The Grape Count

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

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#104- Longyan

On the 12th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me, a bottle of wine from China.


Uh huh. China.

I kind of find it surprisingly fitting that my final wine of the year and for the 12 days of Wine-mas is a Chinese wine. I have no idea why but it's just fitting.

It's also my first Chinese wine. And I liked it!

Next year is Year of the Dragon and I happen to be born in the year of the Dragon. 2012 is gonna be my year so be forewarned that 2012 is Erin's year. Not yours; Erin's.

All because of a bottle of wine. Yup.  The wine is called (funnily enough) Chinese Happy Wine. It is made from the Longyan grape variety. They describe it as a sweet full bodied wine; a delicate blend of white wine and Osmanthus flowers making it a floral and floral aroma. It also comes in French but is surprisingly absent of any Mandarin or Cantonese, please excuse my ignorance of where Chinese wine is grown in China.

But I really do like this wine. The colour is hard to describe so I've taken a picture in case I can't do it justice. It's pink, it's copper, it's orange- it's interesting. I was very unsure about this wine but I'm three glasses in and this is considered a dessert wine so imagine my surprise that I continue to drink it!

I did not drink it with dinner I'll be honest though I like to think it would have gone well. I made myself a turkey salad and with this wine being practically a rose, I'm sure it'd be a winner. In any case, the wine was my dessert. I am officially done with turkey for this season as this was the last of the leftover turkey my mom sent me home with. I had a turkey sandwich at lunch. I can now look forward to Ramen noodles for lunch again....

It is my first Chinese wine as I mentioned. And again, I liked it.

I have read that China is an emerging wine nation among other things. Up until yesterday when I picked up the wine, I had yet to see one from China. I was pleasantly surprised to find this one at Liquor Depot for a whole $12.99 in the dessert section. I didn't care how bad it was, I wanted to say I'd had a Chinese wine.

I did think it would be awful.

And I stand corrected.

The Longyan grape comes from the Zhuolu County in China. 104 tastings- I have always found a write up on Wikipedia about the grape. This is the first time that there is no write up- though in the description of Zhuolu County, they do mention the grape. But that's about it. So I'll check back in a few years and see if they have more to say about it. Right now, know that it's a grape grown in China. And it's yummy.

And with that, I have completed not only the 12 days of Wine-mas, but I have completed week 52 for 2011 and week 104 for the Weekly-grape-- in week 104!

I'd like to think I'll continue this pace into 2012. But I do know that I'll be moving on to blends as trying to find single varietal wines in Albert has tested my patience and my abilities these last few months. There are many more grapes to try but I will now try them in blended variety. And I can't guarantee that it will be every week either. But knowing me, the perfectionist, I will do my best. I must get a hold of that wine where 110 varieties of grapes are used in one bottle- then I'm good until 2014...

until then, thanks for being loyal readers, all five of you! May 2012 bring you nothing but love and happiness. And may the next glass of wine that touches your lips bring nothing but joy and good flavour.

All the best to you my friends.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#103- Refosco

On the 11th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me, a bottle of Refosco!

I have been cleaning my house all day today and on the surface it would appear I am the slowest housecleaner there was. I was pretty ambitious and thought I'd be able to get my kitchen and front hall done. Well, I haven't even made it through the kitchen yet and I swear I've been at this since noon. You do forget how much you have in cupboards and if you're sorting and throwing stuff away, what you thought would take minutes has suddenly become hours. I am mostly done the cupboards and have managed to clean the stove and oven as well. Tomorrow I'll finish the rest and get the sinks, dishwasher, floors and fridge cleaned. And hopefully the front hall as well. I was originally aiming for a January 2nd completion day. But now doubling the time I thought, I'll finish just in time to go back to work.

I keep telling myself this is not my vacation. Today I booked my 10 day vacation to Hawaii at the end of January so this is just my second unpaid job.

That and I'm hosting January's wine club meeting so the house must be spotless. Hard to believe we have been at this a whole year. We're going to be celebrating our one year anniversary and I can't wait.

The last couple of hours have been painful so I made some dinner- some nice spaghetti sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. I paired it with an Italian Refosco wine.

