June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

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June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:34 pm

For this month's Wine Focus, we're trying something completely different. Our theme, "Wine Century Club," is based on the great idea of Steve and Deborah De Long, who encourage wine enthusiasts to taste wines of at least 100 grape varieties (for which, on the honor system, you can gain free membership in this fun and very informal club.

We doubt anyone will get to 100 varieties this month - much less the 400-plus claimed by some of the Wine Century Club's most obsessive members - but we do encourage you to spread your varietal wings by digging up and reporting on wines made from the most obscure wine grapes you can find. Listed below, along with links for more information about the Wine Century Club, is its casual list of 185 varieties, including the well-known grapes as well as some much less familiar. And yes, we know that some important "minor" grapes are omitted - the list is extensive but not unabridged. "Other" is an open category, so by no means feel limited to this list in our June pursuit of the unexpected, the offbeat and the downright strange.

You be the judge as to what's unusual, but we assume that Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc will be off the table for purposes of this exercise; and always, the stranger the better, and best of all if you can accompany your post with a little story about the grape.

Gentlefolks, start your corkscrews!

About the Wine Century Club
http://www.delongwine.com/century.php

Direct link to application form/varieties list
http://www.delongwine.com/Application.pdf

Wine Century Club Blog:
http://www.winecentury.com/

Wine Grape Varietal Table (sales through this link benefit WineLoversPage.com and WLDG):
http://www.delongwine.com/wgvt.php?PARTNER=WLP

The 185 varieties listed on the club application. (Of course, there is always "other".)

Agiorgitiko
Aglianico
Airén
Albariño
Aleatico
Alfrocheiro
Alicante Bouchet
Aligoté
Arinto
Arneis
Arvine
Assyrtiko
Auxerrois
Avesso
Bacchus
Baco Noir
Baga
Barbera
Bical
Blaufränkisch
Bobal
Bombino Bianco
Bonarda
Bourboulenc
Brachetto
Bual
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Canaiolo
Carignan
Carmenère
Castelão
Catarratto
Catawba
Charbono
Chardonnay
Chasselas
Chenin Blanc
Cinsaut
Clairette
Coda di Volpe
Colombard
Concord
Cortese
Corvina
Counoise
Cserzegi Fuszeres
De Chaunac
Delaware
Dolcetto
Dornfelder
Erbaluce
Falanghina
Fer
Feteasca Alba
Fiano
Folle Blanc
Frappato
Freisa
Friulano
Furmint
Gaglioppo
Gamay
Garganega
Gewürztraminer
Godello
Graciano
Grechetto
Greco
Grenache/Garnacha
Grenache Blanc
Grignolino
Grolleau
Gros Manseng
Grüner Veltliner
Hárslevelü
Hondarrabi Zuri
Inzolia
Irsay Oliver
Kadarka
Kerner
Lagrein
Lambrusco
Len de L'el
Lladoner Pelut
Loureiro
Macabeo
Malagousia
Malbec
Malvasia
Malvasia Nera
Maréchal Foch
Marsanne
Marzemino
Mauzac
Mavrodapne
Melon de Bourgogne
Merlot
Meunier
Molinara
Monica
Montepulciano
Mourvèdre
Müller Thurgau
Muscadelle
Muscat Blanc
Muscat of Alexandria
Muscat Ottonel
Nebbiolo
Negroamaro
Nerello Mascalese
Nero D'Avola
Niagara
Norton
Palomino
Parellada
Pedro Ximénez
Petite Arvine
Petit Manseng
Petit Verdot
Petite Sirah
Picpoul Blanc
Picpoul Noir
Piedirosso
Pigato
Pignolo
Pineau D'Aunis
Pinot Blanc
Pinot Gris
Pinot Noir
Pinotage
Plavac Mali
Portugieser
Prosecco
Refosco
Roditis
Riesling
Rkatsiteli
Rondinella
Roussanne
Ruby Cabernet
Ruché
Sagrantino
Sangiovese
Saperavi
Sauvignon Blanc
Savagnin
Savatiano
Scheurebe
Schiava
Schioppettino
Schönburger
Semillon
Sercial
Seyval Blanc
Silvaner
St. Laurent
Syrah/Shiraz
Tannat
Tempranillo
Teroldego
Tinta Amerela
Tinta Barroca
Tinta Negra Mole
Tinto Cão
Torrontés
Touriga Franca
Touriga Nacional
Trebbiano/Ugni Blanc
Uva di Troia
Valdiguié
Verdejo
Verdelho
Verdicchio
Vermentino
Vernaccia
Vidal
Vignoles
Vilana
Viognier
Welschriesling
Xarel-Lo
Xynomavro
Zinfandel/Primitivo
Zweigelt
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:19 pm

