Monday, July 26, 2010

99 kinds of grapes on my list, 99 kinds of grapes...

Take that old beer-drinking song to a new level with 99 kinds of grapes!

There's a little-known (yet very popular) club that many wine aficionados are queuing up to join ~ The Wine Century Club. To be considered for membership in this oenological society you must have sampled 100 different varietals... Sounds impossible?  Think again! For the average wine drinker     (Am I average? Not certain ~ I've been told I'm a highly advanced "wino/wineaux" ~ not sure what that means, but I guess I'll take it and say, "thank you".) Anyway, most people (who would perhaps be the sort to google wines, or read wine articles, or frequent wine bars) would be familiar with at least 30 different varietals.

Let's look at a fairly mainstream list:
Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Malbec, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Gewurztraminer. Fairly common, right? Now, let's look at regions... Have you ever had a Chateaunuef du Pape wine? If so, you could have tried up to 18 different varietals right there in one glass! (That's how many types of grapes are allowed to be used in the production of CDP.  It used to be 13 officially, but in 2009 that was changed to 18, citing that white and rose` versions of the grapes are completely different.)  So, you could possibly add these red varieties: Cinsaut, Counoise, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Piquepoul Noir, Syrah, Terret Noir, and Vaccarèse (Brun Argenté). White and pink varieties are Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanche, Clairette Rose, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Picardan, Piquepoul Blanc, Piquepoul Gris, and Roussanne.  What about a White Bordeaux? That'd be Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Have you ever had Chianti, if yes you can add Sangiovese.  How about a true Champagne? Put Pinot Meunier on your list (In Champagne, the classic blend for bubbly is Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.)  Ever enjoyed a Vouvray? Check off Chenin Blanc.  How about Cava, Spain's sparkling wine? If yes, you can cross off Parellada, Xarello and Macabeo/Viura ~ those are the traditional grapes used in the production of Cava. Ever had Port? Chances are you can round up at least eight new varietals, since that's the number of different grapes typically used when making a Port. ( Although there are 30 recommended and 82 permited grape varieties in Port wine production!) The six most common reds are Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão and Tinta Amarela.  White Port? Hmmm, that'd be Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.   No Ports? Hmmm, how about Marsala... That would be Grillo, Inzolia, and Catarratto, and maybe some random other varietals. (By the way, serve that Marsala chilled and in between the first and second course ~ as an aperitif.)

See how easy it is?!  You are a wineneaux and you didn't even know it!  Forget about those folks who go "birding" and hide in the bushes to catch a glimpse of a rare bird. Who wants to look up and get pooped on?

Forget the birds! Go out in search of 100 varietals and the quest for entry into the Wine Century Club ~ its MUCH more civilized (and tasty, too!), plus ~ no chance of getting pooped on while your working on your list.

Here's the link to the club's website. Trust me, once you start on your journey in search of obscure grapes, there is NO turning back... You will be addicted to the hunt!

Find 'em ~ Buy 'em ~ Try 'em ~ Cross 'em off your "life list" 
You'll love it!
Salud! KathyD

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