The Grape Count

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

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recapping wines 41-60

I can’t believe we have tried over 60 different grapes so far! I tell you, this is the best damn hobby I’ve done so far. It is getting a little harder to find more and more unique grapes and the quality is often hit and miss (but when it hits, it really hits).  Take a look at what the last couple of months has entailed for us: I give you the grape varietal, whether it's red or white, the name of the winery, the country and of course my rating (a very simple one- like, dislike or neutral).

Like: 13
Dislike: 5
Neutral: 2

White: 10

Countries: Argentina, Italy, Greece, United States, Australia, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, France, Canada, Croatia  and Hungary

41. Torrontes (White) NEUTRAL
Bordegas Escorihuela, Argentina

42. Prosecco (White) LIKE
Martini, Italy

43. Xynomavro (Red) LIKE
Boutari Winery, Greece

44. Malvasia (White) DISLIKE
Birichino Amici Winery, United States

45. Nero D’Avola (Red) LIKE
Spadina Una Rosa, Italy

46. Savatiano (White) DISLIKE
Fragou Winery, Greece

47. Chambourcin (Red) DISLIKE
Yarraman Estate, Australia

48. Tannat (Red) LIKE
Pisano Winery, Uruguay

49. Pinot Grigio (White) LIKE
Middle Sister Winery, United States

50. Alicante Bouschet (Red) LIKE
Grand D’Arte Winery, Portugal

51. Assyrtiko (White) DISLIKE
Boutari Santorini, Greece

52. Plavic Mali (Red) DISLIKE
Dalmacijavino Peljsac, Croatia

53. Lambrusco (Red) LIKE
Riunite, Italy

54. Macabeo (Viura) (White) NEUTRAL
Castillo de Manseran, Spain

55. Chasselas (White) LIKE
St. Hubertus Estate Winery, Canada

56. Negroamaro (Red) LIKE
Giorgio & Gianni, Italy

57. Semillion (White) LIKE
Lancatay Huarpe, Argentina

58. Touriga Nacional (Red) LIKE
Alianca Winery, Portugal

59. Aligote (White) LIKE
Maison Jaffelin, France

60. Blaufrankisch (Kekrankos) (Red) LIKE
J & J Eger, Hungary

Saturday, February 19, 2011

#60- Blaufrankisch (Kekfrankos)

I have a very special place in my heart for Hungary. Almost a year ago, I was privileged enough to have visited this amazing country as part of an Eastern European tour. Our last stop was Hungary, Budapest to be exact. During out tour, the most amazing thing happened- a volcano in Iceland started blowing ash across Europe, effectively putting air travel at a standstill. We were stuck in Budapest for an extra six days. The city is lovely, the people are kind and generous and I now hold this country near and dear to me.

Last weekend for my dad's birthday, I brought over a botle of red wine from Hungary. The grape is the Kekfrankos grape and the winery is J & J Eger (2006). The Kekfrankos grape is also known as Blaufrankisch grape- blau meaning blue. This grape is very popular in Eastern Europe and is often known as the Pinot Noir of the East. The wine is described as being natural in taste and the soil is rich in volcanic tufa soils.

The wine is quite dark and it had a nice spicy kick to it (cinnamon I've read). Kristin and I really liked this wine. Craig seemed to enjoy it as well. We polished off the whole bottle within the hour (and then Craig and Kristine proceeded to make their way through a few other bottles of wine as well). The wine also had a very distinct berry taste, perhaps strawberries and a slight hint of vanilla. All around, this was a very pleasant bottle of wine. The wine was $26.99 and was purchased at Liquor Select at 149th St. It is quickly becoming one of my favourite stores.

The wine paired nicely with a lovely lasagna my mom made from scratch. That's right, I said from scratch. She absolutely refuses to buy store bought lasagna and even makes her own pasta. Of course I'm full of b.s. but there's not much else to say about lasagna.

I will definitely be buying this wine again. It'll be one of those wines that I bring to a party as a nice pleasant surprise and for a couple of people to step away from their regular wine drinking. Chalk this one up in the wine column! 

As you can see from my picture, I wore red on Valentine's day. I may not at this time have any reason to celebrate Valentine's day other than my dad's birthday, I can still appreciate the day and hope that many of you had a fabulous day! I love wine too!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

#59- Aligote

Aligote- je t'aime! Oui, c'est vrai, cette vin ici est delicieux! In case you don't speak French (drink it and you will), I really liked this wine and thought it was delicious!