Well, I copied that list and pasted it into a document and highlighted all the ones I can recall trying and came up with 45. Ones that I have tried, that are not on the list include:

Cayuga
Leon Millot
Noiret
Corot Noir
Valvin Muscat
Verdelet
Steuben
Traminette
Chelois
Duchess
Isabella
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Jon Leifer » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:00 pm

I found 61 that I have tried but some of those were one and dones.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Kelly Young » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:07 pm

Now I know what to do with my bottle of Chambourcin.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Mark Lipton » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:27 pm

I came up with 80 from the list, considering only as single varietal wines (and assuming that by Fer they mean my love Fer Servadou) but I haven't yet figured out how many different grapes not found on that list I've had.

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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Sue Courtney » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:25 am

At a quick glance I've tasted 72 on the list, but I am sure some are synonyms (Godello / Verdehlo) and would have to search my database of tasting notes to see what pops up regarding the others. Sometimes we just don't know what is in some obscure blends.
Cheers,
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:37 am

Just to make sure the point of this month's Focus doesn't get lost in discussion of the list: For this month, we're looking for tasting reports on offbeat wines from unusual grapes.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:00 am

Hopefully I will find an opportunity to open a bottle of Albalonga!
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:16 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Hopefully I will find an opportunity to open a bottle of Albalonga!

We opened an Argentine Saint Jeannet last night. Okay, a Saint Jeannet blend, but it's still about the weirdest variety I could come up with on short notice.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Jenise » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:15 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Hopefully I will find an opportunity to open a bottle of Albalonga!

We opened an Argentine Saint Jeannet last night. Okay, a Saint Jeannet blend, but it's still about the weirdest variety I could come up with on short notice.


And what did you think of it...?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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June Wine Focus WTN: Arinto

Postby Keith M » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:18 pm

Additional information appreciated from Joe, Bob, or any of our other Portuguese experts roaming about, but my first grape for this month's focus is Arinto, which appears to be a rather common grape grown around different regions in Portugal, predominant in white blends from Bucelas just north of Libson and a common component much further north in Vinho Verde. It even makes its way into sparkling wines and is treasured for the screeching acidity it will add to blends.

But I went for a varietal version, the 2005 Campolargo Bairrada Arinto from a region that the World Atlas of Wine notes as producing 75 percent red wine (mostly Baga, I grape which Luis Pato has taught me to adore). So I think I'm keeping things unusual for something that's a common grape in Portugal. The wine? The color is striking, darker rich gold. Aromatically entrancing, soapy, herbal, wet rain, really nice savory herbalness, a rather delicious nose. There's certainly a touch of richness and fruit upfront, but though this wine has a lot of weight, it is uncompromisingly dry. Rich dry extract is what I noted, paired with delicious mouthwatering acidity. I have lots of leftovers about from a party I recently hosted and I didn't find anything that this wine couldn't pair with: cheeses of all sorts, spicy chickpeas with ginger, lemongrass pork riblets, you name it. I would bet this white could even stand up to a ribeye. It has a waxiness to it that reminds me quite a bit of Loire Chenin Blanc, but an acidity and dry fruit that reminds me of a mix of southern and northern Italian whites. Fun, interesting, and engaging wine. I have one more left in the cellar and I think I'll just let it be to see how it develops, there's plenty of stuffing there.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:19 pm

Jenise wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Hopefully I will find an opportunity to open a bottle of Albalonga!

