How many different wine grapes have you tasted?


I have just received my certificate and been accepted as a member of the exclusive Wine Century Club, an organisation for people who can show they have tasted 100 different grape varieties used in wines from around the world. It has taken me 50 years to achieve this and required a very high level of education, lots of money, worldwide travel, fitness and stamina and a tender palate with a stomach of iron. I also needed a wife who could drive but who didn’t drink, but this was NOT why I married Dr C 47 years ago!
I won’t list the 110 grapes I’ve tasted, but here’s an alphabet soup of grapes tasted over the years without a mention of Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Old Uncle Tom Cobbley:

  • A is for Aligote, the forgotten white grape of Burgundy
  • B is for Baga, the red grape in Portuguese wines from Barraida
  • C is for Corvina, the red grape in many Italian Valpolicella wines
  • D is for Dolcetto, the red grape in Italian wines from Piedmont
  • E is for No bloody idea!
  • F is for Furmint, the beautiful white grape from Hungary, used in dry and sweet wines of Tokaj
  • G is for the white Gruner Veltliner from Austria with the wine found in the fashionable restaurants of New York and Hong Kong
  • H is for Harslevelu, another white Hungarian grape tasting like a fine Chablis
  • I is for I have no idea!
  • J is for Just as rare as grapes beginning with E and I!
  • K is for Kekfrankos, the red Hungarian grape equivalent to the Blaufrankisch originating in Austria and also grown in Slovenia
  • L is for ….. Lambrusco, yes I’ve drunk it too!
  • M is for Marsanne the white grape from the Southern Rhône in France and used in the expensive wines of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and St Joseph.
  • N is for Nebbiolo, the noble grape of the red Nebbiolo wines of Italy
  • O is for the white Ortega grape grown in the Mosel-Saar-Ruhr region of Germany
  • P is for Pedro Ximinez, the grape of Malaga (and others) making red sweet aperitif wines
  • Q is for Not a lot!
  • R is for Rondinella, the red Italian grape used in Bardolino
  • S is for Semillon the white grape grown mostly in Australia and France, used in dry and sweet wines, famously in Sauternes and Barsac
  • T is for Tannat, the red grape of almost black tannic wines from Madiran in Languedoc/Occitanie
  • U is for Usaxelauri, a red grape and I’ve never tasted it
  • V is for verdelho, a white grape of Portugal but grown mostly on the island of Madeira
  • W is for Not a clue again!
  • X is for Xinomavro the red wine grape of Macedonia
  • Y is Unknown to me!
  • Z is for Zierfandler a red grape of Austria but used to make white wine!

How many different grapes have YOU tasted?

 

13 thoughts on “How many different wine grapes have you tasted?

  1. Congrats on your membership of the 100 Club. I can fill in a few of your alphabetical grape blanks: E for Encruzado and J for Jaen, both Portuguese varieties, I for Inzolia from Sicily and W for Weissburgunder, the German name for Pinot Blanc. As for Q and Y: like you, no idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you like Rioja, try a Ribera Del Duero which is identical grapes usually but different region. Often cheaper and THE up and coming Spanish red wine.

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  3. Well done Brian. It looks rather like my Cycling Proficiency Certificate that I got in 1966.

    I have no idea how many grapes I have tasted but my favourite red wine is a good Rioja.

    I think my favourite grape story is that after the phylloxera virus destroyed almost all the vines in France in the 1850s the French were obliged to use Californian root stock to start again so most French wine has an American pedigree. Much to the chagrin of the French no doubt!

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    1. I should also have said there were a few horrors along the way, but I’ll never know whether just a particular bottle on the day was poor or the grape itself. I rarely seek out new grapes now, just stick with the tried and trusted producers I know in Burgundy especially. Interestingly though yesterday I rooted out my old wine logbook from the late 70s and found a few wines I’d paid around £3 for that if kept, today would sell for ……….. £340 a bottle! Sh1t!!!!

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      1. I was once part of a town twinning organisation. Rugby in Warwickshire and Evreux in Normandy.

        Our guests were a couple called Charles and Marie-Rose. Charles was a traditional Frenchman through and through, proud of the culture and the French way of life. He knew about wine that’s for sure!

        A clumsy time was when I produced a bottle of Piat D’or wine. I thought that this would be a sure fire winner because the adverts on TV said ‘The French adore le Piat D’or’ but it turned out that they didn’t actually and Charles had never heard of it. He drank it but I don’t think he was impressed!

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        1. Classic! 😂 It can be an intimidating “sport” with the French, though they are less precious about wine tasting these days. I am friends with 3 producers within a mile of each other in Burgundy and two of them rely solely on drop-in customers many of whom are foreign tourists. Each year I get to taste the previous years batch, still in the barrels in their cellars. It’s a good experience and nothing snobbish about it, they know I only have two questions that interest me if I like the taste: cost, and optimum period for ageing. Then I spend a bloody fortune!

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      2. If you like Rioja, try a Ribera Del Duero which is identical grapes usually but different region. Often cheaper and THE up and coming Spanish red wine.

        Like

    1. Thank you. You helped with a few, recently Harslevelu👍. As you know Pinot Noir is my overall favourite, but not from anywhere except Burgundy😂😂. Chenin Blanc from the Loire also but not easy to get. Picpoul is great too if you have a plate of mussels anywhere in the Languedoc sitting in the sunshine.

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