Lesser-Known Wine Varieties

assyrtiko wine


For the past year, Dr. Erol Onel has been providing scientific leadership to Heron Therapeutics, Inc., as its vice president. He previously served as the vice president of medical information and clinical research at Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Outside of work, Dr. Erol Onel enjoys discovering unique food and wine pairings.

Many people are familiar with merlot, chardonnay, and other common wine varieties. However, there are also several lesser-known varieties of comparable quality. Below are a few examples:

Assyrtiko. This type of white wine comes from the island of Santorini in Greece and is developed using the unique Assyrtiko grape. These grapes grow in volcanic soil and provide the wine with a mineral, dry taste. Assyrtiko pairs well with light seafood and shellfish.

– Mencia. A mild red wine, mencia comes from northwestern Spain. It has frequently been compared to cabernet franc; however, this variety is particularly rare. The vines that produce mencia grapes are notoriously finicky and often have low yields.

– Picpoul. Featuring a high acidity, picpoul is typically grown in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region and divided into three varieties: picpoul noir, picpoul gris, and picpoul blanc. Picpoul blanc grapes are nearing extinction, and the other two varieties may follow suit due to their propensity for developing a certain type of fungus.

– Petit manseng. Despite originally being from France and Spain, petit manseng has found a home in Virginia. This grape is often harvested late in the season and produces a complex, acidic wine that features flowery flavors and a spicy aftertaste.

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