky tannins and a rich full body. Delcious with BBQ meats or rich casseroles.

OOrange wine, nope it is not wine made from oranges! It is a style of wine that has reappeared in recent times. Generally, white wine is made by gently pressing grapes and the grape juice runs free, any colour is from aging in oak barrels. Orange wine is made, similar to red wine by leaving the grape skins and seeds in contact with the grape juice. This allows the wine to take on an orange tint as well as complexities, tannins and sometimes bitter notes. While I haven’t found any that I love. I would recommend giving Orange wine a try, although it is an acquired taste, the closest way I can describe it is- it’s like a strong iced tea!

P – Pinot Blanc is a superbly versatile grape from the Alsace wine region in North- east France. I asked Alsace wine expert Frankie Cooke for his view on Sipp Mack’s Pinot Blanc which is one of my favourites.
‘The Sipp Mack Pinot Blanc is an accessible, fruity, easy-drinking wine that is great for sipping on its own (pun intended) yet pairs well with a wide variety of dishes. This organic wine actually consists of 30% true Pinot Blanc and 70% Auxerrois, a local grape which is closely related to Pinot Blanc, but is slightly softer and has more

So there you have it, if you liked the sound of that and would like to try more fantastic
wines from Alsace, be sure to check out the #BigAlsaceTasting that Frankie is organising. Celebrate Alsace Wine Week in Ely Bar & Grill, Chq on Wednesday 22 nd May. For more details click below.


I hope you have enjoyed this feature and are open to exploring some new and exciting grapes and wine styles. As always I would love to hear your thoughts and views and if you get a chance to try any of my recommendation or anything else exciting please let me know. Part three coming soon to The Taste.ie near you!

Love Lynda x

List of stockists:

Piano del Cerro Aglianico
Stockists; 64 Wine, Baggot Street Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Donnybrook Fair Leopardstown Inn, Martins, O’Briens Wine Off Licence, Red Island Wine, Redmonds, Searsons, Sweeneys, The Corkscrew, The Vintry
Approx. Price €32.00

Juan Gils Monstroll Jumilla
Stockists:  Blackrock Cellar, Fresh Stores, Leopardstown Inn, Mortons of Galway, The Vintry, Dublin 6 Worldwide Wines, Waterford.
Approx. Price €16.00

La Chablisienne ‘La Pierrelee
Stockists; Ely/64 Wines; CoachHouse Ballinteer; Gibney’s Malahide, Martins Fairview, Thomas’s Foxrock, The Vinty Rathgar
Approx. Price €25.00

Barbeito Malvasia Madeira –
Stockists; The Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dublin 2 and good independent wine merchants
Approx. Price €39.99

Mandrarossa Nero D’Avola –
Stockists; Baggot Street Wines, The Grape Vine, Morton’s Ranelagh, DrinkStore Stoneybatter, McHughs Malahide Rd
Approx. Price €16.00

Sipp Mack AC Alsace Pinot Blanc –
Stockists; 1601 Off Licence, Fresh Grand Canal Quay, Smithfield & IFSC, Lilac Wines, Mitchell & Son Glasthule, CHQ, Avoca Kilmacanogue & Avoca Dunboyne
Approx. Price €18.00

Wine Tasting Ireland presents – Discover Hidden Gems Wine Tasting
Experience – Saturday 18th May The Central Hotel, Dublin 2 – 7.00pm – 9.30pm. Only €59.00

For more information or to book click here.


Spanish Wines Hi, I am Lynda Coogan owner of Wine Tasting Ireland, I am delighted to be part of The Taste team where I can passionately share my love and knowledge of wine with you. I hold a WSET Diploma in wine, I have ten years’ experience in the wine trade and I am a member of the Guild of Sommeliers. Wine Tasting Ireland, specialises in hosting fun, interactive wine tastings for groups.

I believe that by going back to basics, wine can be appreciated by everyone, a little knowledge goes a long way! We come to you, bring all that’s needed to set up a unique, bespoke wine tasting event in your offices, your home or any venue. They are ideal for team building at work, a social gathering or a special occasion. I would love to hear from you, so please get in touch.


Wine Tasting Ireland

 Receive regular updates, special offers, reviews, competitions and much more..