The Grape Count

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

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

#75- Mencia

I had to go and purchase another bottle of the Peique Beirzo Tinto Mencia bottle of wine so Craig can try it (I'll bring it on our camping trip next weekend) so we may have a slight revision to this post. I purchased the wine at Aristocrat Liquor in Edmonton. it looks like a total dive but I'm rather impressed by the selection of wines they have there. I was able to pick up 5 wines there that I hadn't tried before. Never judge a book by its cover I guess.

The wine is from the Peique Bierzo in Spain.
We drank the bottle of Mencia at our wine club last weekend and with us having just drank 6 ports, sherries and Australian stickies, it was really hard to determine if I liked this wine or not. Anyone drinking it there loved it simply because it wasn't sweet. I know our host Miranda and her husband ended up finishing the bottle so I can imagine it was half decent.

From what I can remember, I liked this red wine. It's not a grape that shows up on the Wine Grape Varietal table but it is a grape unto it's own and the bottle is very specific saying it is 100% Mencia grapes. It is a Spanish wine and it is similar to a Cabernet Franc. it is a bit on the sweet side and I'm guessing that's why there was very indistinguishable characteristics to it at the wine club. Here's hoping the second time around I can pull some more aromas and flavours from it. This type of wine (Mencia) is gaining popularity in Spain so look for it more and more.

We paired the wine with a Calabrese salad (Italian but similar in regions) as a Calabrese salad goes well with sweeter wines. I would say it was a great match and highly recommend the pairing. Besides being a very pretty salad, it's super easy to make and really good for you!

I am really looking forward to trying this wine again and seeing what I come up with this time. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

#74- Roditis

It can also be spelt Rhoditis. Where do I even begin with this Greek wine?

I had this bottle of wine visiting my parents. We had chinese food and I know probably not the best food to eat with a Greek wine but after drinking this wine, I'm not any food would have done. And besides, I hadn't had chinese food in a while and I didn't care. It's not about perfect wine/food pairings anyway this little experiment of mine.

So what about the wine? I'm pretty sure that even if you didn't have a good wine palette, you'd be able to figure this one out. In fact, Craig pegged the smell and taste right away while my mom and I took a few sips (very strangled sips) to determine exactly what it was.

The taste is pine. Yes pine! Imagine sipping on Pine Sol cleaner and it's pretty much what you get with this wine. It was so bizarre. For the first while it was quite undrinkable, the stringent pine taste and smell was too overpowering. It just didn't seem right to be drinking a wine with such a pine taste.

I let the wine sit for a while and it did become a bit easier to drink but I'm not entirely sure if it's because you become instantly drunk (or high?) off the first few sips and then don't give a damn.

The Roditis grape is a lightweight and very similar to a Silvaner, Greco and Inzolia wines. Except I liked the others. I wouldn't buy this wine again unless I was attempting to show people an unusual wine of aromatic proportions (it's not often you get to pull a pine smell and taste from a bottle of wine- a long ways from the usual berry or tropical taste we're used to in a white wine).

So do I suggest you pass on this wine? Certainly not. It's one of the wines you have to try it to believe it. But don't say I didn't warn you...

Friday, August 26, 2011

#73- Melon de Bourgogne

Is that not the best name ever for a grape? Seriously. The wine I drank is the melon de Bourgogne grape but it's also known as Muscadet and that's what it said on the bottle but I'm going with the official grape name on this one for sure!

The winery is Chateau du Coing de St. Fiacre. The winery is located in France. It's a great website but note to the websmaster- not all of us are fond of listening to music and it'd be great if I could turn it off on the website rather than having to mute my computer.The wine is also known as Tradition Millenaire and there's a great description of it on the website.

The grape is considered a light lightweight and very acidic. It is very similar to a Riesling so if you like the lighter, sweeter white wines (but not a dessert wine), then you will likely like this wine. I did enjoy it very much. It was a beautiful evening outside and hung out back on my patio, just sitting and chilling, drinking the white wine and paired it with fresh shrimp and a nice shrimp dipping sauce. I wasn't sure about the pairing but the freshness of the wine went really well with the cool shrimp.

