The Grape Count

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

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Monday, January 31, 2011

#56- Negroamaro

Black and bitter. A direct translation of the name of the Negroamaro grape. And boy does it nail this wine right on the head. And yes, I love love love this wine. As I sit here drinking it (day 2) and into my third glass, I'm almost disappointed I have to keep some for the brother to try. You're lucky I'm a good person Craig!

After a string of white wines, it was time to jump back into the reds. And with temperatures hovering around -35 degrees here in the city, it made sense to warm up with a nice glass of red wine. I first tasted the Negroamaro with my mom at the Rocky Mountain Wine Festival a couple of months ago and it took a while to find a store that carried it. And I am embarrassed to say I can't even remember where I purchased it. So bad of me.

I paired the red (an Italian wine) with a nice plate of bow tie pasta, homemade pasta sauce and some mozzarrella cheese. It was an absolute perfect combination. Luckily so as I had the exact same dinner again tonight! Sometimes it's good being single and leftovers make your life so much easier. Though when you eat the same food for five days in a row, I have an entirely different opinion.

But nonetheless, this wine is fantastic! The wine is called Nero and the winery is Giorgio & Gianni in Italy. Right away you notice the fullness of this wine. A sip turns into a full blown experience in your mouth. I smiled right away and knew that this was a wine to be sipped and enjoyed and that it would not disappoint. It is an oaked wine and while I amnormally not a fan of oaked wines, I'm determining the pattern is oaked whites and that I'm turning into quite the lover of oaked reds.

By the name of the wine, you can determine this wine is very dark, almost black in colour. It is also very aromatic- you can smell the deliciousness of the wine as it approaches your nose and your mouth. Often a Negroamaro is spicy and astringent yet this particular wine isn't. It's just plain fantastic.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

#55- Chasselas

Go Canada Go! I am a proud Canadian and when I get the chance to promote a good Canadian wine, I'll do it. And ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! The Swiss, (the originator of this grape) better watch out- Canada is giving you a good run for your grape.

The Chasselas grape is grown all over the world and nearly every country has its own name for it. The grape makes a great white wine on its own and is often used in a blend wine with Sauvignon Blanc. It can often be found as a restaurant's table wine. It is dry and fruity and sometimes on the sweet side. It is the first time I've ever been able to taste the grassy notes to the wine, and I really liked what it added to the wine. And it's very good.

Craig enjoyed his glass of wine chilled- and outside. We've had a lot of snow that last few weeks and Craig multi-tasked very well during his task of clearing snow off the roof. He took a little break to pose for the picture...

The wine we tried is the Chasselas from the St. Hubertus Estate Winery in the BC Okanagan Valley. The vintage year is 2008.

I had it with a won ton soup and again tonight with some sushi (which it does recommend on the bottle). And while the wine had slightly different tastes with each dinner, the wine was great, easy to drink both times and one to put on your list of wines to try. And no, I did not make the won ton soup or the sushi and they were both from different restaurants- I guess I'm just in that type of mood this week. Must be the affect having a new job does to you! Cheers, I have myself a new job!

If you like a Riesling, you'll like this wine. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a glass of vino with my name on it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#54- Macabeo (Viura)

The first white wine of 2011 and we have- a split decision, bordering on thumbs down.  I was neutral to the wine (and had a couple of glasses as it was neither good nor bad in my opinion) but Craig didn't like the wine at all.

The Viura or Macabeo grape is a Spanish grape grown in the northern region of Rioja and southern regions such as Barcelona. It is pale yellow in colour and has some fruity aromas. This bottle was from the Castillo de Manseran Winery in Spain. You could taste the pear and some mineral to it which made it slightly less sweet that a wine typical of fruit like flavours. The pear was not at all overpowering, just light hints of it.  I found it sweet enough and pleasant enough to drink quite easily.

The wine was fairly cheap, $11.99 picked up at Aligra Wine and Spirits at West Edmonton Mall. They have a great range of wines there and Craig and I were quickly able to find the selection of wines we were looking for.

I drank this wine while I was on my week of salad dinners- I had different salads each night of the week and that night, I paired the wine with a cold steak and spinach salad (with onion and feta and black olives- a cross between a spinach salad and greek salad). As a side note, did you know that a Greek salad can be considered a fruit salad? All the "vegetables" found in a Greek salad are in fact fruit (they all have seeds) so the next time you bring a fruit salad to a party, bring a Greek. Okay, I digress. but the salad I had was absolutely delicious!

Overall, I woulndn't run out and get this wine again as I've had better Spanish wines but I can't quite give it the the thumbs down Craig gives it. He didn't like it and found it bitter. My mom found it to have a terrible aftertaste. I don't remember that part so maybe that occurs after the bottle's been open for a couple of days.

If you're looking to try a new white and like it, take a pass on this one.

Friday, January 14, 2011

#53- Lambrusco

A funny thing happened on the way to trying this wine- well, you either laugh about it or cry. I choose to laugh.

It was supposed to be a golden evening all around and Craig and I were really looking forward to this new wine in hopes of cheering a Gold medal by our boys in the World Junior Hockey Championships final. It was sweet sweet victory for us for the first 40 minutes- and then it got poured down the drain. Quite literally.

Craig cooked dinner that night- a good old fashioned hamburger and all the fixings. I had picked out a red wine that I thought would compliment the red meat- a Lambrusco. Riunite is the maker of this wine (Italy) and according to the website is America's favourite Italian wine. Well if hamburgers doesn't scream America to you, I don't know what is so I think we got ourselves a good combination here.

