The Grape Count

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

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

#65- Montepulciano

Montelpulciano, Montepulciano, Montepulciano. It's just such a fun word to say don't ya think? It's such a long word that by the end of it you're convinced you're fluent in Italian. I know you want to say it out loud don't you?

Wine #65 is Tre Saggi (love that name too- it means Three Wise Men!) from the Cantoni Talamonti Winery in Italy. The website does a great job of describing each wine in great detail of how they come up with the name. The vintage is 2006.

The winery itself isn't that old, having only been around since 2001. The Montelpulciano d'Abruzzo is this delicate but amazing wine that has numerous flavours that mix in the mouth and leave your tongue excited for the next sip. This wine is also oaked and is just a beautiful balance of oak, fruit and hints of flowers...the site says it best- dark ruby-red with violet undertones. Complex wild berry notes framed by elegant oak spices. Blackcurrant, spicy cherry integrated with hazelnut and coffee.

I paired this red wine with a few slices of vegetarian pizza (made by some high school students I might add and they did a great job) that I had at a lunch meeting earlier in the day. The pairing of the wine and cheese just upped the whole Tre Saggi experience.

The Montepulciano grape is similar to the Sangiovese grape and is often confused with it though it is a completely different grape. I can't wait to finish this bottle off and I will definitely be trying some of their other wines in the near future.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

#64- Baco Noir

I haven't always liked wine. In fact, if you saw me 10 years ago, you'd have found me with a glass of rose (likely a white zinfandel) in my hand. It wasn't until a friend of mine dragged me to the Niagara Wine Festival in St. Catharines, Ontario that I began to appreciate wine. We went two weekends in a row- I drove down from Ottawa both times to attend. We bought our little festival passes and went to town in Montebello Park and tried wines from all over the Niagara wine region.

One such winery is Henry of Pelham Estates Winery. A well known Canadian winery,  Henry of Pelham makes a large variety of wines. For this review, I'm drinking their Baco Noir. The wine is very dark in colour, almost black (perhaps why it's named black grape), it had a nice spicy kick to it with a definite taste of currant. The wine was very nice to drink and was paired beautifully with a roast (one of my first peppered roasts) with couscous and green beans. The meal was delicious and the wine was a smooth compliment to the red meat, especially the peppered pieces. This was a meal that I'd definitely would have liked to have had with other people around but beggars can't be choosers...

The Baco Noir is unique to North America because it is a hybrid of a french grape and one in North America, though what that grape is can be debated. Often Baco Noirs have a caramel and fruit flavour to them and is quite acidic.  While it once grew in France, it is now restricted but flourishes in the United States and in Canada, in particular the Ontario region.

A great wine indeed, I recommend the wine to anyone who appreciates a deep and full bodied red. And if you're in the Niagara region, besides checking out Niagara Falls (the famous ones are on the Canadian side), do take the time to do some winery tours in the region. You won't regret it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

#63- Greco

Sometimes when you live alone, dinner is dictated by what you have lying in the freezer. I haven't gone grocery shopping in quite some time so I hit the freezer and pulled out- bacon!

Yup, bacon dictated this dinner. Luckily I had some pancake mix in the cupboard so out came the best breakfast dinner I've had in a while. Who says you can't bacon and pancakes for breakfast? If you can do it for Mardi Gras, I figure you can do it at any time.

Anyway, the bacon and pancakes were absolutely delicious and actually went quite well with the white wine for the evening- the Greco wine. The winery is Feudi di San Gregorio winery in Italy. Yup, Italians do make white wines and not just for cooking with!

Greco di Tufo is the most noble grape of the white varieties (I'm quoting the website here, Greco isn't exactly known as a noble grape) and is one of the grapes to grow double clusters.  Their Greco wine is quite spicy and it more acidic on the tongue than typical Greco based wines. They describe their wine as having notes of balsamic and while I wouldn't desribe it as such, I do remember it leaving me with quite the pucker! I did enjoy this wine a lot. Very aromatic with hints of fruit- I thought it balanced nicely witht he pancakes and the fatty bacon!!

The Greco grape is thought to have Greek origins but for the most part, it is widely considered to be an Italian wine. Along with the Greco (white), there is a Greco Noir grape which I hope to try as soon as I find it!
While it wasn't a wine that stood out as exceptional and a definite go and buy- I will say that I did like it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

#62- Baga

I have to admit something- it's been a few weeks since I tasted this wine and I didn't take great notes- so much so I can't even tell you what I ate with the wine. But I do remember one thing, I had no issue drinking it and I remember thinking that I liked the wine. Beyond that, not much.

The winery is Luis Pato in Portugal and the wine is their red label Baga wine. It has a distinct flavour to the wine, with chocolate undertones (and what girl doesn't like that?) It is also a great cellar wine as the wine is good for a decade or so.

Not much is written on the Baga grape but it is quite acidic and therefore quite tannic.

This is a terrible entry as I have nothing really more to say, I can't even describe how it went with the food or have pics to share. I'm guessing I'll give this wine another try so I can do a proper review. In the meantime, the blog stands as is and as far as I remember, I liked the wine! Have another one Erin....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

#61- Pinot Blanc

It sucks to write about wine when you're doing a cleanse and can't drink (or eat for that matter). But the blog must go on. I have four blogs to catch up on and hopefully they'll all be done by the time I can drink again (bring on #65!).

Mom provided the meal for this wine- she made a ton of chicken jumbalaya and it was delicious. I know it's not hard to make, I've just never made it. Must do that sometime soon. Anyway, trust me when I say this dish was delicious.

The wine for this week and kicking off the next 20 wines is a white wine from France- the Pinot Blanc. While it sounds like it should be a pretty easy grape to find (just like the Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir) it's not actually that easy to find so I was pretty happy to find it at Liquor Depot in Callingwood for a very reasonable $16.79. The wine is Alsace Willm, the first winery to export its wine to the U.S.

The wine did remind me of a Chardonnay though it's not related to that grape at all. It wasn't at all oaky but it had similar dimensions to the wine as the Chardonnay does. It was straw coloured and I found the wine very much complimented the jumbalaya, especially the chicken and the sausage. With a hint of spiciness to the wine, I think overall it was a great combination. There may have been some fruit flavours in there as well but I couldn't really discern them.

The Pinot Blanc grape  is apparently a genetic mutation of the Pinot Noir grape (basically one vine on the pinot noir vines creates a white grape rather than the black grape-- almost an albino of sorts). Learned something didn't you?

It's often used as the base grape for sparkling wines (it does lend itself well for the crispiness of the wine) as well as Burgandy and Champagne wines.

Overall, I really enjoyed this wine and it's too bad this grape isn't more readily available.

Craig really enjoyed the wine as well describing it as smooth and fruity with a sweet taste.  He tasted hints of grapefruit (good for him as I did not!)