Additional Lesser Known Red Grapes & Wines


Abbuoto is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Lazio region of central Italy. The grape is primarily used as a blending variety where it often contributes body, phenolics and high alcohol levels The Abbuoto vine tends to produces large dark colored berries with thick skins. Abbuoto is a permitted grape variety in several Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) regions including the Aprilia DOC where the grape can be produced as a varietal wine provided that the wine is composed of at least 95% of the grape.  Abbuoto is known under a variety of synonyms including Aboto and Cecubo. Piedirosso is believed to be a parent of Abbuoto.


Abrostine is a red grape variety originates from Italy The name means “wild vine”. This medium-ripening vine which produces a colorful, tannin-rich red wine that is also suitable as a Teinturier (colouring wine). It is cultivated in Tuscany, where it is permitted in the Montecarlo DOC wine.

Synonyms include Abrostalo, Abrostine, Abrostine Nero, Abrostino, Abrostolo, Abrostolo Forte, Abrusco Nero, Abrusco Nero di Toscana, Abrusio, Color, Colorino, Lambrusco and Raverusto.


Abrusco is an ancient red wine grape varietal planted mainly in the Tuscany region of Italy, where it plays a blending role in the traditional wines of Chianti. The grape is used to add a deep, dark red color to the traditional Tuscan wines. Abrusco is a rare varietal, being close to extinction on several occasions, and with only approximately 6 hectares of planted vines. Abrusco vines are noted for growing small dark, blue-black berries, which produce wines with a deep, dark color. Which lends itself as an ideal blending grape with other, less intensely colored skin varietals such as Sangiovese. As a varietal, Abrusco tends to produce well-structured wines with a spicy aroma and dark fruit flavors.

Baco Noir

Baco noir (pronounced BA-koh NWAHR) is a hybrid red wine grape variety produced by Francois Baco from a cross of Vitis vinifera var. Folle blanche, a French wine grape, and an unknown variety of Vitis riparia indigenous to North America.[1]

Oregon’s first Baco Noir vines were imported by Philippe Girardet in 1971 for his winery located in the Umpqua Valley.

This variety is also grown in certain parts of Colorado as vineyard area expands beyond the traditional AVA’s of Colorado and across the Front Range.


Bogazkere is a red wine grape variety indigenous to Turkey. Its name translates as “throat burner” in Turkish It is mainly found in the central area of Anatolia, and its harsh, tannic nature has seen it commonly likened to the Tannat. It’s small berries and thick skins ensure plentiful tannins, although varietal wines tend to lack significant color. Oak aging can help to tame some of the variety’s more rustic characters, as can blending with Gamay, Cinsault and the intensely-fruited Öküzgözü, another native Turkish variety. If made well, Bogazkere can offer drinkers an interesting experience: wines made from the variety have a complex aromatic profile, which includes dark forest fruits, pepper, cloves, tobacco and leather. It’s also called Serabi.


There are two distinct red Italian grape varities: Bovale sardo or Bovaleddu and Bovale di Spagna or Bovali mannu (Bovale grande). Together with Cannonau and Monica, it makes part of the blend for the preparation of wine DOC Mandrolisai. Also in conjunction with the Bovale di Spagna it is used for the DOC Campidano di Terralba or Terralba. The berry is black, medium, sub-oval with a thick, black, very waxy skin. Bovale vine is never vinified alone, but blended with other varieties in the area. Bovale Grande is similar or identical to Carignano, Bovale Sardo to Spain’s Graciano. Sardo is considered the better of the two. Highly tannic and acidic; can produce deeply colored wines. It is predominatly grown in Sardegna, Italy.

Cabernet Dorsa

Cabernet Dorsa is a red wine grape variety most often found in cool-climate winegrowing areas, well in Germany and Switzerland. Cabernet Dorsa is a crossing of Blaufränkisch and Dornfelder. Many tasters have found the vegetal notes of cool-climate Cabernet Sauvignon along with the lighter, cherry flavors of Dornfelder in Cabernet Dorsa wines. After fermentation, these wines take a long time to mature and barrel-aging will help this process. Small berries with thick skins mean that the wines have a naturally dark pigment, and Cabernet Dorsa is often used in blends to add color. Synonyms include: WE 71-817-92.Its hardiness and ability to survive cold temperatures has made it an obvious choice for these areas.

