What the Geeks are Drinking

Esoteric wine making mainstream moves


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And finally here's my contribution: Perricone. Sicily has been on fire as of late with much of the attention due to the fabulous wines grown on Mount Etna from the Nerello grapes. While those are absolutely world class wines they are in danger of becoming mainstream, which means the geeks need to move on to the next great thing. For me that may very well be Perricone, which comes from the western side of Sicily, about as far from Mount Etna as one can get and yet remain on the island. There is very little perricone produced from fewer than 400 hectares of vineyard under cultivation but what I've tried has really intrigued me.

Perricone, which also goes by the name Pignatello, is said to be an offspring of Sangiovese though in a way I find that it has more similarities with Nebbiolo. It's not a particularly large scaled wine, though it is well structured with plenty of acidity and aggressive tannins supporting berry fruit that can be quite clear and precise or rather rich and powerful depending on the producer. Aromatically there are hints of violets and tobacco, and all to often toasty oak, all adding interest. Truth be told I have not had enough Perricone to really feel as though I have even a modest understanding of the grape, which is why it tops my list of grapes to geek out with this coming winter. Anybody want to follow my lead?

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  • My vote would also go to Frappato, specifically the wines of Ariana Occhipinti, but perhaps it is already "passé":) Cheers.

    Aug 20, 2013 at 10:07 AM

  • Snooth User: topherg3
    921880 75

    My current classic underrated region is Roussillon. I just returned from visiting and tasting old vine carignan and unique white varieties and great aged tawney like sweet wines.

    Aug 20, 2013 at 11:45 AM

  • Snooth User: Tintofino
    204897 1

    Nice write up. But another rising "geek" wine that should not be overlooked is dry Sherry, specifically the crisp pale ones served well-chilled, namely Finos and Manzanillas, but also the more oxidized amber colored ones served un-chilled, the Amontillados, Palo Cortados and Olorosos. Sherry Bars are a growing phenomenon in London, and now there's a new one in DC offering 54 Sherries!

    Aug 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM

  • We've just returned from the French wine region and Beaune and we were surprised to enjoy the Savigny. Let's keep our eyes open!.... Oh, and my glass could use a refill.

    Aug 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

  • Snooth User: mugwump718
    1299777 33

    So does this mean that Grenache has jumped the shark?

    Aug 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM

  • So many wines, so little time

    Aug 20, 2013 at 8:57 PM

  • Snooth User: Naglerrj
    1274141 1

    What, no Fermint from Hungary,

    Aug 22, 2013 at 10:17 PM

  • Snooth User: luca chevalier
    Hand of Snooth
    533661 2,535

    ...yes.... Savigny finally...

    Aug 24, 2013 at 6:15 AM

  • Snooth User: SM
    1097030 218

    A good list & sampling of some non-mainstream cultivars and regions; some ideas for us wine geeks to pursue.

    Here are a few of my own to add to this list: Furmint from Hungary, a great white varietal and worthy of seeking out; Blaufrankish a.k.a. Lemberger grown across Germany, Austria, Hungary and now even New York.

    It is a medium-bodied red and if you are fond of blackberries, red cherries & red currants this is a wine to check out.

    Here's a challenge for you: seek out Devin, a Slovakian cross between Roter Veltliner and Gewurztraimner; floral and fruity but dry and quite refreshing. I had a Devin and it was a Decanter Silver 2011; excellent and intriguing to say the least.


    Solomon Mengeu

    Aug 28, 2013 at 8:57 PM

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