The wine is from Fantinel Vigneti Sant Helena in the Fruili region of Italy. The wine is absolutely fabulous! It is quite oaky which I love in a red and it's got a bit of spice to it. One thing I did notice was that it was a bit effervescent on the tongue. I'm not sure if I liked that or not. I didn't have to decant the wine long. It was basically ready to drink right out of the bottle.

The Refosco grape is native to Northern Italy. It is very dark skinned as is the wine. The colour is a deep garnet, almost showing purple hints. It is also known to have a very berry taste and indeed this one does.

I do enjoy this wine a lot and can't wait to finish tomorrow in between cleaning the fridge and floors. Admit, you're very jealous of me right now. Ha!

My last wine of the year is tomorrow-- and guess what? It's a Chinese wine!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

#102- Grechetto

On the 10th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me, a Grechetto from Sportoletti.

First and foremost, a Merry Christmas to everyone. Hope Santa was good to you this year. Apparently I was a good girl as I got some pretty amazing stuff. I have to say though I'm most excited about my new Ninja blender! I'm going to be a smoothie making ninja in no time. I wonder if there's a wine smoothie recipe out there?

So dinner was the usual fixings- turkey, potatoes, turnip, brussel sprouts, vegetables- you get it.  Mom makes a fabulous turkey each and every year. It was just the four of us (mom and dad and the two childless kids- Craig and I) but we enjoyed ourselves and had a lot of fun. Rounds of Family Feud and this Celebrity movie matching game were played and even a dip in the hot tub!

The wine is from Sportoletti in Italy from the Assisi region.

The first thing yo notice about the wine is how yellow it is. It's very dark. Remind me of apple juice. I'm not a particular fan of this grape to be honest. There is some sweetness to it but there's nothing about this wine that stands out for me. It's just rather blah.

The Grechetto grape is usually used as a blending grape and I would suggest that it is a better option. I'm just not a fan of it unfortunately. Maybe it's not cold enough or something but it's just not sitting well with me. The aftertaste is just not great.

So I'd say pass on this one for sure.

But hey it's Christmas- there's lot of other cheer to get into, so have at 'er!

And again, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

#101- Vidal

On the 9th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me, a bottle of vidal otherwise known as Canadian Icewine.

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, all the Stevenson's were gathered...

alright that's all I got. It's been a busy few days around here and I've already skipped a day so the 12 days will now end on the 27th. It's still the holidays at least.

My sister Kristin hosted our Christmas Eve dinner. With so many siblings and with all the in-law families, not every year is celebrated on Christmas Day as a family. Instead, those years that don't happen for us, it's Christmas Eve instead.

The whole family was there- mom and dad (or Grandma and Grandpa) my brother Craig, my brother Jim and his wife Sharon and their son Liam and my sister Kristin with her husband Mark and kids Owen and Quinlan.

Wine was drunk and presents opened and dinner had. Kristin made two different types of lasagna- regular and a spinach one.

Bot soooo good!

I drank a great red with the lasagna but it was a blend so it doesn't count towards my varietal count.

What we did is have the wine for dinner.

I brought over a 2005 Mike Weir Estate Winery Icewine Vidal. If you're not familiar with the golfing world, Mike Weir is a pretty famous Canadian golfer and has one some pretty prestigious golf tournaments (green jacket anyone?)

Mike Weir Estate is in Niagara, Ontario.

I had nothing to eat with the wine so wine was dessert. It's very sweet but very good. It tastes very much like apples. My mom liked it; Kristin wouldn't try it as she's not a fan.

There's not much on the Vidal grape except to say it has grapefruit and pineapple notes. I don't get that on this wine at all- this one is very much ripened fruit.

Christmas is tomorrow and I hope to try out a new white but I'm also bringing a Tavel (rose) to dinner tomorrow to go with the turkey.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Recapping Grape 81-100

 I still can't believe I did it- all 100 reviews. I'm officially applying for my membership in the Wine Century Club tomorrow. Well there's not much more to say except that I am humbled by all of you out there who bother to read my blog and support me on this crazy wine drinking journey of mine!

Overall, I had a another great group of wines- I liked most of them. Not all of course and I think one of the disliked wines was corked to be fair.

