The Grape Count

In Vino Veritas- "In Wine there is Truth"
Grapes to try to date: 200

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

#16- Vermentino

I need to taste another Vermentino. Not because I loved this one, but because I didn't love this one. Oh Italy, while the Trebbiano D'Abruzzo was a roaring success, your Vermentino has left me a tad disappointed.The best thing about this wine unfortunately was the the picture I took (nice no?)

Now, it's possible I didn't buy the best bottle of wine. It was on sale for $11.85 so how much could I really expect from a cheap bottle of wine? (which by the way, after my travels in Europe, would be an expensive bottle of wine. I did learn that wine is cheaper than water in many places in Europe). But here, anything under $20 and the label doesn't say Boone's is cheap!

Also bought at Liquor on McLeod in Spruce Grove, and purchased at the same time as the Trebbiano, this was my white Italian wine weekend! i can't find much information yet on the Poggio Turri winery but I'll keep looking.

At my parents house for Father's Day, it was a beautiful and hot Alberta summer (summer's eve really with it being June 20). Craig was in charge of making dinner which of course, was barbeque!!! The dinner consisted of fantastic Alberta AAA beef, baked potato and side salad. Now usually you do drink red wine with with red meat but the thought of drinking a red wine instead of a nice crisp white wine outside on this beautiful day just wasn't sitting well with me. So breaking the rule, white it was! The dinner was great, however the wine left us wanting more- and by that I mean another wine.

Craig and I agreed, this wine left no impact on us. It was just there, something to be drunk but not enjoyed. A very light coloured wine, it was light on taste. It was dry but I found it to be lacking anything distinct. Usually Vermentino's are quite aromatic but this one just didn't give me anything. Craig and I sat there for a good while trying to pull any flavour out of this wine but just couldn't. This grape variety is becoming increadingly popular and apparently really good Vermentino's do exist. So the hunt is now on for a good bottle of white. Let me know if you've had one and I'll be sure to try it out.

I have no idea what wine #17 will be. It will all be very weather dependent (if it's nice, I'm going with white) and here's to hoping I don't taste another red until fall!

Monday, June 21, 2010

#15- Bombino Bianco (Trebbiano D'Abruzzo)

Living in Edmonton, you learn to appreciate the very short summers we had here. This past weekend was a beautiful weekend, with temperatures in the mid to late twenties, perfect weather for a nice crisp white wine. I picked up two bottles of white wine at Liquor On McLeod in Spruce Grove prepared to drink my weekend away in the bright shining sun!

Craig picked the first wine to drink with our mish mash of a dinner on Saturday. A combination of coleslaw, chicken fingers, Spanish rice and Italian bread, Craig chose the Trebbiano D'Abruzzo wine (the label said it went well with white meat). It is also known as Bombino Bianco and not much is available on the grape itself. The Vermentino would just have to wait until tomorrow. While the dinner wasn't a typical Stevenson feast, the meal would do just fine. Besides, it was the weather we were enjoying, not necessarily the food.
A light coloured wine, the Trebbiano D'Abruzzo is from the Citra Winery in Abruzzi (hence the name) was purchased for about $17. This bottle of wine was also a screw top, a trend I've noticed more and more. I know years ago there was a rumour the world was running out of cork (since been debunked) but I do wonder why we are moving away from corks versus the screw top. Is it about aaccessibility? Being able to take it on picnics and not worrying about a corkscrew? It is because it is more mainstream now to drink wine? Did this happen to beer bottles and the bottle cap? I digress...

This bottle (which by the way was a one litre bottle and not the customary 750ml), was a hit! We all commented on how smooth the wine went down. It didn't leave an aftertaste and was very very easy to drink. A sweeter wine, this complimented the chicken very nicely. We all agreed that this wine was definitely a good pick for a hot summer's day. There was no aftertaste as the wine is quite dry and it didn't linger long in your mouth. No bad aftertaste!! With hints of citrus, the wine was just perfect.

If you're not looking to do your regular wines like a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay but want a wine that is easy enough to find, then the Trebbiano is the way to go. The next wine to try, as mentioned earlier, is a little harder to find, the Vermentino grape!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

#14- Cabernet Sauvignon

Last Sunday the family was kind enough to host my birthday dinner- that thirty something dinner. My brother Craig barbecued the roast, putting his own spin on the spices and the way it was cooked. Greek and summer salads along with baked potato accompanied this meal. The roast was cooked perfectly, medium rare and still juicy on the inside! Now what put it over the top? I would have to say the wine.
The whole family was there including my sister Kristin who is just now kicking up her wine drinking habit again. In between breastfeeding and antibiotics (round three of strep throat in as many weeks), she has to time her wine drinking just perfectly. Luckily for her that night, the timing worked in her favour. Mother also joined us in the drinking of wine, of which there was a lot. But the wine of the day was the Cabernet Sauvignon wine that I was given by my Scottish friends Fraser and Katie for my birthday. Katie's family own a restaurant in Broughty Ferry Scotland and the Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon (vintage 2006) came highly recommended. An Australian wine from the Clare Valley in southern Australia, I was excited to open this attractive looking bottle of red. It was a gorgeous day outside, probably not the best day to be drinking a red wine but we knew the wine would go well with the roast.

