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Revitalizing Wine Traditions: Rediscovering Underrated Gems

Exploring the world of wine traditions uncovers a wealth of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike are venturing into new and exciting varietals, sparking a quiet revolution among underrated wines.

From the sun-drenched vineyards of Greece to the picturesque hills of Italy and beyond, these wines offer a window to the past while hinting at an intriguing future. The quest to rediscover these overlooked treasures has just begun, offering a fulfilling journey into the rich tapestry of vinicultural diversity and creativity.

Savatiano: Elevating Greece's White Wine

greek white wine excellence

Savatiano, a prevalent white wine grape variety in Greece, is currently undergoing a revival thanks to the expertise of winemakers around Athens. These dedicated individuals are not only enhancing its reputation but also highlighting its diverse array of flavors.

While Savatiano is commonly associated with Retsina, it offers a spectrum of tastes ranging from sweet green melon and green apple to hints of lime and floral notes. The unique terroir of the Athens region further enriches the vineyards where this grape flourishes.

Producers like Papagiannakos, Sokos, Mylonas, and Vassiliou are committed to crafting top-tier Savatiano wines, emphasizing its potential for excellence. By prioritizing quality and craftsmanship, Savatiano is shedding its past image and emerging as a white wine grape variety capable of producing exceptional wines deserving global recognition.

Lambrusco: Redefining Italian Sparkling Wines

Lambrusco, a traditional Italian sparkling wine, has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Producers have been working diligently to reshape its image and highlight its true potential.

Historically known for its reputation as a cheap, sweet fizzy wine, Lambrusco is now being crafted in dry styles that bring out the natural fruity and floral characteristics of the grapes. Cleto Chiarli, a prominent producer, is leading the way by introducing new interpretations of Lambrusco to the US market, showcasing the diversity of the 15 unique grape varieties found in Emilia-Romagna.

Varieties like Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa, and Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce offer distinct flavor profiles that appeal to both traditional wine enthusiasts and modern palates. This revitalization of Lambrusco demonstrates its potential to be a sophisticated and versatile choice in the realm of Italian sparkling wines.

Carignan: Resurging Old Vine Potential

old vines regain prominence

Old vineyards are experiencing a revival, bringing Carignan into the spotlight as a grape variety with immense untapped potential in winemaking. Once underestimated, Carignan is now gaining well-deserved recognition for its ability to craft high-quality wines with distinct characteristics.

  1. Rich Historical Roots: Carignan boasts a lengthy history, particularly in regions like Languedoc-Roussillon, Sardinia, and Spain, where it holds a prominent position in the realm of wine production.
  2. Intense Flavor Profile: With old vines, Carignan produces concentrated grapes that give rise to deep, candied red fruit flavors. This attribute makes it an excellent choice for crafting wines of complexity and rich taste.
  3. Diverse Regional Presence: Carignan vineyards are scattered across various regions, with Spain standing out for its utilization of the grape in Priorat wines. This showcases the grape's adaptability to different terroirs and its versatility in winemaking practices.

Pinotage: Unlocking South Africa's Gem

Delving into South Africa's rich wine heritage, one cannot ignore the allure of Pinotage waiting to be uncovered in the picturesque vineyards of the Tulbagh region. This grape variety, a cross between Cinsault and Pinot Noir, was first created in 1925.

While initially facing winemaking challenges, Pinotage has steadily improved in quality over the years. Rijks, a prominent winemaker in Tulbagh, has played a pivotal role in highlighting the potential of Pinotage wines. The Pinotage Association actively promotes high-quality production and emphasizes the aging ability of this grape.

As winemakers continue to innovate and refine their methods, Pinotage is gaining recognition as a premium wine with impressive aging potential.

Underrated Wine Revival: Global Perspectives

wine resurgence around globe

In the realm of wine appreciation, there is a growing interest in rediscovering overlooked wine traditions from around the world. This resurgence is shining a light on hidden treasures that have been overshadowed for too long, bringing fresh perspectives to the wine industry.

Let's explore three intriguing examples:

  1. Savatiano from Greece: Near Athens, winemakers are transforming Savatiano, Greece's most widely planted white grape variety, moving beyond its traditional association with Retsina. With notes of sweet green melon and lime, Savatiano is gaining acclaim for its quality and distinctive characteristics.
  2. Lambrusco from Italy: In Emilia-Romagna, producers are crafting dry variations of Lambrusco, departing from its reputation for being a cheap, sweet sparkling wine. Varieties such as Lambrusco di Sorbara and Lambrusco Grasparossa now highlight the grape's natural fruity and floral profile, offering a new perspective on this Italian classic.
  3. Carignan from Various Regions: Once underestimated, old Carignan vines in areas like Languedoc-Roussillon and Spain are yielding concentrated grapes with rich, candied red fruit flavors. This showcases the grape's potential for creating exceptional wines that stand out for their quality and character.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does the Terroir of Athens Impact the Flavor Profile of Savatiano Wines?

The unique terroir of Athens plays a significant role in shaping the flavor profile of Savatiano wines. It infuses these wines with hints of sweet green melon, green apple, lime, and delicate floral undertones, creating a distinctive character that sets them apart. The backdrop of the Athens region contributes to the special charm and appeal of Savatiano wines, making them a true reflection of the local environment and craftsmanship.

What Are the Key Characteristics of Lambrusco Di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa, and Lambrusco Salamino Di Santa Croce?

Lambrusco di Sorbara showcases delicate hints of red berries and floral notes, while Lambrusco Grasparossa offers a more intense flavor profile with dark fruit and spice. On the other hand, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce presents a well-balanced combination of fruity sweetness and refreshing acidity. Each type of Lambrusco brings its own unique characteristics to the table, catering to different taste preferences and occasions.

Why Is Carignan Gaining Recognition for Its Quality in Old Vineyards?

Carignan is now receiving well-deserved recognition for the exceptional quality of its grapes from old vineyards. These mature vines produce concentrated grapes that result in rich, candied red fruit flavors. Once overlooked, Carignan is now revealing its full potential in regions like Languedoc-Roussillon, Sardinia, and Spain, where it shines as a standout variety.

What Are the Key Challenges That Initially Hindered the Success of Pinotage Wines?

Initially, Pinotage wines faced challenges due to winemaking complexities and perceptions of lower quality. Over time, producers and the Pinotage Association have taken proactive steps to improve quality, showcasing the grape's aging potential and its value as a premium wine.

How Is the Pinotage Association Promoting the Aging Potential of Pinotage Wines?

The Pinotage Association raises awareness about the aging potential of Pinotage through education and advocacy. By showcasing well-aged examples and highlighting the grape's evolution, they aim to change perceptions and emphasize Pinotage's ability to produce high-quality wines that can age gracefully.


In the wine world, lesser-known gems like Savatiano, Lambrusco, Carignan, and Pinotage are gaining recognition for their distinct characteristics and great potential.

These underrated wines are making a comeback, adding to a global trend of reviving traditional winemaking practices.

Just like a hidden treasure that shines after being polished, these wines are proving to be valuable discoveries worth exploring and enjoying.