Like: 16
Dislike: 3
Neutral: 1
White: 10

Countries: France, Spain, Hungary, Australia, Italy, Georgia, Portugal, Canada, Greece
81. Arneis (White) LIKE
Cascina Bongiovanni, Italy
82. Grillo (White) LIKE
Noi Necociants, Italy
83. Vernaccia (White) LIKE
Azendia Agraria Le Rote, Italy
84. Agiorgitiko (Red) LIKE
Kouros Nemea, Greece

85. Pinot Auxerrois (White) LIKE
Gray Monk, Canada
86. Verdejo (White) DISLIKE
Herederos del Marques de Riscal, Spain
87. Marachel Foch (Red) LIKE
Movia Winery, Slovenia
88. Verdicchio (White) DISLIKE
Villa Bucci, Italy
89. Seyval Blanc (White) LIKE
Jost Winery, Canada
90. Periquita (White) LIKE
Jose Maria de Fonsesca, Portugal
91. Saperavi (Red) LIKE
Tbilvino, Georgia
92. Monica (Red) LIKE
Argiolas Perdera, Italy
93. Schioppettino (Red) LIKE
Sengo de Terra, Italy
94. Palomino (White) NEUTRAL
Gonzales Byass, Spain
95. Pedro Ximenez (White) LIKE
Alvear, Spain
96. Egiodola (Red) DISLIKE
Domaine de Brau, France
97. Marsanne (White) LIKE
Tahblik, Australia
98. Muscadelle (White) LIKE
Chateau Megyer, Hungary
99. Prieto Picudo (Red) LIKE
Dominas DosTores, Spain
100. Carignan (Red) LIKE
Borie de Mavreal, France

I can't wait to see what the next 100 bring me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#100- Carignan

On the 8th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me, a bottle of Carignan from la Belle pays de France!

And this isn't just the 8th day, oh no- this blog represents a goal I have been working towards for two years. And tonight, I accomplish it. Tonight is my 100th wine varietal I have tasted!


My goal started New Year's 2010 but I had been planning to write a wine blog months before that when I got my DeLong's Wine Grape Varietal Table in the mail after visiting their home page. I was inspired to become a member of the Wine Century Club and I totally loved their approach to introducing people to new wines.

I hadn't even been a huge wine drinker back then but I did enjoy wine and really wanted to expand my knowledge and my palate. So I took up the challenge- to try all 184 grape varieties on their table. It soon turned into the round number of 200 as I was finding single varietal wines here in Edmonton that weren't listed.

I still plan to try all 184 and then some, it just might not be in single varietal form. I have tried my very best to do single varietals (or those that are basically 95% +) but it does get more and more difficult to find them. We don't have the best access to some wines. In many ways we're very limited compared to other places in the world and having made it to 100 is a feat I wasn't sure was possible.

But I'm glad I'm did it!

I've tried some pretty amazing wines. But I've also tasted some awful ones as well. And I appreciate that. It's the only way to learn what you like and what you don't. I've had some ridiculously unusual wine pairings- some worked, some not so much and I've had some predictable and traditional ones as well.

I've drank many of them with my brother and my mother and my sister and my friends. For two years, I've had the pleasure of analyzing a glass of nectar of the Gods. Not too shabby a research project I must say.

Who knows if I'll reach 200 and when I'll reach it but I will still try to do a wine a week. The good part about blends though is I can knock a few varietals off at a time.

And after tonight, I plan to apply for membership to the Wine Century Club. I was so hoping they would just see the blog and grant me admission but I guess I have to be like any other wino and apply. And so I will.

And now it's time to get on with review #100- Carignan!

I don't mind the wine. It isn't my favourite and compared to the Prieto Picudo I drank last night, this one fell a bit flat. Surprising as I am a huge fan of French wines.

Maybe it's all a dream. Maybe I'm just trying to be cheesy- the wine I'm drinking is called Reve. Borie de Mavrel produces the wine in the Minervois region.

The Carignan grape is not often a single varietal wine and often used in blends and is very popular in the Languedoc region.

The wine itself is very high in alcohol content- 14%. But there is no sweetness on the tongue at all. Actually I've just retasted the wine and now that it's had time to site for a but, it's not so tannic and tight in the mouth. It's much more relaxed and I'd describe the tannins as smooth.

The red fruits are evident- strawberries and raspberries with a slight hint of leather. It is a 2005 so it makes sense. Very meaty like. It is a bold wine. I ate it with a steak and cheese sandwich dripping in sweet onion sauce and packed with vegetables. It was so good. The melted mozzarella cheese and steak were great choices for this full bodied wine.

