British Columbia

Check out these wines made from obscure grape varieties

Never heard of these grape varieties? It's okay: On The Coast wine columnist Barbara Philip says she learns about new varieties all the time.

Barbara Philip gives her picks for wines with unusual grape varieties

Maréchal Foch grapes growing in B.C. The grape is a hybrid variety with both European and North American parents. (lostintheredwoods/Flickr)

Wine lovers may know "classic" grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay as well as the major Italian and Spanish varieties.

But On The Coast Master of Wine Barbara Philip says there are many obscure varieties to discover as well: varieties from Eastern Europe, North American hybrids and the hundreds of lesser-known Italian ones.

"Even those of us who work in the wine business are constantly learning of grape varieties that we have never heard of before," she told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

Here are some of Philip's picks for wine made from lesser-known grapes.

Lovico. Gamza. Bulgaria. $9.99

"Gamza  — or Kadarka — is a popular variety in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania that makes soft and approachable wines. The Lovico is tremendously good value with red fruits, spice and integrated tannins."

Casale del Giglio. Cesanese. Lazio. 2013. Italy. $23.99

"The Cesanese is indigenous to southern Italy and the Casale del Giglio is one of the top examples. It has crunchy cherry fruit and floral aromas with juicy acidity and fine tannins. A wine like this has endless food pairing possibilities but I would try matching it with something simple like a pasta with a spicy tomato sauce."

Unsworth Vineyards. Sauvignette. Cowichan Valley. 2015. $23.00

"I don't know of any other Sauvignette planted in the world, so be prepared for something totally unusual! Chris Turyk, from Unsworth Vineyards, is excited about this white hybrid variety that is aromatic, exotic and grows well in the Cowichan climate. Try it with your favourite B.C. goat's cheese."

Monte Creek Ranch. Foch. 2015. $18.49

"Monte Creek is just east of Kamloops in one of B.C.'s emerging wine regions. The grape is Maréchal Foch, a hybrid variety with both European and North American parents. It was bred to resist cold temperatures, disease and to ripen early which is why it can grow in the south Thompson Valley. The nose has aromas of smoke and roasted nuts and the palate is full of ripe boysenberry fruit and flowers."

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast