The Grape Count

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

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

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?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#88- Verdicchio

Who cares if it's a Thursday night! As far as I'm concerned, it's always wine o'clock!

Sometimes you feel like you just need a glass of wine and this past Thursday (a week ago Thursday by the time this blog is actually published), I just needed a glass, or three. We're having a great month at my place of work. I work at a progressive and youthful media company and we like to tackle all sorts of projects from cartoon and 3D animation to video production, web design and development and everything in between. I of course harbour none of these talents. I write scripts, web content and manage many of the projects. In case you're interested, check out Avatar Media's website to see what I mean. We love all the projects we're tackling and busy is good. But busy can make you tired when you get home and put up your feet.

So I needed a wine to go with the very inexpensive, lazy and cheap dish I was making. I wasn't too hungry but knew I couldn't drink on an empty stomach. I had done that the night before and drank 6 wines at my wine class. Enough to know that food is always a friend to wine.

My pasta dish was from a package- herbed pasta to be exact. It took me 30 minutes to make start to finish and that includes the 10 minutes it took to boil the water and the 8 minutes I let it stand to thicken. If the saying is true- the way to a man's heart is through his stomach-- I have now identified my problem!

30 minutes of a chilled white wine is plenty. I grabbed one of the white wines I have left to try. I grabbed a 2009  Villa Bucci Classico wine from Italy. The wine is exported by Empson.

It is an oaked wine and 100% Verdicchio grapes. Now I'm not huge fan of oaked whites but this one is okay. I'm not a huge fan of this wine but I'm not dissing it either. Compared to the other wines I've had of late, this one is just a tad boring. I don't find it particularly aromatic and the flavours are hard to pick out, even the oak.  It says to pair with cheese. Well I had cheesy pasta- does that count?

Yeah, I can't say much about this wine. I am sipping it right now as I write and I'm left disappointed. I can barely discern much at all. I do not hold the same opinion of many people as a quick google of the wine will find you rave reviews and 90+ ratings of the wine. It just goes to show that wine drinking truly is a personal experience and preferences certainly do play into how you rate the wine.

The Verdicchio grape is grown in the Marche region of Italy. There is lots of information on this grape as it's a very popular grape to grow. Ah well, you can't like them all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#87- Marachel Foch

My mom is my unpaid wine researcher. She's very good at details and remember all sorts of neat facts. She let me know there was a grape from Nova Scotia Canada that I needed to check out (as she'd read about it). And so I started to do my homework and look up this grape only to discover that yes it does exist, wine is made from it but you can't get the darn thing in Alberta! Mental note: become wine agents and import little known grape varieties from Nova Scotia to Alberta. My bucket list is always getting longer and longer.

I didn't find the grape she told me to look up (and the name escapes me of course) but I did find that there are about a half dozen grape varieties that grow in Nova Scotia. And some were available here in the prairie.

I headed out to Liquor on McLeod in Spruce Grove and found the wine I was looking for. It is from Jost Vineyards and is their 2007 Marachel Foch. Now, I wish I could say the same for the last few posts and talk about how I'm catching up on my blogging weeks after I've drank the wine and the wine is still good even now. Nope. Can't do it.

Why? The dang bottle is empty! Yeah, this bottle didn't even last the evening it was so good! Now, I've heard that some people really don't like the Marachel Foch grape but I can't stop raving about. Or maybe it's the wine...

The wine is delicious. Not only do I think so but many others do as well. It was the 2009 All Canadian winner so that says something.

It is a dry wine but very well balanced and the fruity notes of the wine are harmonious and make your nose tingle. I get strawberries and currants on the nose with a hint of earthy notes. On the mouth, very much the red berry jumps out at you. It's just a fabulous summer red wine.  I of course paired the wine with pasta as it tells you to on the bottle. I read!

I had just finished making up a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce so I quickly boiled up some rotini and enjoyed my evening in .

The Marachel Foch grape is a cross bred grape originating in France (Alsace to be more specific). It is cold hardy and it makes it an ideal grape to grow in Nova Scotia (east coast of Canada for those who aren't too familiar with our fine country). It's becoming more and more popular to grow in Canada (Okanagan as well ) and the United States (Eastern US as well as the Willamette Valley in Oregon state).

Pure bliss.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#86- Verdejo

Off to my miniature wine cellar and when I say mini- I mean about 40 wines or so. I haven't yet set up my wine fridge and I should get on that but truth be told I don't really own any wines that need to be cellared or aged for that matter. One day when I strike it rich perhaps I'll start cellaring wine.

In any evernt, there was one wine that stood out. It is a wine that pairs with so many different dishes and is a great wine to have on hand for its versatility alone. It pairs with fish, shellfish, white meats, pasta dishes and selections of cold red meats. I was lazy tonight to make any food so I grabbed some fresh sushi (California rolls and some shrimp/avacado rolls) from Superstore. They actually make their sushi fresh and I can say I was very pleased with my rolls and ended up eating all 16 of them that night. I got home and changed and while I was getting ready I grabbed a bottle of  Herederos Del Marques de Riscal Rueda 2010 and put it in the fridge to chill.

Marques de Riscal is a Spanish wine in the Rueda Appellation of the country. It is known for making fresh and crispy and fruity wines and this wine was no exception. With flowery aromas and a hint of herbs, I could pick out the citrus on my nose almost right away. It is very strong and I would almost say grapefruit. It also has a grassy (hence the herbs) smell to it. The Rueda wine  is bright yellow in colour and clear as anything. It's quite glossy to look at. This is a very pleasant wine and to be honest, I've had it open quite a while in the fridge (and somehow the cork has disappeared) and it's still easy to drink after weeks of being open.

It is very smooth, aromatic in the mouth and has a medium finish. It's quite balanced and I am enjoying the sipping the wine as is. I really wish I had some sushi right now- if I wasn't still in my pyjamas (hey- I've been cleaning and doing homework all day- don't judge!) I would seriously consider going out.

The verdejo grape is native to the Rueda appellation in Spain even though it is believed to have come from North Africa first. It's not very acidic but is a medium to full bodied wine. An interesting note about this grape- it's harvested at night! This allows the wine to enter the cellars at a cooler temperature than most other wines. It's great chilled.

I should save some wine for Craig seeing as it's still good. We'll see how much I have left at the end of catching up on my blogs!