I'm going to let the rest of the bottle sit overnight and will grab it again tomorrow when I write my review of wines 81-100. Amazing.

#100- you didn't let me down. Now cheers and raise your glass to the next 100!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#99- Prieto Picudo

On 7th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me- a bottle of Prieto Picudo.

From Spain.

So naturally when drinking a Spanish wine, the most obvious thing to do would be to pair it with some tapas- n'est pas? Pardonnez mon Francais, I do not speak Spanish. And tapas I do not have.

Being in good Alberta, we do have a lot of one thing-- perogies!! Bring on the Ukrainian version of the tapa. And yes, I've made that up. But it's Christmas time, I'm in the middle of a video shoot and I don't have time to cook let alone come up with a perfect wine pairing.

So yes, I paired a Spanish red wine with a  Ukrainian dish of perogies.

And it worked.

Ha! Yup, cheese and potato perogies went very well with this wine. Maybe it was the synthetic bacon bits, the ooey gooey mess of margarine and light sour cream or maybe it was just me willing this pairing to work, but I feel this did in fact work.

I'll be honest, the wine- Estay and the grape is Prieto Picudo was quite a bit tannic at first and hard to drink. But as the wine had time to breathe in my glass, I found it drinkable and am now working on my third glass of it.

This is indeed a very complex wine.

The wine is produced by Dominos DosTares in Spain and is considered to be one of their premium wines. If you ca speak Spanish, you can ready all about the Estay wine.  The wine is quite dark, a garnet, almost black wine. It's fairly aromatic. It's full of floral and fruity notes and reminds me of a tempranillo. No doubt about it though, this is a very tannic wine but man is it smooth on the tongue once the tannins dissipate. It is rather lovely. Lots of red fruit like cherry on the tongue. Yum.

The Prieto Picudo grape is primarily grown in Spain. There's really not much else to know about this grape other than I would definitely buy this wine again. If you know someone who likes big bold wines but likes to stray from the normal Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines, give them this one. It won't surely disappoint.

I can't believe tomorrow I write review #100. Merry Christmas to me. That also means one thing...which I'll share on Thursday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

#98- Muscadelle

On the 6th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me- a bottle of Tokay from Hungary.

Now I've had a Tokay before, but it was a Tokay D'Alsace, similar to a Pinot Gris. But this one is the Muscadelle grape and known as Tokay in that country.

This is also a dessert wine.

And boy was it sweet. Super sweet but it was also very good. I hated the other Tokay but this one I enjoyed very much.

It was very thick and syrupy. A beautiful copper colour almost bordering on the orange colours and full of caramel and vanilla flavours.

The grape is of noble rot and hence gives it the dessert like quality to it. It is ranked a four star wine so it is of very high quality. Bill at Unwined suggested the wine to me.

Chateau Megyer  produces this wine. The Muscadelle grape is a white grape and is often blended with other grapes to create sauternes in France. In Hungary, it is often used as a single variety grape for dessert wines.

I paired this wine with dessert- carnation milk and a mixture of fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. This was an absolutely delicious dessert.

I think I'll be bringing this to Christmas dinner to share with the family. I'm sure it'll go with a nice spread of baking or something of the like. It should certainly last a while that's for sure. That's now two sherries and a dessert wine on the list of six so far. I'm definitely in the mood for sharing!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

#97- Marsanne

On the 5th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me- a bottle of Marsanne! (please sing it and it totally know you will).

It's Sunday and I've been chilling and cleaning all weekend. A chill cleaning type of weekend if that's possible. I wasn't really looking to cook much and I've gained too much weight to eat much more than a salad with my wine. I switched my wine last minutes from a red to the Marsanne from Tahblik.

Interesting to note that this white wine is one of the few whites that has really good aging potential- as long as ten years! Might have to grab a bottle just to see.

I got this bottle at Unwined in St. Albert. And what a place! Such amazing people. A wine tasting was going on that evening so I was immediately given some wine to walk around with. And then two lovely people helped me out to find new wines to try- one was the owner Bill who immediately grabbed my grape list and started walking around pulling wines for me (so much so I didn't really know how much I was paying for each wine). He reminds me of Guiseppe from Pinocchio- he's literally the walking talking wine drinking version of him. And so lovely. They all were. I can't say enough about UnWined.