We opened an Argentine Saint Jeannet last night. Okay, a Saint Jeannet blend, but it's still about the weirdest variety I could come up with on short notice.


And what did you think of it...?

It was good, not great, but fine value for $12. :)

'll write it up and post shortly - will probably use it in tomorrow's 30 Second Wine Advisor, hoping to lure a few Centurions in here to take part.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:26 pm

Robin Garr wrote: hoping to lure a few Centurions in here to take part.


I will alert Judah Ben-Hur. :wink:
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby alex metags » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:09 pm

2009 Hilltop Neszmély “Craftsman” Cserszegi Füszeres

We were eyeing Hungarian whites for dinner last night, including the Királyudvar Furmint Sec (which has been mentioned on these boards) but opted for this wine from the Hilltop Neszmély winery. Got this one out of curiosity a few months back, having never heard of this grape. It had great aromatics; a very nice floral bouquet. On the palate dry and crisp, with a bit of spice in the finish, and it paired well with a chicken and vegetable stir-fry.

Wondering about the origin of Cserszegi Fűszeres as we were sipping, I looked into it after our meal. The grape is a cross between Irsai Oliver and Roter Traminer. Irsai Oliver is in turn a cross of Pozsonyi fehér and Csabagyöngye. From what I gather Pozsonyi fehér means “white of Pozsony”, Pozsony being the Hungarian name for Bratislava. Csabagyöngye translates to “Pearl of Csaba” and is a Muscat descendant. Whew, I need to draw a family tree just to sort out the lineage. But that at least explains the floral aromatics, and the spice!
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Andrew Bair » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:47 pm

2009 Hilltop Neszmély “Craftsman” Cserszegi Füszeres

We were eyeing Hungarian whites for dinner last night, including the Királyudvar Furmint Sec (which has been mentioned on these boards) but opted for this wine from the Hilltop Neszmély winery. Got this one out of curiosity a few months back, having never heard of this grape. It had great aromatics; a very nice floral bouquet. On the palate dry and crisp, with a bit of spice in the finish, and it paired well with a chicken and vegetable stir-fry.


Hi Alex - Thank you for the note. I've had this wine in a couple of other vintages, and agree that it is a nice QPR. It has reminded me a little of Gewürztraminer.

The Hilltop Neszmély Craftsman Királyleányka is also nice if you come across it.
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Re: June Wine Focus WTN: Arinto

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:47 pm

Keith M wrote:Additional information appreciated from Joe, Bob, or any of our other Portuguese experts roaming about, but my first grape for this month's focus is Arinto, which appears to be a rather common grape grown around different regions in Portugal, predominant in white blends from Bucelas just north of Libson and a common component much further north in Vinho Verde. It even makes its way into sparkling wines and is treasured for the screeching acidity it will add to blends.

But I went for a varietal version, the 2005 Campolargo Bairrada Arinto from a region that the World Atlas of Wine notes as producing 75 percent red wine (mostly Baga, I grape which Luis Pato has taught me to adore). So I think I'm keeping things unusual for something that's a common grape in Portugal. The wine? The color is striking, darker rich gold. Aromatically entrancing, soapy, herbal, wet rain, really nice savory herbalness, a rather delicious nose. There's certainly a touch of richness and fruit upfront, but though this wine has a lot of weight, it is uncompromisingly dry. Rich dry extract is what I noted, paired with delicious mouthwatering acidity. I have lots of leftovers about from a party I recently hosted and I didn't find anything that this wine couldn't pair with: cheeses of all sorts, spicy chickpeas with ginger, lemongrass pork riblets, you name it. I would bet this white could even stand up to a ribeye. It has a waxiness to it that reminds me quite a bit of Loire Chenin Blanc, but an acidity and dry fruit that reminds me of a mix of southern and northern Italian whites. Fun, interesting, and engaging wine. I have one more left in the cellar and I think I'll just let it be to see how it develops, there's plenty of stuffing there.


Keith, you have a good memory! Arinto is tops in my books, just wish I had more access up here. But not blended with Chardonnay! Your TN is really good and you sum up nicely. Here is a note I posted last year.....>

WTN: `07 Prova Regia Arinto, Bucelas Portugal.