Food matches for Cabernet Dorsa include; Corned beef, Grilled bratwurst sausages with mustard and Braised beef short ribs


Callet is red wine grape variety grown on the island of Mallorca (Majorca), in the Balearic Islands off Spain’s Mediterranean coast. It is most commonly used in the production of rosé, where it is traditionally blended with the other indigenous varieties Fogoneu and Manto Negro. In more recent times, Callet has been used to make light-bodied red wines that may be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo or Syrah. Callet is a relatively late-ripening variety. It retains acidity whilst achieving phenolic ripeness, a boon in warmer Mediterranean climates.

Although Callet is deeply colored, it tends to be quite low in alcohol. Varietal Callet wines have soft tannins and sweet raspberry flavors, though they remain uncommon. Callet wine is rarely is it exported outside of Mallorca.

Recommended Food pairings for Callet include; Sobrassada (Mallorcan cured sausage), Chicken livers fried in butter and Mushroom roulade


Diolinoir is a red wine grape found most commonly in the Valais region of Switzerland. It is a crossing of Pinot Noir and a little-seen French variety called Rouge de Diolly. Diolinoir makes a full-bodied, well-structured wine with spicy and earthy notes.  Synonyms include: Dioli Noir, Pully 4-42.

Foca Karasi

Foca Karasi is a red grape variety (also Foca) originates from Turkey. The name means “Black of Foca”, a county in the province of Izmir on the Aegean coast. It yields aromatic red wines. It is cultivated in small quantities around Izmir

Grenache Gris

Grenache Gris is a pinkish-grey mutation of the red Grenache grape and is grown to a limited extent in the south of France. Little research has been conducted into the history of Grenache Gris and the variety remains in relative obscurity. It tends to appear in the vineyard only among other Grenache bush vines and is often indiscriminately blended into other wines. Like its family members Grenache and Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris is vigorous, resistant to drought and prefers warm, dry environments.

The wines tend to show apricot and stonefruit aromas with a full, sometimes oily palate. In this way they are similar to Viognier, minus the lavender and herbaceous notes that make Viognier so distinctive.

Gross Verdot

Gross Verdot is a red grape originally grown in Bordeaux, France. It has all but disappeared from Bordeaux but is still produced in small amounts in Chile, Argentina and in California.


Kallmet native to Albania also comes in both red and white varieties, but the red is more widely planted. It can mainly be found in the northwest of the country, where strong winds largely negate the need for pesticides. The red variety boasts marked acidity and smooth tannins, which make these wines good candidates for oak aging. Kallmet is also grown in Hungary, where it’s called Kadarka, as well as Bulgaria, where it’s referred to as Gamza.

Source: Samantha Maxwell Instagram @samseating


Kotsifali is a red Cretian grape. It is intensely aromatic and prone to high alcohol, but soft in tannins and acidity. Producers have found it works well with a more recent arrival, Syrah. Two PDOs in the center of Crete, Peza and Archanes blend Kotsifali and Mandilaria.


Liatiko is a forgotten red grape variety of Greece. Ungrafted, old-vine vineyards in the mountains gives you a lot of texture, and a lot of flavors and complexity in the wines. Liatiko tends to make a pale wine, prone to oxidation, and in the past producers might have worked the grape too hard to get a deeper color from the grape. The best examples today are unoaked and capture the freshness of the variety, resulting in wines that remind you of cru Beaujolais from Fleurie. You get the savory elements along with the fruit.


Mandilaria is Cretian red grape. It is deeply colored, acidic, enthusiastically tannic, and low in alcohol, struggling to reach 12.5% ABV in many vintages. Two PDOs in the center of Crete, Peza and Archanes blend Kotsifali and Mandilaria.