The first thing we all notice about the wine was how exceptionally dark the wine was. Almost black or like Craig put it- "you can't see through it at all!". Incredibly dark, the wine glass sat there inviting you in. This was going to be good.

And the wine certainly didn't disappoint. Now, a Cabernet Sauvignon is a very popular wine here in Alberta and many countries grow this grape so it's not easy to stand out amongst other cabs when they're so readily available. But this one did. Oh boy did it ever! Many flavours jump out at you with this wine- the oak is definitely present but not overpowering, the herbs or spiciness catches your tongue and the fruits from the local area are blended well into this wine, leaving a delicious aftertaste in your mouth. This wine did not last long as we all had our glasses topped up quickly!

An exceptional wine, an attractive bottle, if you want a wine that isn't too exotic in terms of people knowing the grape varietal, this is definitely a hit to bring to any party or to show off your expanding wine tasting skills.

The next couple of wines coming up are white wines (we're having some nice hot weather, a perfect compliment to a nice white) and both are Italian wines. The next one on the list: Trebbiano D'Abruzzo!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

#13- Muscat Blanc

Also known as Muscat to most of us who have drank this sweet dessert wine. And boy did this bottle of Muscat not disappoint. This wine- an organic winery from Bonterra Vineyards in California, US comes in a 375ml bottle. It cost approximately $17 to purchase so not a bad price point for a dessert wine. And could I just say that I love their website- it just makes you want to head back into wine country all over again! (okay, but I have to admit, I do hate that they make you enter your age to enter the site, it's not like it's porn or anything, a little over the top trying to be responsible I think).

Anyway, getting back to the wine. This is a delicious bottle and would recommend you go and try it. I was first introduced to the Muscat wine last summer on a tour of the Napa Valley. Not on the tasting list, we were lucky enough to be beside a young couple from San Diego (and wow, was he a beautiful beautiful man...I'm so digressing on this...) who asked to taste the Muscat. We just mosied are way into the tasting!

We tasted this wine the same night we tried a carmenere (wine #12). We paired this wine with pecan pie (I think, the memory is hazy here- does it look like pecan pie?) and the tartness of the dessert paired beautifully with the sweetness of the wine. You could really pull out the citrus taste (orange and lemon) from the wine and it was very aromatic. Delicious to drink and smell!

I did notice the wine left a very fulfilling taste in my mouth. Some describe it as 'grapey' but I'm not sure if that justifies it. Some wines leave your mouth never to be tasted again. But this wine lingered, a seconds reminder of the deliciousness that had just invaded your mouth.

Because it's a dessert wine, a small glass is sufficient. Though I will admit I could have drank the whole bottle myself. A dessert wine that satisfied the senses indeed!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#12- Carmenere

So it's been a little while since I've blogged and I have an awful lot of wines to catch up on! I knew I'd be a little behind with my trip to Europe in April. What I didn't anticipate was the extra week's vacation I was handed from a little volcano in Iceland! An extra six days in Budapest at the end of my three weeks away and well, my life was thrown off.

Not trying to make excuses, in fact- I've had lots of reason to celebrate in the last month. My sister Kristin had her second child, a girl she and her husband Mark named Quinlan May. Just a week later, my brother Jim welcomed his son Liam James, his first into the world.

And I've also had some amazing company staying with me the last few weeks as well. She's one heck of a wine drinker too. So excuses aside, I'm way behind. I've got two blogs to write in the next two days and then it's double up time! That's right- for me to get back on track, I basically have to drink 2 wines a week for the next 13 weeks or so. The challenge is on. Now back to the wine...

The Carmenere is a red wine (carmenere means crimson in french) originally from France. Now rarely found there, Chile is one of the largest producers of the carmenere grape. The wine we tasted is indeed from Chile. Vina Chocolan in the Maipo valley. This carmenere is part of their regular selection wine. It is also the first screw top wine I've selected (will have to find a cork to use with the label... more about that later).

We paired the wine with a barbequed steak dinner which Craig prepared. Quite the cook, he barbequed our steaks to perfection with side potato, avocado and greek salad. As you can see, the meal looked delicious and tasted just as good. The wine was a good pairing with the red meat and it didn't take us long to finish the bottle.
Now, did anything in particular stick out about this wine? Not really. It definitely had an earthy taste to it and it certainly didn't leave any lingering taste in my mouth. Perhaps their name threw me off a bit-- I was waiting for a chocolate taste to appear but alas, none did. There was definitely a berry taste so a slight sweetness to the wine as well. It was certainly one easy enough for us to drink but not one that stood out enough to put on a "recommend list". I have drank other carmeneres before and I do find them intriguing so it will certainly be a wine that I'll visit again.

Our next wine is a sweet wine- muscat!