Noted for its work in French blends, the peppery red grape is used increasingly around the world.\n\nYou may have tasted Counoise without realizing it: The dark-skinned grape most associated with France\u2019s Rh\u00f4ne Valley is one of the 13 varieties allowed in the wines of Ch\u00e2teauneuf-du-Pape. Plump and late ripening, it\u2019s known for pepperiness and bright acidity, characteristics that heighten those of its typical blending partners, Grenache, Syrah and Mourv\u00e8dre.\n\nThis is primarily how the grape has been used, but that\u2019s changing. In recent years, winemakers from New Jersey to Australia have embraced Counoise in varietal bottlings as well as blends. These are often light-bodied, spicy wines akin to Cabernet Franc, Gamay or Pinot Noir, typically best enjoyed young. Ahead, read up on three regions where the variety has taken hold.\n\n\nAustralia\nIn just the last few years, Counoise has begun to rear its head in certain areas down under, where avant-garde winemakers incorporate the grape in experimental and small-batch blends. Western Australia\u2019s Larry Cherubino Wines and McLaren Vale\u2019s Yangarra Estate are two that blend it with other Rh\u00f4ne varieties like Grenache, Syrah and Mourv\u00e8dre for an Aussie take on Ch\u00e2teauneuf-du-Pape. In the Barossa Valley, meanwhile, Four Men and a Shed marries it to Carignan in a light, fruity red.\nCalifornia\nIn 1990, Tablas Creek Vineyard, a pioneer of the state\u2019s embrace of Rh\u00f4ne varieties, brought Counoise to Paso Robles and became the first U.S. producer to plant the grape. It\u2019s released occasional varietal bottlings since 2002. Elsewhere, experimental winemakers like Broc Cellars, Sans Liege\u2019s Groundwork label and Benevolent Neglect have also crafted fun yet thoughtful varietal bottlings.\nPacific Northwest\nAfter it made inroads in California, Counoise traveled up the West Coast and settled in the Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), which straddles the border between Washington and Oregon. There, it has added complexity to blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourv\u00e8dre, but has shined increasingly on its own. Look for varietal bottlings from producers like Cana\u2019s Feast or Swick Wines, which uses it to make a p\u00e9tillant-naturel ros\u00e9.