Mandilara has sought new partners on other islands, proving itself in blends with Mavrotragano on Santorini and with the white grape Monemvasia on Paros.


Manosquin  (aka Téoulier Noir) is a red grape variety originates from France. Synonyms are Grand Téoulier, Gros Téoulier, Manosquen, Manosquin, Petit Téoulier, Plant de Manosque, Plant Dufour, Teinturier Téoulier, Téoulier, Thuillier, Thuillier Noir and Trouillere. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2013, it originates from a presumably natural cross between Paugayen x Plant d’Entrechaux. It produces low-acid red wines with moderate alcohol content

Manto Negro

Manto negro is a red Spanish wine grape variety grown on the Balearic islands. Manto negro is almost exclusively found on the island of According to Manto negro tends to produce lightly colored, soft, light bodied red wines that are often high in alcohol. In Mallorca, the grape is often blended with lower-alcohol and more structured varieties such as Callet though in DOs such as Binissalem-Mallorca.

Manto negro imporves  with oak aging but can be prone to oxidation. Wines made from the grape are often meant to be consumed young and not intended for long cellar aging.

Manto negro has been known under a variety of synonyms including: Cabelis, Cabellis, Mantonegro, Mantuo negro.


Muscardin is a red grape variety primarily found in the southern part of the Rhône region of France. It is primarily noted for being one of the thirteen grape varieties permitted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. It is a very rare variety, and in 2004 only 0.4% of the appellation’s vineyards were planted with Muscardin.

The resulting red wines tends to have high acid levels, low alcohol, light tannic structure but can show attractive flowery aromas. The color is also lighter than most Rhone varieties and the wine is prone to the wine fault of oxidation.


Okuzgozu is a red grape variety native to Turkey and grown throughout the vast interior of the Anatolian region. Wine made from it are a bright ruby-colored with red fruit aromas of raspberries and cherries and well as hints of mint. The variety has an excellent acidity and fine tannins. Its name is said to refer to the resemblance of the large, fleshy berries to a bull’s eye. It has been compared to Pinot Noir. It is often blended with another Turkish native Boğazkere to form more powerful wines.

Recommended food pairings for Öküzgözü include; Hunkar Begendi (roasted eggplant puree with meat), Duck noodle soup and Doner kebab with lamb.


Rondinella is an Italian red-wine grape variety that most commonly appears in the blended wines of Valpolicella and Bardolino. Rarely grown outside the Veneto region, Rondinella’s key attribute is its prolific and reliable yields. However, this attribute rarely equates to good quality and, consequently, Rondinella is hardly ever produced as a varietal wine. Rather, it is used to add herbal flavors to Corvina-based wines and to flesh out the blend. Rondinella has thick skin that is resistant to rot and well suited to the appassimento method of drying grapes. Consequently, Rondinella is often used in Recioto and Amarone blends

Pinot Noir Précoce

Pinot Noir Précoce or, as it is called in parts of Germany, Frühburgunder is a red skinned, variety of wine grape and is a form or mutation of Pinot noir, which differs essentially by ripening earlier than normal (thus the use of the descriptive nomination ‘précoce’). There are those who consider it is simply an early ripening form of Pinot Noir, and in some cases, Pinot Noir Précoce wines may therefore be found straightforwardly labelled “Pinot noir”.

As it seems highly likely that Pinot Noir Précoce is simply a natural early ripening mutation of Pinot noir, it is extremely likely to have occurred and been selected and specially cultivated in many different Pinot growing regions (e.g., Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Loire, and throughout many older German vineyards) on many separate occasions throughout the long history of Pinot noir cultivation in Europe.

Wines from Pinot Noir Précoce are closely similar to, if not indistinguishable from, those of Pinot noir, and it is far from clear that anything distinguishes its wines other than oenological characters resulting from its early ripening (e.g., relatively fuller flavor development, lower acidity, and the like).