The Melon de Bourgogne grape is French (melon of Burgandy is what it translates to literally) but is found in other parts of the world as well. Outside of France, it's known as Melon as France is the only area in the world that can call their wines Muscadet.

It was very easy to drink and it took a lot of resistance not to drink the whole bottle and leave Craig any. As you can see by the picture, the wine was very yellow and that surprised me as usually that is an indication to me that I'm not going to like the wine very much. But I did- with a hint of spice and with the fruitiness of peach coming through, I found it an easy wine to drink.

It's definitely a great alternative to a Riesling if you're looking for a nice summer white and don't want to fall back on the regular wines.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

#72- Dornfelder

Good ol' Dr. Zen Zen. Sometimes the familiar is the best. I picked up a bottle of Dr. Zen Zen the other day from the local Liquor Depot. The bottle wasn't quite $20. The winery itself makes quite a few different wines and you can usually count on them to make a fairly decent product. The wine is German but the Dr. Zen Zen label is often imported under a USA label so if you're looking to pick a bottle up, you may want to check both spots.

Worth it? You betcha! This bottle did not disappoint. I had paired the wine with a lovely dinner that I was pretty proud of- barbequed steak with side salad and fresh corn on the cob. My house has been excrutiatingly hot lately so any excuse not to have to cook indoors suits me fine. The steak was absolutely melt in your mouth and the corn on the cob is especially good this year (maybe it's all the rain we've had...)

In any case, the Dornfelder wine is pretty darn good and my brother Craig has had it before and agrees with me. It was very juicy and aromatic and was sweet enough to go really well with the juicy, bloody steak. It's not very tannic so it's an easy wine to drink and I think most red wine drinkers would find this a pleasant wine.

The Dornfelder grape is of German origin and is a pretty popular grape to grow. It's not the easiest grape to get in these parts but I often find that Canada is lacking in its selection of wines, especially here in Alberta. I wish we'd see more variety- my God how many bottles of Chardonnay and Shiraz can one girl drink? The variety is there- just within the limited grapes we bring in. I find it rather sad. There are so many grape varieties out there, we need to be doing more to encourage importers to broaden our wine palettes a lot more.

Enough of the rant. The wine was great and it would be a great wine to pick up if you're in the mood for an easy drinking red but aren't feeling like your usual Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

#71- Silvaner

Also known as Sylvaner D'Alsace which is what I picked up for the third and final wine of the camping trip. The winery is Dopff & Irion in France.

I found the Silanver very similar to the Inzolia wine though I found the Inzolia easier to drink. My mom however liked this wine a bit better. It was a great pairing with the barbequed chicken and salad that had been made on the open fire. Mom did a great job with them. The wine was chilled and ready to go and again, a nice way to end our day of hiking. We did a shorter hike but it was much more beautiful and in an area of Jasper that none of us had explored before. It was a great day, the day before I set off and they took off for their camping trip down to Yellowstone.

The silvaner grape is a grape that's often blended to make more "famous" wines- such as the Liebfraumilch. On its own, it's a bit bland and that's how I'd describe this wine. It didn't really stand out to me at all. It had a herbal taste to it and was quite earthy in taste but with  refreshing twist. I know, weird combo huh?

I think this is a wine I'd like to try again and compare it to some of the other whites that I like. Because it's been so similar to many of the wines I've tried in the last while, I'm not sure if I'm actually properly analyzing the wine or simply comparing it to the most recent wine I've just drunk.

This past weekend I gave Craig half a dozen wines that he has to try and give his opinion on. Hopefully he does this sooner than later...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#70- Inzolia

Another day of camping, another day of drinking wine.

After a great day of hiking 8 km roundtrip in bear country, we were ready for some wine.

But I do have to mention that I had a great time hiking with my parents. I know that they sometimes think they're too slow and hold me up on hikes but one thing I learned from the Everest trek is that the hike is about the journey, not the finish line. I had a great time with them, with or without the bears. In fact, we didn't see any wildlife at all on the hike.

So back at the campsite, we started up our fire and started to prep the food for dinner. Now remember, we're cooking over open flame so the simpler the better. This evening's food du jour- hamburgers! And the hamburgers were delicious! We piled on the vegetables between the nicely toasted buns and dug in. Now I suppose I should have had a red wine with this meal but I had two whites so white wine it was.

