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asturias, chile, dão, itata, portugal, slovenia, spain -

In a wine world dominated by the same grape varieties made in more or less the same way, it’s always exciting to discover something different. More unusual, esoteric varieties are often connected to the history of a region, made by experimental mavericks, and stand out for the individuality of the wines. Take, for instance, Fran Ascencio and his Urogallo winery (named after a spectacular looking local bird) in Asturias in northern Spain. Asturias is a cool, wet, beautiful region, between Basque Country and Galicia, rising from the Atlantic Ocean into the Cantabrian mountains. It’s most famous for its cider as...

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albariño, arinto, bical, california, dão, douro, encruzado, godello, portugal, rías baixas, ribeiro, vinho verde -

Over the last 30 years, wine has become increasingly homogeneous. Walk into any store, whether a supermarket or an independent retailer, and you'll find rows of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. For the general consumer, there are clear advantages: familiarity, consistency, and quality. However, it doesn't encourage experimentation, which is a great pity as there are so many opportunities to try something new or different. As anyone will know who owns the mammoth Wine Grapes book, co-edited by Jancis Robinson, there are well over 1,300 distinct grape varieties, which gives an idea of the possibilities in producing many different...

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