13% alc, $20 Cdn, good natural cork, long thin-necked bottle unusual, wine comes from Companhiadas Quintas.

Color. Light straw w. brief hints of green.

Nose. Has a lot going for it with some appealing aromatic tones. Grass, minerally, BC apple like Granny Smith, passionfruit and lime as it warms. Distinct and funny how these tones did not follow through on the palate.

Palate. Initial entry is dry, no spritz, mineral, very brisk striking acidity. "This is the norm" HRH Jancis.
Reminds me of a typical V Verde, lots of citrus throughout. "Certainly not even close to a tropical fruit bomb...apple, pineapple" from across the table. Went quite well with a sauteed pork cutlet, on day 2 had a herbal feel on the finish which was slightly less enamel stripping! Might try with some shellfish when I buy another.

I see that Arinto is blended with Chardonnay, now thats future research eh.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Joe Moryl » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Keith,

Glad you enjoyed the Campolargo Arinto. It does seem to be a grape capable of making high quality wines. Campolargo is not your typical Bairrada producer - they tend to be quite interested in trying non-traditional things. For instance, they presumably make a fairly nice Pinot Noir, which I have not had the chance to try. I think the wine that you had is barrel fermented. I tried the '07 version, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn't as impressed as you were with the '05. Arinto also shows up in all sorts of blends all over Portugal (but seems to be associated with the Bucelas region) - many Vinho Verdes will have it in the mix as Pederna.

The best white Bairrada I've tasted would be the Q. das Bageiras Garrifeira which is a blend of old vine Bical and Maria Gomes aged in largish neutral oak casks.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby alex metags » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:03 am

Andrew Bair wrote:Hi Alex - Thank you for the note. I've had this wine in a couple of other vintages, and agree that it is a nice QPR. It has reminded me a little of Gewürztraminer.

The Hilltop Neszmély Craftsman Királyleányka is also nice if you come across it.


Hi Andrew. I agree that the Cserszegi Füszeres does show off its Gewürztraminer heritage. Thanks for the tip on the Királyleányka. I'm especially fond of trying new wines from Central Europe, and will keep my eyes out for it.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:43 am

I'll introduce one that I can almost guarantee you will never see in any vineyard outside of Israel - the Argaman grape.

A cross between Sauzao and Carignan, developed at the Agricultural Institute at Rehovot (a branch of Hebrew University), the grape was initially planted heavily in the early 1980's. Alas, the experiment proved a fiasco and even though a great many acres were planted in it, those produced wines that were sadly lacking. As I wrote at the time, Argaman has only three advantages: depth of color, depth of color and depth of color. Sadly enough the wines lacked depth, body, flavor and aroma.

Needless to say, those who devised the cross were somewhat upset with me. I'm afraid though that grape growers and wineries were no less disappointed than was I, for the vast majority of the vineyards planted in Argaman continue these days to be uprooted to make room for more serious varieties.

Several years ago one of Israel's larger wineries released its first Argaman varietal. That oak-aged wine surprised by its qualities and depth. The surprise lasted until it was discovered that the Argaman had been fermented on the lees and stems of Merlot grapes. I remember tasting the wine when first released - it was a nice wine. No question about it. But its lack of intrinsic balance and structure made me suggest that this would be a wine to drink in its extreme youth.

A year later the winery decided to go "all the way" and did an Argaman release on its own... Among other things my tasting note said "...deep, almost magnificent color but beyond that little in the way of any of the other factors that might make this a good wine".

I do not look forward to a great future for Argaman. Well, unless someone located about 100 miles within the South Pole decides to plant it there.