The wine we had is the Contempo Inzolia from Sicily, Italy. The Contempo name means "at the same time" and is supposed to represent the winery's past to future- or something like that. The winery is the Abbazia Santa Anastasia Winery (note to the winery- your site takes way too long to upload). I'd like to talk a little more about the winery but it's all in Italian and their English site is not up yet. But I do like the violin music (er...)

The Inzolia wine is a very fragrant grape and was a very easy wine to drink. At first, I didn't like this wine at all but it did grow on me as the night grew on and the wine settled a bit. Even in the silver tumblers, the bright yellow colour of the wine was unmistakable. I'd have to say though I was pretty neutral on it as it was very reminiscent of the other white wine I had just tried- the tocai fruilano. It's not a wine I'd go out of my way to go and buy but if I was offered another glass of it, I wouldn't pass it up.

The Inzolia grape is also known as the Ansonica grape (sounds dangerous).There's not much else to tell you except that I'd recommend you go and try the Inzolia grape yourself. Craig is going a big wine catch up this weekend so I'll actually  be able to give you his opinions. By the way, mom liked it...

Monday, August 15, 2011

#69- Fer

My apologies to my brother first and foremost because my mother and I didn't bother to save him any of this wine. In case you're wondering if we liked this wine or not, the answer is a resounding yes!

I brought three wines with me on a 4 day camping trip with my parents before we parted ways and they left to continue their vacation down into the States and more specifically, Yellowstone National Park. They are on nearly home as I just got the call from mom-  and my poor mother has missed so much of my online life (Facebook updates, all the photos- hundreds of them that I've uploaded from my recent trip) and of course a few wine posts!

The wine was a surprise- I didn't think I'd like it. The wine is similar in acidity and weight to the Concord grape which I hated and very similar to the Cabernet Franc (which I liked but not in its sparkling form). It could have been the great outdoors and the fresh air but all I know is my mother and I didn't leave a drop of this wine for Craig. Good thing he works at a liquor store and can order his own wine now...

In any case, the wine I tried is from Domaine de Brau in France. The grape of course is the Fer grape and hence why the wine is called Fer (Servadou) Pure. They have another wine that is made of a grape I've never heard of- Egiodola that I'd like try and I'll see if I can track down.

The bottle hints the wine tastes to you on its very simple label- floral, smooth and complex. And it was indeed. I could have drank this wine all night. It was a sweet red but not enough to categorize it in the dessert wines but those of you who don't like a dry red and prefer a much more fruitier and lighter taste such as the Cabernet Franc, this wine is for you.

It is crisp and light on the tongue yet has a disctinct earth taste to it (very appropriate for camping). Perhaps a little green pepper as well? But the berry taste was quite strong and I felt it was a great compliment to the open fire steaks we'd made with side salad (the dressing of the salad was homemade and mostly consisted of oil and vinegar) and believe it or not, balanced the wine out quite nicely.

As I said before, I do apologize to Craig we didn't leave him any of it to try but knowing his wine palette, he'd give this one a two thumbs up!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#68- Cabernet Franc

I hate playing catch up sometimes because things get lost. Somewhere I have pictures of the bottle, me drinking the wine and the food I ate it with but I seemed to have misplaced them. Perhaps my mother took pics? In any case, I'll have them soon and can properly update this post.

I liked this Cabernet Franc and I'm glad I did as our wine club had a Cabernet Franc at the July club meeting (it was supposed to be a substiture for a Brachetto which are apparently not good this year) and it was awful. So awful none of us bothered to really try more than just a sip. It was a tad on the sweet side-- okay it was way too sweet but they were trying to make it a comparable sparkling wine.

Well I recommend you stick with just a good old regular Cabernet Franc. The one I tried is Canadian as is from Tinhorn Creek located in the Okanagan, British Columbia. Their Cabernet Franc is a winner and sure to please! I love when Canadian wines meet and exceed my expectations.

The wine itself is very dark in colour and very aromatic (if you do the chest, chin, nose test) you can smell it from your chest. It's got a wonderul balanced taste of cherries and blackberries to it and to me, capture the feel and senses you want when you're in the beautiful BC interior.