Maison Jeffelin is the winery in Beaune, France (House of Jaffelin) and the wine, the Bourgogne Aligote was purchased at the Liquor Depot in Callingwood for $20.49.

The Aligote grape is grown primarily in the Burgandy region of France as well as other parts of Eastern Europe. What's interesting about this grape is it can be referred to as the poor cousin to the Chardonnay and this grape actually did remind me of the Chardonnay- except for one thing- I liked this wine much better! It's not nearly as acidic and is much lighter (in colour and in taste)- it's almost like the wine grabbed the good stuff about a Chardonnay and discarded what I often hate about the Chardonnay. It's not oaky and it's not an overwhelming taste in your mouth. In other words, it's refreshing!

With this being a French wine, I paired the wine with a French pizza- aptly named the Parisien. One of my favourite cities on earth, this pizza was a beautiful reminder of the city (and better actually than the pizza I had in Paris- that had more to do with the shit service we had that day but nonetheless). The pizza was Tuscan style chicken on flatbread. Fabulous!! I hate to admit this but I ate the whole pizza myself that night. I'm pretty sure I hadn't eaten at all that day so I'm justifying eating a 1150 calorie pizza (and two glasses of wine) to myself so just go with it okay?

I haven't brought this wine over to mom's or Kristin's so I don't know how they'll react to the wine but I'll let you know soon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#58- Touriga Nacional

It is not a subtle wine by any stretch of the imagination. This nearly black in colour heavyweight leaves a lasting impression on you for sure. The Touriga Nacional wine is a wine to behold, and love. Needless to say, this wine didn't last long between the wine drinkers.

I picked this bottle of wine up at Liquor Select and it was, for our standards, a very cheap wine- $15.49!! I had a ton of fun actually at Liquor Select. Christina was very helpful and once she found out what I was doing for the blog, she went out of her way to help me grapes that I hadn't tasted yet. We managed to find nine and I bought a dozen bottle for my 10% discount!

I did note that the wine was quite acidic or tannic (though it's supposed to be quite moderate but not this one!). The winery is the Alianca Winery from Portugal. The Touriga Nacional grape is often considered Portugal's finest grape and judging by this wine, I think I'll agree.

The bottle describes the wine, aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, is a warm, mouth filling wine with great concentration and structure. What a fantastic description. Again, I'm really starting to like oaky red wines and this one fits the bill. It's not too overpowering  at all and just slides nicely down throat. What struck me though is how well the fruit came through in the wine and blended nicely with the oak.

The winery recommends pairing it with a meaty dish or casserole so I dug into the meal my mom gave me (have I mentioned that I haven't gone shopping in weeks and am running out of food?)- so she sent me home with some chili. And it was a perfect match.

Bringing it to dad's birthday celebration, Kristin, my mom and Craig managed to polish off a lot of wine, including this one. But all three of them liked it (I think- I may have forgotten to ask). While this is a wine not to be drunk by the white wine lover, if you appreciate a full bodied wine, the Touriga Nacional grape is for you. So a big happy Valentine's to this red as well- all thumbs up. We drank another red that night that is coming up for review in a couple of days....and let's put it this way-- we're on a wine roll!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#57- Semillon

Mendoza, Argentina wine- you are a sweet one. And we like you (though not everyone tasting you had an easy time drinking you- you are that sweet).

Let me introduce you to a wine that could easily be disguised as an expensive ice wine or dessert wine for an affordable price. The grape is Semillon and the winery is Lancatay Huarpe Wines. They make a huge variety of wines and I encourage you to check out their website.

I enjoyed this wine and I didn't even pair it with dessert (though we did have it with birthday cake on Sunday- happy birthday dad!) and it was almost too sweet. I ended up having it with a simple dinner I had thrown together one evening- chicken and broccoli. I appreciated that I wasn't overwhelmed by sweetness and the broccoli really paired well with it in my humble opinion.

The Semillon grape is made for sweet wines, the wine a beautiful golden honey brown. It is fruity in taste (this one in particular had hints of apples) and other aromas such as fruits and florals (this one had a rose aroma).  it is a heavy and dry wine and one describes it perfectly when the wine is described as having an oily texture. It's not light on the tongue and it has a "fullness" to the wine. That is if you can get over how sweet this wine is. Kristin had a hard time drinking it. I did not. Craig seemed to enjoy the wine as well. But I should note that Kris, Craig and my mom drank this wine after trying two other reds so their pallettes were not perfect (always hard to follow a red with a white).

I would definitely recommend this wine for a nice summer sipping wine (and yes, it should be sipped, the bottle itself was not a 750ml bottle- maybe half that).