So, first impressions? My mom, Craig and I were all on the same page for this one-- ding ding ding! We have ourselves a winner. And not just a "I like this wine"- this wine is in the "I love this wine, I could drink the bottle myself and no you can't have the last of this wine- it's mine." We loved this wine! The wine is a sweeter wine and could be mistaken for a sparkling wine (without the bubbles). It reminded me of the Scarlet O'Bubble wine we had at Christmas. Pure deliciousness is what it was. Mom could have drank the whole bottle herself and she's not a big red wine drinker.

The Lambrusco grape is from Italy and is often used to make sweet, sparkling wines. Traditionally a dry wine, it is often used as a blend to make sweeter wines. This wine itself is quite sweet and is crisp and light on the tongue. It tastes of raspberry and cherries and went very well with the hamburger. We also discovered it went really well with chocolate! And on it's own....

In other words, go out and get some! You won't be disappointed with this wine at all. The only disappointing part about this whole experience was when mom accidentally poured the half bottle down the drain (she mistakenly thought it was a bottle of red we'd tried that night that was awful and decided to ditch it not realizing she grabbed the good bottle of wine). Needless to say, mom feels awful for her alcohol abuse.

But no worries, the bottle was only $12.49 at Aligra Wine and Spirits at West Edmonton Mall and I'll definitely be heading out to get us some more!

Friday, January 7, 2011

#52- Plavic Mali

It was the wine I chose to ring in the new year with....and I'm hoping it was a reflection of the crazy year I had in 2010 and not the year to come in 2011. I was ready to bid 2010 adieu and to remain a distant memory and I hope to do the same with this wine!

The last wine of the year was disappointing to say the least. It's not that it was an awful tasting wine. The wine simply had no taste! A Croatian wine, I was excited to try another Mediterreanean wine. My disappointment with the Greek wines of late though wasn't keeping me too optimistic! And the wine does disappoint. Perhaps it tastes good if you've been a lifelong heavy smoker and you are smoking and drinking at the same time but I'm not a smoker and I found this wine to be absolutely tasteless!

New Year's foods abounded with taquitos and rissoles and pizza rolls and chocolates abounded. A red wine was chosen to make the red wine count for 2010 the same as the white wine count- 26 a piece!

The Plavic Mali grape is a red grape and is a cross between Zinfandel and Dorocic grapes. It tastes nothing like a Zinfandel so perhaps it's more Dorocic than than not.Plavic Mali literally translates to mean "blue small" referring to the grape itself. I'm sure you figured that out on your own. The winery is in Croatia and while I'm not certain it is bottled by Dalmacijavino Peljesac.

These wines are supposed to be full of flavour and rich in tannins. This wine was neither. I drank three glasses of it (it was New Year's) and I couldn't decide why I didn't like the wine. Easy enough to drink, my conclusion was that it didn't taste like wine. If I'm going to drink a glass, I want to know and feel and taste like it's a good glass of wine. This is is one you can definitely pass on-- it literally tasted like nothing at all.

Craig tried it a few days ago (as did I again) and the tannins in the wine were obvious but it actually made the wine undrinkable, even with it only being opened a few days. This was the first wine I actually had poured down the drain instead of finishing it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

#51- Assyrtiko

Happy New Year! I hope 2011 has been spectacular for you. For me, the year is going by as well as it can for one who is without a job (long story but let's just say I was thrilled to see 2010 come to an end). I've been more relaxed than I've been in a long time and can't wait to see what awaits for me this year. 11 is my lucky number so I'm hoping this year is a turn around of sorts for me.

But no matter! Some things do stay the same and this blog is one of them. Okay, an excuse to say that the wine drinking continues but hey, all done in the name of research! Year two and 52 more wines to try. Craig, my family members and I are up to the task. I've got my lists ready of new wines to try, what stores carry them and we've got a half dozen already waiting in my wine cabinet.

We did manage to try 52 wines last year, I'm just slightly behind the writing (not a new year's resolution as that will never change). But I hope to be caught up this week as Craig and I have already had wine #1 for the year (and #53 on the list). So, let's get on with it shall we?

Christmas at the Stevenson household can be a little chaotic with 8 adults and 3 children (2 of which are just 7 months old) so I brought the wine to get us through the day. I chose a Greek wine to go with the turkey dinner (it is suggested the wine be paired with poultry) being prepared (mom thought it was a good idea to cook a 32lb turkey- the bugger was huge!). With nearly a dozen of us sitting around the table, the delivious meal was devoured and dessert inhaled. Mom and Sharon did a bunch of baking as did Kristin and I (we had a couple of disasters as neither of us are round the year bakers...). Christmas was fabulous as usual.

Too bad I can't say the same for the wine. My idealistic views of Greek wine are now evaporating before me as this is now two Greek wines in a row I haven't liked. The white wine is made from the Assyrtiko grape and the winery is the Boutari Santorini Winery in Greece.  But to be fair, Craig didn't mind it so we consider it a neutral pick.

All I could taste with this wine was apples. It tasted like very dull apple juice. And petroleum. The taste of alcohol was too overwhelming for me and left a really bad taste in my mouth afterwards. The taste is very lingering and aromatic.The acidity of this wine is very apparent when you drink it. You're supposed to be able to taste a citrus flavour but my tongue tasted none of that. It was almost as if the wine had started to go bad. It didn't taste enough like wine for me to like it.