Schönburger is a grape variety of German origin that is now found most notably in the wines of southern England. It is a crossing of Pinot Noir and Pirovano 1 (itself a crossing of Chasselas Rosé and Muscat Hamburg) and was first cultivated in 1979. Since then, it has been producing light, grapey wines with delicate floral aromas and commercialised, more often than not, with a touch of residual sweetness.

The pink-skinned grape was, like many German crossings, created to provide winemakers with a disease-resistant, cold-hardy variety that would prosper in Germany’s cold climate. The result, Schönburger, is a thick-skinned


Albania grows both red and white Shesh, which are the Albania’s most widely cultivated grapes. Red Shesh, or Shesh i Zi, is known for producing dark ruby-colored wines with generous tannins that lend themselves well to aging. They tend to be full-bodied with notes of dark fruit like blueberry and blackberry. White Shesh, also known as Shesh i Bardhë, generally boasts a golden color and yields wines with notes of citrus and white flowers on the nose. Both the red and white varieties are mainly grown in northern and central Albania. When taking small yields, it can produce extremely good wine.

Source: Samantha Maxwell Instagram @samseating


Tintilia is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown in the Molise region of east-central Italy. A red wine made from the grape was classified as Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) in 2011. The DOC requirements are;

“Tintilia del Molise” Red wine:

  • Color: deep ruby red, with purple shades;
  • Smell: winey, intense, pleasant, peculiar;
  • Taste: dry, harmonious, soft, peculiar;
  • Minimum total alcoholic strength by volume: 11,50% vol.;

“Tintilia del Molise” Rosé wine:

  • Color: more or less deep pinkish;
  • Smell: lightly fruity;
  • Taste: asciutto, fresco, armonico, fruttato;
  • Minimum total alcoholic strength by volume: 11,50% vol.;

“Tintilia del Molise” Red Reserve wine:

  • Color: garnet red with orange shades;
  • Smell: spicy, intense, peculiar;
  • Taste: dry, harmonious, soft, peculiar;
  • Minimum total alcoholic strength by volume: 13,00% vol.;

Uva di Troia

Uva di Troia is an ancient red variety found in Puglia. The grape is named after the Puglian town of Troia, which (according to legend) was founded by Diomedes after the siege and sacking of ancient Troy. The variety also has a number of synonyms, including Nero di Troia and Sumarello. Uva di Troia tends to be low yielding, which has in part contributed to its steady decline over the years despite producing good-quality, full-bodied wines. Uva di Troia wines are generally dry with high-alcohol and moderate acidity. Uva di Troia wines good structure and tannins. Typical flavors include raspberry, cherry, dark forest fruits and plums through to licorice and spice.

Uva di Troia is permitted in a number of DOC quality wines, including Rosso Canosa, Rosso Di Cerignola, Orta Nova, Castel del Monte and Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera. Its most common blending partners are Bombino Nero, Montepulciano and Sangiovese.

Food pairings for Uva di Troia wines include: Fave e cicorie selvatiche (fava bean purée with wild chicory), Penne pasta with rabbit ragu and Grilled butterflied chicken with thyme


Vaccarèse is one of the rarest red grapes in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France at just over 10 acres planted. There is little more outside Chateauneuf, and almost none, elsewhere in the world. (Yes, some Californians are experimenting with it.)  Some feel it shows great potential, with lovely dark color and floral and herbal aromatics.


In the southwest of Albania, the red grape Vlosh is a particularly notable variety. Tukuli compares Vlosh to Italian Rossese (also known as Tibouren in France) or even Trepat from Catalunya. The wines will not have a lot of color, but nonetheless, you’ll have this light ruby, garnet [color]. The wines will be some of the lightest in all of Albania, but they do pack a lot of intensity, especially because of the soils. This is the oldest part of Albania where the soils are oceanic metamorphic rocks dating to the Middle Jurassic. Vlosh can produce a savory wine with notes of just-ripe wild Mediterranean red berries, black olives, and dried herbs, and they tend to be fresh and easy-drinking. These wines can be are quite outstanding.

Source: Samantha Maxwell Instagram @samseating