500!

century_club_seal_smallHere we are – another post about stats, right??? Before you click away, can I ask for a minute to explain myself? 500 has nothing to do with views, followers or any other blog statistics, no, not at all. These 500 has a bit more interesting meaning (dare I suggest so). It is actually not even 500 but 517 to be precise (but I think 500 looks cool in the title), and if you didn’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about the grape counter which appears in the right column of this blog, and it is also related to The Wine Century Club.

This post is well overdue – I submitted my Pentavini application back in March (didn’t hear anything yet). I was planning to write a few more posts explaining in greater detail how I finally got to cross the 500 grapes boundary before I would write this very post. One post was supposed to be about a great Hungarian wine tasting last June (2014) where I picked up 5 new grapes – that post never happened, unfortunately.

Finally I gave up on trying to catch up on all the “shoulda, coulda”, and moved right to this post.

When I started the Wine Century Club journey about 8 years ago, I couldn’t even imagine that I will get hooked on it so well; even when I crossed 300 grapes mark, I didn’t see it possible to get to the 500. Nevertheless, here I am, at 517, and I’m sure there will be more.

I know that many of my readers are participating in The Wine Century Club. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, you can find all information here. The Wine Century Club is a free and open “self-guiding” group of “grape enthusiasts” (yes, you call us geeks) – people who obsess themselves with looking for and tasting as many grapes as possible – and of course having fun while doing that.

The grape hunting becomes an obsession when you scour the back label, producer web site and everything else possible on Internet to find information about the grapes used to make that bottle of wine. Once you figure out the grapes (if you are lucky enough to do it for the given wine and given vintage), your job is not done – you still have to figure out if you didn’t have already the same grape under a different name (simple example – Grenache and Garnacha), or may be this is still the same grape, only with a slightly different spelling. Once all the checks pass successfully, you can add the grape to you collection.

Today it is a lot easier to “collect the grapes”, compare to the time when I just started with the Century Club. Information is more readily available, and also there are lots more grapes which were almost extinct, but now reborn, replanted and becoming tasty differentiators for the winemakers. And more often than not, these obscure wines are a pleasure to drink. They often offer surprising depth of flavor and nuances which make this grape journey really a pleasant experience. I had wines made from Pigato, Pugnitello, Coda di Volpe, Bobal, Trepat, Listan Negro and many others, and they were delicious – what else do you need from a bottle of wine?

If you will get hooked on this Wine Century geekiness, you should know that there are some shortcuts you can take. Well, there is one shortcut which is legal – Giribaldi Cento Uve wine from Piedmont in Italy, which is made out of 152 varietals (though 50% of grapes in that wine are Nebbiolo, and the other 51% comprise 151 varietals) – however, you need to have at least the first level (100 grapes) to make this shortcut legal. I did took it, and you can read about it here.

Second shortcut exists, but it is illegal (The Wine Century Club rules prohibit using of it). Another Italian wine, Vino Della Pace Cantina Produttori Cormòns Vino Blanco, is made out of the whopping 855 varietals. This wine is produced from the experimental vineyard called The Vineyard of the World, where all those 855 (or more) varietals are growing together. Most of the information about this wine is available only in Italian, but if interested, search for it by the name, you will be able to find some bits and pieces (here is one reference for you). If you are curious to see the list of grapes, I got it for you here – you can count on your own. I have a bottle of this wine, but as usual, I don’t know what would be the right moment to open it (hopeless, I know).

Last piece of advice in case you will embrace this fun journey or you are already in, but stumbling: pay attention. Yes, pay attention to the back labels and wine descriptions. During recent Provence tasting I found out that there is a grape called Tibouren which is very often used in Provence Rosé – I would guess that I had it before, but never paid attention to. Another example – Turley Petite Sirah Library Vineyard. This particular wine is a treasure trove for the grape hunters. Here are the grapes which can be found in that bottle: Red – Petite Syrah, Peloursin, Cinsault, Syrah, Mission, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Carignan, Grenache, and Zinfandel; White – Muscat Alexandria, Muscadelle, Burger, and Green Hungarian. 14 different grapes in one bottle of wine, and many of them are very rare – not bad for a bottle of wine. And by the way, Turley Petite Sirah Library Vineyard is one delicious wine.

