The Esoteric Varieties case is a journey through unique, rare and esoteric grape varieties that are not to be found on the average supermarket shelf. Dive into these unsung heroes which truly represent local histories of place, palate, gastronomy and passion of the winemakers!
Includes x2 bottles of each:
2018 Guarda Rios Branco, Monte de Ravasqueira
2018 Passerina Bakán, Torri Cantine
2017 Bacchus, Kingscote Estate
2019 Piekenierskloof Pinotage, Marras
2018 Arômes Sauvage Alicante Bouschet, Château Viranel
2018 Langhe Freisa Cascina Sciulun, Franco Conterno
About the Wines
Guarda Rios Branco, Monte de Ravasqueira 2018
The only blend in this line-up, Guarda Rios is made up of 80% Antão Vaz and 20% Arinto. What better way to start this case than with a variety, in Antão Vaz, which was supposedly named after the grandfather of a Portuguese poet who wrote about disoveries! It is a thick skinned grape which copes well in the heat, and as such is grown primarily in the southern Portuguese wine-making region of Alentejo. It produces complex, well-structured wines with citrus fruit, tending towards the tropical with notes of mango. Arinto brings a lively, crisp freshness to the blend. Easy drinking summer lunchtime wine.
Passerina Bakán, Torri Cantine 2018
Passerina is an ancient variety grown almost exclusively in central Italy, and is named after passero, Italian for sparrow, which are know for their predilection for these grapes. Torri Cantine’s premium bottling shows aromas of pear and passion friut, long, mineral and gentle bittersweet finish.
Bacchus, Kingscote Estate 2017
West Sussex, England
It is serendipitous that the grape most associated with English wine is named after the Roman god of wine, associated with revelry and inebriation. But Bacchus originated as a crossing between Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner and Riesling, in Germany, specifically to cope in cooler climates. In the UK Bacchus shares certain characteristics with Sauvignon Blanc, bringing a racy citrus freshness, and herbacous aromas of coutryside hedgerow, particularly nettle and elderflower.
Piekenierskloof Pinotage, Marras 2019
Swartland, South Africa
Another crossing, this time between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, Pinotage is South Africa’s unique contribution to the ‘viniverse’. The result, perhaps surprisingly, is a dark grape producing deeply coloured and boldly fruited wine, especially in the well-drained, cooling heights of Piekenierskloof in the Citrusdal mountain range. Rose petal, cranberry and candy floss aromas, with a deeper red-fruited core and a spicy finish.
Arômes Sauvages Alicante-Bouschet, Château Viranel 2018
Alicante Bouschet is known for being one of the few black varieties to have red juice inside, with the resulting wine displaying a deep inky colour, and a nose brimming with pepper, black fruit, and ripe crushed thyme and fennel. Arômes Sauvages is from 70 year-old vines, grown on pebbly soils, showing all of the above notes plus dark chocolate, spices and wild herb characters, and a smooth, concentrated palate.
Langhe Freisa Cascina Sciulun, Franco Conterno 2018
Freisa is a variety autochthonous to Piedmont, particularly in Monferrato in the Langhe. It is a true Piemontese variety, related to Nebbiolo and showing all of the latter’s glorious tannic structure, while giving a softer, lighter flavour-profile of strawberries, raspberries and violets. A special mention for Franco Conterno who wonderfully and pugnaciously describe the colour of the wine as “grenade red”.
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