The wine itself is quite crisp with medium acidity. Off the top I get orange and lots of tropical notes to it.

The Marsanne grape is the most widely planted white grape in the Hermitage region in the Rhone region. It's often found in a blend, especially with the rousanne grape. This wine in particular is from Australia and is not blended with other grapes.

Like I mentioned before, I paired the wine with a green salad. Mixed with lots of vegetables and topped with a cava vinegar (made sense to me) and pure virgin olive oil and some Mediterranean spices, I was ready to go and settle down to watch the Survivor finale. I have three minutes until the Dexter finale so must write quickly.

I do like this wine. I like how it paired well with the salad. I like how easy it is to drink. I've had three glasses of the stuff and I'm guessing I will be finishing off the bottle tonight. Five golden rings has a new competitor on the block- and that's a bottle of Marsanne from Tahblik. If you're looking for an easy white wine to drink, I do recommend this one. And feel free to have more than a salad...

Tomorrow's wine has already been drunk (I will admit) and I'm looking forward to sharing the 6th day of Wine-mas with you!

Let's raise a glass and toast!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

#96- Egiodola

On the 4th day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me- a bottle of Egiodola. From France you know.

I'm kind of embarrassed right now!

Have you ever tried to eat all the leftovers in your house before cracking open your new groceries? Well I'm trying to do just that- and well- it's not quite working as planned. My pairing this evening with the Egiodola wine from the Domaine de Brau in France is a little embarrassing.

Okay a lot. I'm sure you've heard of meat on a stick. Well I"m eating meat on a fork.

I'm trying to finish the Bavarian sausages I have left from last week. I thought there were three left so I cut up three sausages and smothered them in cheddar cheese. Way too much for me to eat but I'd be done with the sausages at least. Until I found another one in the bag that I'd missed. There was no way I'd be able to eat four so I now have an orphaned sausage in my fridge waiting. Damn.

Anyway, the sausage is great and the melted cheese is wonderful but hardly a balanced diet. I'll munch on some salad later but for now it's a sausage fest in here with my bottle of red.

I've just finished watching the Swedish version  of the "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson on Video on Demand and I've cued up "Girl who Played with Fire" but I have to write the fourth day of Wine-mas first. If you haven't read the books, I highly suggest you do. The English version of the trilogy is coming out soon if not already in some places and it's going to be a blockbuster.

The Swedish version is excellent so far.

And so I pause from the English subtitled movie to take in some protein and a glass of Egiodola.

I've had it sitting in the glass for about an hour already to let it breathe. It's a bright ruby red colour. The name Egiodola means pure blood. It's red enough to be blood.

The aromas however are not pleasant at all. Very barn yard like. Other blogs say you get fruit on the nose and the bottle says it is plum scented and well structured. I don't get fruit at all so I'm wondering if this is a faulted wine- or slightly corked. I'm not getting a fault smelling the cork (though it looks like it started to mold perhaps) so it's quite possible that this is what the wine is supposed to be like.

It's quite tannic, almost sucking any moisture right out of my mouth. You do get the fruit on the tongue when you drink it however. It's very plum like, almost raisiny. You get a bit of candied cherries as well. It's got a bit of sweetness to it as well.

Without knowing for sure if this wine is corked or not, I'm pretty neutral on the wine. I'll have to get another bottle and compare to be sure. But it's a neat sounding grape don't ya think?

Friday, December 16, 2011

#95- Pedro Ximenez

On the 3rd day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me- a bottle of Pedro Ximenez.
From Spain of course.

Yes, two days in a row, I've had a sherry (or sherry like). But the two sherries couldn't be any more different. While yesterday's Palomino was dry and limited in taste, the Pedro Ximenez is the exact opposite.

This wine is sweet and deep and full of flavour. But first, the most obvious thing to look at for this 2001 bottle of Alvear is the colour. The colour is a deep copper, bordering on a luscious dark brown colour. You can tell it's been aged, almost like a tawny port. The aromas are overwhelming- full of caramel, toffee, almonds, vanilla and raisins. The alcohol content is high and you can certainly smell the alcohol.

Taking a sip, you get much the same as you do on the nose. It is almost sickeningly sweet. But if you like sweet wine, you'll like this wine.

