What’s the most underrated grape?


“I’m enthusiastic about lots of weird and wonderful grape varieties but if was I sticking to the mainstream, the grape I think is most underrated is Chenin Blanc. I can’t think of another grape that is as versatile, making still, sparkling, dry, off-dry and sweet wines that can be drunk well in youth or with considerable bottle age. I’m a big fan of white Saumur, white Chinon, Vouvray and Montlouis, and also partial to Savennières.”

Jason Yapp
Yapp Bros, Mere, Wiltshire


“Cabernet Franc. I love it in every incarnation, from the Loire to Friuli, to Right Bank Bordeaux and beyond. It has everything that Cabernet Sauvignon has, and more: the body, fruit, tannin and power, balanced by more aromatics and that lovely green leafy edge. Any customer of mine will now ask for Cab Franc to accompany roast lamb or a barbecue, and any supplier will let me know when they add a new one to their list. I’m a sucker for Cab Franc, and proud of it.”

Gemma Welden
The Jolly Vintner, Tiverton


“My team have to stop me when Mr Rick, aka the Liberator, walks in with yet another Alheit, the new-kid-on-the-block old-vine Chenin Blanc producer from South Africa. They know, even before the bottle is open, I will say yes, we will stock it, adding to our overflowing abundance of Chenin Blanc. Most of my customers don’t appreciate it, and my long-suffering manageress looks glumly at me with hands held high, saying ‘where the f••• are we going to display that?”

Julian Kaye
The Wright Wine Company, Skipton


“Furmint is responsible for both the world-famous Aszu sweet wine, Louis XIV’s ‘king of wines and wine of kings’, and for wonderful dry white wines. It’s often characterised by a crisp acidity, but is a true terroir grape that really reflects both its land and local growing practices. The 20th century saw the destruction of its spiritual homeland’s viticulture traditions through two world wars and forced socialist collectivisation and a slip into relative obscurity. But it remains a grape marked by a rich history, glamour and versatility.”

Roland Foxcroft
Cellar Magnifique, Woking, Surrey

Related Articles