My earliest memory of buying a bottle of wine is of a Hirondelle Red as a student in Glasgow in the late 1960s. It cost 2s/6d or 12.5p in today’s money and was made in Austria, subsequently prosecuted for indoctrinating wines with ethylene glycol! My latest purchase is of a case of Pommard, Les Rugiens from Domaine Rebourgeon at €46 per bottle! How times change, as well as one’s palate and the size of your wallet!
Pinot Noir is my favourite grape and Burgundy my favourite region to visit and buy from. Pommard and Volnay in the Cote de Beaune are my two favourite villages. My favourite white grape is the Chardonnay, but also only from Burgundy with my favourite wine villages for it being Meursault, Puligny Montrachet, and Santenay. Come to think of it I also like St Aubin, Montagny and Chablis! At this stage of my writing of course you could be asking yourself how did the title of this post come about. The short answer is in my desire to become a member of The Wine Century Club once I had learned of its existence just a couple of months ago. To quote from their website:
“The Wine Century Club is for adventurous wine lovers worldwide. If you’ve tasted at least 100 different grape varieties, you’re qualified to become a member (click here for more information ). If you haven’t tried 100 different grape varieties, but are interested in the concept, you’re welcome to all of our events. Please join us in promoting the awareness of uncommon wine grape varieties. We currently have 1,740 members worldwide.”
Looking at their map above you can see that there are currently only 62 members in the UK and ……. I hope to become the 63rd. As of today I HAVE tasted 100 varieties of grape, even though my current preference is quite narrow relating to Burgundy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The start point of how I got here has been written about From Wine Bluff to Wine Buff in a previous post:
“I began my journey from “bluff to buff” when I was 22 years old, and now at 70 I cannot believe how much cheap Spanish and Austrian rotgut I poured down my throat by the time I was 23! (Yes, Austrian, if anyone remembers Hirondelle wines?) However by the time I was 24 I had also swirled, sniffed and slurped a fair number of classed growth red Bordeaux, some fine Burgundies, and even a Chateau y’Quem. (You might need to Google that!)”
Moving on, as soon as I read about The Wine Century Club I began scouring through my old wine logs back to 1981 to note all of the wines, and therefore grapes, I had tasted. It came to around 40, but I knew there was more because of wines I had tasted during holidays in Alsace, Loire, Jura, and the extremely diverse region of Languedoc. Then there were recent holidays in Spain and Portugal. That easily doubled my list.
But what finally got me over the finishing line was purchasing a case of red and a case of white Italian wines from The Wine Society, deliberately chosen to explore new grapes, blends and regions. At last, 100+ grapes from the “old world” of Europe as today I send off my application to join The Club.
Wish me luck!