If you’re like me, your wine consumption goes in phases. Maybe one month you drink a lot of chardonnay, another month pinot noir, maybe three or four months for rosé. But what happens when you’ve exhausted all the different styles and varietals? You want to drink wine, but no specific wine calls to you. Don’t worry! The world of wine is vast, and the odds that you’ve tried every type of wine is low. There are a ton of rare, little-known wines out there just waiting to be tasted! Some are rare because they are harder to make, others because their tastes only appeal to a niche group. But all are worth trying, especially if the better known varietals aren’t quite scratching your itch. Here are our personal favorite varieties of rare wine!
Common knowledge dictates that wine comes in two colors: red and white. But what about green wine? Vinho verde, a cheap and delicious wine from Portugal, isn’t actually named for its color. While it can appear pale green in hue, the ‘verde’ in vinho verde actually refers to the wine’s age. Vinho verde takes about three to six months to mature, much shorter than most wines. While there is no one grape that is used to make vinho verde, producers tend towards whites like arinto and azal. Vinho verde is typically more tart and fruity than its more mature counterparts, and often bears slight carbonation.
Mavrodaphne is a dark red wine from Greece, sometimes used by winemakers in the creation of fortified wines and ports. In its typical form, mavrodaphne is rich and sweet with notes of dark fruit and soft leather. Of the wines on this list mavrodaphne is one of the more rare, being produced in a very small area and with grapes that have relatively low yield.
Do you love the smell of pine needles? Have you ever wanted to drink them? Then retsina is the wine for you. Like mavrodaphne, retsina hails from greece, where it originated from the practice of sealing wine jars with pine resin. As such, retsina derives its unique flavor not from the grapes themselves, but from resin added in the winemaking process. Retsinas are almost always white wines, and are often paired with strong, garlicky snacks and dishes.
Mencia is an aromatic red wine similar to pinot noir, with notes of strawberry, cherry, and black licorice. It’s status as a rare wine is due to its limited production: Mencia is made only in the Iberian peninsula, in Spain and parts of Portugal. While it might be a little hard to find, it is a must-try for any red wine completionists!