I'm not a fan of oaky white usually but I am of oaky reds and this one has been aged for about a year in oak and adds the perfect balance to the wine. A definite win for this grape.

The Cabernet Franc grape is a popular grape in France but also in Canada and the States, likely due to our climate. It is also a very good wine to be used for ice wine.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

#67- Tocai Fruilano

As soon as I got back from my two and half month journey, I jumped right back into the drinking (the writing part is a different story). I hadn't had much wine at all as wine seems to be very expensive in Asia. When I was in Indonesia (Bali to be specific), we ordered two bottles of Australian wine and the bill came to $80! And this is a country that is not at all far from Australia. So we stuck to beer mostly.

So as you can tell by the next couple of pictures, I got pretty tan! The Same Same shirt is from Thailand and if you've ever been there or Cambodia (which I also visited), you know exactly what that shirt means!

I didn't feel much like cooking so it was some home cooked meals and the parents house. The first meal I paired the white wine- Tocai Fruilano with was salmon cakes with swiss chard as the side. The meal was absolutely delicious. The wine- I'm neutral.

There is nothing about this wine that sticks out in particular except how bright yellow it is (interesting to note that two other whites I tried are very similar in colour to the Tocai and they appear very closely together on the Wine Grape Varietal table...). The wine is very fruity and super easy to drink. It's got a little kick to it- almost spicy. And pressed for it, I could taste the pears.

Tocai Fruilano . And today, you can't actually get a Tocai Fruilano any longer as the name has changed because of recent rulings by the wine police (I'm just kidding) but there have been name changes and an interesting article gives more details on why and when. Today it is now known as Sauvignon Vert (green) and if looked at in proper light, some have a green streak. When the wine is from Italy it's known now as just Fruilano. This wine is from Slovenia so I'm guessing they're still allowed to call it a Tocai Fruilano. Confused yet? I am because reading about Sauvignon Vert, it says that the Hungarian version is the Furmint but to me that's an entirely different grape. Can anyone sort this for me?

 I couldn't find a website for the Movia Winery but did confirm through some other blogs that it is indeed in Slovenia.


Friday, August 12, 2011

#66- Concord

So it's been a few months since I last posted but I've been very busy and I think I have a good excuse!! From May to July, 10 weeks in total, I was away in Southeast Asia on a vacation/journey of sorts. In May, I successfully completed the Everest Base Camp trek- 24 days of climbing- up and down- and eventually reaching Everest Base Camp on May 25th! It was the hardest thing I've ever done both mentally and physically. But well worth it!

I didn't post at all in April as I was very busy getting ready for the trek and didn't drink much. Needless to say I have some catching up to do to get myself back on track. Technically I should be on wine #84 and I'm just now writing #66 (though I have 5 more ready to go) so I'm basically a whole semester behind and will have to double up at least 13 weeks to do it. Shucks darn- two bottles a week!

So let's get back at this shall we? The Concord grape is one that we tried back in April at our wine club and there was a broad consensus on this wine- we didn't like it. Well Craig did as it's super sweet but most of us found it a little strong and tasting way too much like grape juice. Makes sense- it is the grape they often use to make grape juice.

The grape is very popular for juices because the skin slips off the grape quite easily, making it ideal for drinks.
 It is also almost exclusively cultivated in the Eastern United States. This wine is also kosher meaning people of the Jewish faith can drink this wine.

The type of wine we had came in a square bottle (that should have told us something right there...) and was made by Manischewitz Winery. The wine is made, as the site proclaims " and bottled under the strict Rabbinical supervision of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. All of our fine products carry the mark of quality that signifies adherence to Orthodox Union guidelines."

The best way to describe is to say it tastes just like grape juice. So save yourself a few bucks here and just buy yourself some Welch's grape juice. I'm pretty sure the alcohol content is about the same as well. We had the wine at the wine club so a variety of appetizers were tried when drinking this wine.

The next wine tried is the Tocai Fruilano grape. I don't have high expectations for it as the last time I had a grape with the word Tokay in it, it was disgusting!

And here are a couple of pictures from the Everest Base Camp trek- one of our first view of the big beast and then a picture of me at Everest Base Camp!