Ones like Corinto Nero, Pelaverga, Schioppettino, Bombino Bianco, Cesanese - which give life to some of the most wild and incredible flavors (anyone who's been to a Rimessa Roscioli wine tasting can remember the vivid Proust-like madeleine memories that surface from the spicy and mesmerizing Schioppettino we serve with dinner).
But the scary reality is that most people only know a handful of different grapes - Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and the other ones used to categorize supermarket shelves. It seems that winemakers these days just produce wines that will fit into those categorized shelves as though any other grape would be lost without a home, and ultimately never sell.
Having moved to Italy and discovered a universe of new grape varietals, most which are territorially linked to a place after hundreds or thousands of years of natural selection, I now refer to my home country the USA as "grape-ist" - since about 82% of the wine comes from less than 10 grape varietals.
Why does this happen?
Well, for the obvious modern day reasons, of course - simplicity makes things easier to understand, more familiar, and therefore ultimately easier to sell. I lived in Santa Barbara and know the not-so-pretty costs of CA living, so risk-taking is not something newer winemakers are often willing or able to do. Wine takes a long time to develop and understand and unfortunately that is just not on our side anymore.
To discover the universe of grape varietals in Italy and get lost in the wild world of wine, consider joining the Roscioli Wine Club!