The grape is a white grape much to my surprise. For some reason I thought it was red for some reason but hey- we all learn something new everyday!

With a sweet sherry, my only logical choice was a dessert. I haven't bothered to make anything for Christmas (I'm way out of shape and need to get my ass in gear, not add to it) but I did have a box of Queen Anne chocolate covered cherries nearby so I allowed myself just one chocolate to pair it with. Surprisingly it wasn't bad. A chocolate covered cherry is quite sweet and I was pleased to see the sweetness of the chocolate was cut down by the Pedro Ximenez.

The Winery is Alvear, in the Montilla region of Spain. 

What can I say, I do enjoy this wine, and more so than yesterday's. But certainly not more than an ounce or two. That's all I've had tonight and it's more than enough for me. And with the high alcohol content, it's definitely all I need. The great thing about Sherry is it doesn't go bad so this wine will last for quite a while- or maybe just until Christmas Eve. My mom loves sherry so I might have to bring the sherry as a Christmas cheer.

Cheers to day three!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

#94- Palomino

On the 2nd day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me- a bottle of Palomino. From Spain of course.

So I'm very glad I waited a couple of hours to write this blog as what I'm writing is very different than what it would have been at six o'clock.

And to make it clear- I'm not a fan of sherry on most nights so I was taking on a bottle of wine that I had my doubts I would like.

And at first, I didn't like this wine. At all. But I forced myself to drink a glass with dinner (I had a long day of shooting so I stopped by the local sushi joint and picked up some California rolls as well as Canadian rolls. The sushi was delicious however I did not finish all of it (you don't need to know this but hey, it's what happened).

I chilled the wine as recommended. The top is not a screwtop nor a cork. It's a combination of it but it's meant for me to be able to recork it easily so I knew this wasn't a bottle I'd be finishing this evening.

I cant' really describe this wine other than to say that over time, I started to enjoy this wine. It's like I got used to the taste, which I still can't describe. On the Gonzalez Byass website, it describes the wine as almondy and delicate. While I'd say it was neither, I'd say that you have to give it a chance before dismissing it. I'm glass I did.

It's a beautiful colour and it's very inviting to drink. The smell turns me off slightly and maybe that's why at first I didn't like it. But you have to appreciate sherry for what it is and the process it goes through. It is a fine wine with a 15% alcohol content.

I'm not sure I'd buy the wine again but it's because I'm not a sherry drinker and I'll never say never.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

#93- Schiopettino

On the 1st day of Wine-mas my true self gave to me- a bottle of Schioppettino!

So the first day of my 12 days of wine drinking has started off well. The bottle is delicious and the only reason I'm not polishing off this bottle is because I have an 8 hour video shoot tomorrow and I'm directing so I have to be alert and on top of things; not hungover.

So two glasses of this beautiful red wine is all I've allowed myself for tonight. But damn! Both glasses were exceptionally lovely.

Paired with a small Sicilian pizza, this was a beautiful pairing. I can't take credit for making the pizza- it's actually Boston Pizza pizza- I had a business meeting. And now enough about my busy life. I still find time for a glass of wine. I have to add that the wine also goes very nicely with Christmas chocolate. I'm just sayin'

In fact, I'm allowing myself another glass. It just doesn't feel right to be writing about the wine and not sipping on it.

The first thing I noticed about this wine is how purple it is! Maybe I'm wanting to see purple after I was at the Prince concert last night (Purple Rain was aaaa-mmmaaaaa-zing!) or it's actually purple. I could have chosen raspberry (raspberry beret anyone?) but it's definitely too dark to be that.

The wine is fairly light bodied but it's got a kick at the end for sure. Definitely full of red berries- I get strawberries and raspberries on the nose and tongue. It's a bit peppery as well- a nice little kick to it. But there's also a very distinct earthy aroma as well. And mineral like- hints of iron. definitely leaves a metallic taste on the tongue. But it's just so lovely. The wine is very balanced.

I can't find much on this wine and maybe I'm doing a poor search of it but I can't seem to find a website for the winery itself. But the schioppettino grape is a grape that nearly disappeared from the Fruili region of Italy. Thank God it didn't! The name means shotgun or crack and certainly that's how the flavours hit your mouth and surround your tastebuds.