In case you might find it helpful, I recently updated the page which contains information about all the grapes I tried for The Wine Century journey, together with the names of the wines which I had. I have to admit that there are still 3 grapes from the original table (the one which I downloaded when I just started with the Wine Century Club) which I still was unable to try – Arvine Grosso, Irsai Oliver and Plavac Mali – they are extremely hard to find in the US. Well, the journey is not over…

What can I leave you with? Go get a bottle of wine made from the grapes which you never had before – there is a good chance you will enjoy it. The grape journey is one of the most fun journeys you can take – let’s drink to the never ending pleasures of discovery! Cheers!

  1. August 18, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Awesome! Congrats! I need to find time to write up my 100 and submit. Too much to do; not enough time. I will get to it sooner or later. Again congrats and cheers.

    • talkavino
      August 18, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Thanks, Michelle! This is fun exercise for sure – but yes, there are too many things to do… Try to find time – once you will pass over the first 100, the further you go, the more interesting it gets 🙂

  2. August 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Wow, Anatoli! 500?!? And I thought I was doing good to make it to 100!! Congrats & Salud!

  3. August 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Congratulations!

  4. August 18, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    An amazing achievement, bet the journey has been fun!

    • talkavino
      August 19, 2015 at 7:39 am

      I don’t know if this can be really classified as an achievement, but the journey for sure was (and still is) fun!

  5. August 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Lol. Fun challenge. I’d say you should only count 100% pure varietal wines, so you actually know what the grape tastes like. But then it’d be much harder to get to 500… Have you had lacrima di morro d’alba (Marche) and ruchè (Piemonte), to mention the first rare grapes that come to mind? (Yeah I know I could go check on your list.) Leaving soon for Friuli, so I will definitely try some more new grapes.

    • talkavino
      August 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

      Going after pure varietals would be quite difficult, and I think it would take a lot of fun out of the challenge, as it will make it far more costly and far less fun. Some of the grapes, like Colorino, you can never find on their own, as they used in the small quantities to enhance color. And your task might still be very difficult, as lots of wines carry the main grape’s name on the label, but still have minuscule amount of additional grapes blended in for variety of reasons… Yes, I had Ruche (a few of the excellent wines), and I had Lacrima from Marche (these are improving over the past 4-5 years).

      • August 19, 2015 at 5:33 pm

        Good point about grapes that are never vinified on their own, I had not thought of that. And I can also see that figuring out which grapes are actually in a blend can be fun.

        • August 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm

          P.S. You are so right it is fun. I’ve just brainstormed with myself and came to 102 grapes that I’m sure I’ve had. I’m sure I’ve had more, but I guess I’m eligible to join the club 🙂 Aglianico, Albana, Albariño, Aligoté, Arinto, Arneis, Barbera, Black Muscat, Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Carignano, Carmenère, Carricante, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cinsault, Coda di Volpe, Cortese, Corvina, Dolcetto, Erbaluce, Falanghina, Favorita, Fiano, Frühburgunder, Furmint, Gaglioppo, Gamay, Garganega, Gewürztraminer, Glera/Prosecco, Grechetto, Greco, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Noir, Grignolino, Gros Manseng, Grüner Veltliner, Guarnaccia/Perricone/Pignatello, Hárslevelü, Kadarka, Kékfrankos, Lacrima (di Morro d’Alba), Lagrein, Lambrusco Sorbara, Loureiro, Malbec, Malvasia, Marsanne, Merlot, Molinari, Montepulciano, Moscato rosa, Mourvèdre, Müller-Thurgau, Muscadelle, Muscat blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat of Alexandria, Nebbiolo, Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola, Palomino, Pédro Ximénez, Petit Manseng, Petit Rouge, Petit Verdot, Piedirosso, Pinot Blanc/Bianco/Weissburgunder, Pinot Gris/Grauburgunder, Pinot Noir/Spätburgunder, Pinotage, Riesling, Rondinella, Roscetto, Roussane, Ruchè, Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Savatiano, Schiava, