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?