Like I said before, the 1st day of Christmas wine blogging style has started off very well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

#92- Monica

I took one sip of this wine and I knew it was love. Kristin took a swig of it and it was love. I'm heading back to 123rd Street Liquor to buy myself a couple of more bottles; because it was love.

The wine is Argiolas Perdera from the island of Sardinia in Italy.

(but can I just say this- if the owners of the Argiolas ever stumble upon this blog, please please please take this advice- lose the cheesy romantic music and terrible 'tingy' noises any times I click on a link. It's enough to make one go bananas- lose the sound effects ASAP). Oh and that site is not user friendly at all. I couldn't find this wine at all on the site. Not a good thing when one is looking for information. I don't care how pretty the site is...

So aside from their terrible taste in audio and poorly laid out site, their wine is absolutely lovely! And by that I do mean love.

The wine is Perdera and is made from the single grape varietal- Monica. The Monica grape is very hard to find here in Canada so I was very happy to stumble upon it. And with my love affair with the grape, I have no idea why more stores don't carry this type of wine. There isn't much written on the grape other than to say it originated in Spain and is meant to be drunk young. This wine is 2009.

For a young wine, I found this wine to be incredibly complex and full of flavour. They danced all over my mouth. You can't taste just about every berry in there- raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and on and on. But it's very earthy as well. When drunk, it reminded me very much of a Cabernet.

I matched it with a pasta dish I had made- a three cheese pasta with broccoli and a nice peppered beef shoulder (roast). The fullness of the red paired very well with the beef and of course the cheesy pasta. I darn near finished the bottle that night but resisted.

I had it the next night (the night Kristin was able to take a swig) and the wine was just as good the next day.

I really can't say much more about this wine other than if you have a chance to purchase this wine (and i remember it being a very reasonable price as well), to go out and treat yourself to a nice bottle. Especially if you are a fan of full reds.

Well, tomorrow I'm off to see Prince in concert but then I start the 12 Days of Wine. I'm 12 wines away from completing a wine a week and I'm determined to finish on time here so on Wednesday, I start the 12 Days. I'm not sure what my liver will think of me on the 26th of December but it's worth finding out!

Purple Rain....We're gonna party like it's 1999!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

#91- Saperavi

In Georgia, the grape is known as Kindzmarauli but we know it as the Saperavi grape. It literally means "paint or dye" and it's a very dark, almost black wine. To me, it had a very purplish tinge to it. It's also known as the Kakheti grape. it's a great wine to age.

In Georgia, farmers still store their wine in cone shaped clay jars and bury them underground with wooden lids. Modern winemaking has since taken over though and the wines are reminiscent of Southern Hemisphere wines that are fruit driven, warm climate wines.

I was limited that night to just a few red wines and this was the only one I had that would go with my hearty dinner of....wait for it...Bavarian sausage! I never eat sausage but maybe I was feeling sentimental from my time in Eastern Europe and especially Austria and Germany, so I picked up a packages of the sausages. It might be a cheap meal, but I see nothing wrong with matching it to a nice wine.

And in my opinion, the match worked! I really enjoyed this wine and actually drank it over a couple of nights and I liked it more and more as the wine oxidized. The wine is full of flavour- beautiful black berry flavours and a beautiful hints of cherry.

The winery is Tbilvino in Georgia. And this wine has won a ton of awards. I'm pretty sure that this was one of very few bottles even available here in Edmonton. I found it at Sherbrooke Liquor on their specialty wine rack and I paid close to $27 for it. But it was definitely worth it.

I would recommend this wine and definitely buy it again if I see it. This would probably be a great wine to cellar and open it in a few years to see how different it tastes.

Now would someone build me a cellar already?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

#90- Periquita

I'm writing this blog to actually take a break from my wine studies (that and my butt was going number from sitting on the floor for so long). I am in the home stretches of my Wine Fundamentals I class from the International Sommelier Guild. Our final exam is on Wednesday and I have been busy making flash cards of my notes so I can study hard for the next few days. I've even booked my sister for tomorrow night so that she can test me. Maybe we'll make a drinking game out of it (for every question I get right, I get to sip!). Now there's some liquid encouragement for you!