Best
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Joe Moryl » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:20 am

Daniel,

Would that be the Portuguese grape Souzao involved in the Argaman cross? This is also known as Vinhao, and it is a teinturier grape also used in red Vinho Verde. The latter wines are not loved by everyone, even when they are well made, but they certainly have a following. Tannic, inky, high acidity and low alcohol (sometimes with a spritz) all at the same time!
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[WTN] Finca El Reposo 2010 Saint Jeannet

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:29 am

Saint Jeannet is one of the more obscure grapes I've tried lately. This TN is a blend with Sauvignon Blanc and old vines Chardonnay from an Argentine vineyard; the previous year's vintage was 100 percent Saint Jeannet and was even more lean, mean and lemony. Actually, the richness added by the blend probably tames the single-varietal aspect just enough to make it a more balanced wine. Darn good with salmon or, I think, any richer fish or shellfish.

Here's a brief description of the grape from Cream Wine Co., a Chicago-area distributor:
Originally from Southern France, this white grape was introduced to Argentina by Tiburcio Benegas more than 90 years ago (this is the actual age of the vines of Saint Jeannet planted in the vineyard). There is very little to none information about this grape variety in the world except that, in the past, it was used to increase the level of acidity of base wines for sparkling wines since this grape naturally produces wines of very good acidity and tend to take a long time to ripen. Bodega Campo Negro is the owner of the only producing parcel officially registered planted to Saint Jeannet in Argentina.


Finca El Reposo 2010 Saint Jeannet Whitewine ($12.99)

This blend of 90-year-old Saint Jeannet grapes with Sauvignon Blanc and old vines Chardonnay is a clear light gold color. Shy citric aromas offer gentle hints of white grapefruit and honeydew melon. Dry and crisp, palate-cleansing flavor carries a distinct touch of Meyer lemon. Its lemony character makes it a great partner with rich, oily fish - we paired it with fresh wild salmon. U.S. importer: Vanguard Wines LLC, Columbus, Ohio. (June 1, 2011)

FOOD MATCH: As noted, the wine's snappy, citrus-focused acidity and lemony zing make it a natural with rich fish. It was in excellent seasonal company with fresh Copper River sockeye salmon served straight from the charcoal grill. Wild salmon in general, fresh tuna, bluefish or mackerel would all serve it well, and so would rich shellfish or even poultry, pork or veal

VALUE: No complaints at all about quality for value in the lower teens.

WEB LINK:
The producer's Website is in Spanish, but it's mostly pictures and wine words. Give it a try, even if you don't read Spanish. Click the bottle outlines to see each of the El Reposo bottlings.
http://www.camponegro.com.ar

For more information in English, read about El Reposo Saint Jeannet on a Chicago-area distributor's Website.
http://www.creamwine.com/product.php?id=4294

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find limited retail sources for El Reposo Saint Jeannet on Wine-Searcher.com,
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Repos ... g_site=WLP
or contact the distributor</a> for possible help in finding a retailer near you.
http://www.vanguardwines.com/contact.php
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:03 pm

Joe Moryl wrote:Would that be the Portuguese grape Souzao involved in the Argaman cross?


Joe, indeed the Portuguese Souzao which on its own did not thrive locally.

Best
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Joe Moryl » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:14 am

2004 Quinta do Cardo, Seleccao do Enologo, DOC Beira Interior (Portugal):

Here we have 100% Touriga Nacional not from the usual regions(Douro, Dao....) but what is claimed to be the highest vineyards in Portugal at 700m near Castelo Rodrigo. A bit tight at first, but opens nicely after a couple hours of air. Floral, slightly funky nose. Darkish red, with some violet hints - not looking overly aged yet. On the palate there is bright plum/black cherry fruit, lots of depth and a pleasant greenish herbal aspect. Not the stemmy greenness that one get from under-ripe grapes, but a ripe balsamic nature that is not out of place. Nice length. Maybe a touch of mocha from the oak, but the wood is handled well. Tannins are certainly present but ripe and balanced - this is drinking well right now, but could improve for maybe 5 more years. Jamie Goode named this one of the 50 best Portuguese wines a couple years back and I can see why. 14.0% abv, $25.

The basic Cardo '09 Siria (a white grape) is also a delightfully bright and refreshing wine. A product of Companhia das Quintas, which owns several wineries around Portugal.
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Re: June Wine Focus: Wine Century Club

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:10 am

Nicely done Joe! Good excuse this month to open some wines from Portugal eh.
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