Jason Wilson has an interesting Opinion piece in the Sunday New York Times; Why You Should Be Drinking Weird Wines.
Wilson does a nice job of highlight the growing resurgence of wine varietals which are rare, historical and locally associated. A number of which have become endangered in favor of more popular well known varietals.
"For years, the global wine industry had been devolving toward a monoculture, with local grape varieties ripped out in favor of more immediately profitable, mass-market types. There are 1,368 known wine grape varieties, but nearly 80 percent of the world’s wine is made from just 20 kinds of grapes. Many of the rest face extinction."
Wilson happily highlights a new trend making rare varietals successful once again. Some of the good aspects of this trend are curiosity, celebration of regional heritage and embracing new cultures. There is also a bit of wine-geek snobbery, but the trend of embracing rare varietals is a ultimately a win for everyone.
We love the massage of Wilson's piece, our only push back is his choice of the word "weird." We would kindly encourage him to substitute "rare," or "exotic," or "unfamiliar."
We are already seeing this trend with our distributors and brokers who are bringing in some delicious wines with varieties such as Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Vostilidi, and Moschatela as their backbone.
At the San Dimas Wine Shop, we enthusiastically included a French Picpoul, an Italian Pecorino and an Argentine Torrontes on our weekly tastings in May. Uncommon varieties like these are what sparked our passion for wine. They are off the beaten path and wonderful, a bit rare and for some unfamiliar. Many of you also embraced the opportunity to try them. More than a few of our tasters left with a bottle of something new!
Look for more of these unique varietals in the shop as we move into summer. The San Dimas Wine Shop will continue to be a part of Wilson's trend, a few exotic varietals at a time.