The Periquita grape is also known as the Castelao grape in other parts of the world but in Portual, and where this wine is from, it's known by it's more popular name, the Periquita grape. Now, this isn't a single varietal wine I'm drinking as it's especially hard to find but it is 95% Periquita so for the purposes of what I'm trying to accomplish, it is.

The grape is found in southern coastal regions and is sometimes used in the production of port. If you can speak portugese, you know the word periquita means parrot. It is a very tannic wine in its youth but does soften as it ages. The year I'm drinking is a 2006.

The wine is Jose Maria Da Fonseca Periquita. Aside from the crazy annoying music that greets you on their website, the site is great looking and fun to browse through.

What's interesting is in the description of the wine- right off the bat I'm at odds with them. They describe their wine as full bodied and intensly coloured while I would not say either. And not in a bad way either. The wine is not as intense as I thought it would be. To me, it's similar to a Pinot Noir or Gamay. And I certainly don't find it at all to be a full bodied grape. It's complex but at most medium bodied.

Off the nose I get some strawberries but the smell of alcohol seems to take over. Sipping the wine, I get a balanced and fruity wine, but the tannins to me are still quite intense with a medium acidity to it. It takes some getting used to. I drink it alone tonight but last night I paired it with a grilled steak done to medium rare along with a Mediterrannean salad and I felt they were a perfect complement to each other.

What was interesting to me is the lack of quality in the cork. After all, Portugal is the main producer of cork for the wine world. Apparently they give all the good cork to France. The cork barely held together as I popped it out of the bottle.

I would drink this wine again, but I would make sure to drink it with food for sure. It is not a sipping wine at all (though they do suggest that you can with this wine on the website). Oh those Portugese.

I can't believe I'm only 10 wines away from accomplishing a goal I'd set out to do nearly two years ago. And 14 wines and I've met my goal of sipping one wine a week for two years. I'm not sure if I'll continue this blog or not or maybe shift its vision a bit, we'll see how the next few weeks goes!

Friday, November 11, 2011

#89- Seyval Blanc

Another great Canadian find and my second review to come from the Jost Winery in Nova Scotia. I just recently reviewed their Marachel Foch wine and loved it and now I am reviewing their Seyval Blanc wine loving this wine too. Go Nova Scotia!

It's a shame that we Canadians don't support our local wine industry as the Americans support theirs, the French and Italian and the Portugese and get the idea- we don't support the industry as much as we should. Some if it's not our fault. Often the wine from our very own backyard so to speak is just as expensive if not more expensive than some of the wines we import. For goodness sake the French sip on 3 euro wines every night that here would run us $30 or more at least. But they know their biggest consumer is right there in front of them. Wineries here should be doing the same here- cheaper, more readily available wine. Case in point- it is very hard to get Nova Scotia wine in Alberta. Why is that?

We're just a frigid country. Scared of wine. We've made it taboo and mostly illegal for anyone under the age of 18 or 19 depending what province you're in to even touch the stuff to their lips. That's just stupid and outdated thinking. I can be 17 years and 364 days old and not be responsible or mature enough to drink wine but on my 18th birthday I suddenly am? Really? Just like that? And we wonder why we are a nation of binge drinkers and alcoholics...

To me, wine should be shared by everyone. It's often drank with meals, so why not let the 14 year old have a small glass? Why not take away the mystery of alcohol and show them at a young, supervised age how to drink responsibly? Am I just a naive thinker?

In any event and my rant aside, the Seyval Blanc wine from Jost is just a fabulous drink. And the description of the wine actually matches what you taste and smell (have you ever read some wine description? There's sometimes more fiction written about a wine than there is in a Jackie Collins novel). But this description of the wine fits the bill.

It has a very aromatic citrus aroma with a hint of pear. I immediately taste the citrus notes on my palate but get a hint of apricots. There is a blackberry taste to it (a little unusual for a white wine). But it is just a fabulous wine. It is off dry and quite acidic. It's quite balanced in it structure and full bodied.

I really enjoyed this wine and I am having my second glass of wine as I write this. I paired this wine with a chicken dish mixed with shrimp and vegetables. I thought it was an extraordinary food pairing.

I would definitely suggest this wine to anyone who is looking for a good Canadian wine that isn't from our better known regions of Niagara and Okanagan and especially a grape that isn't as well known as others.

Who's paying for my trip to the East coast for a wine tour? I think I asked this already but I'll ask again....anyone?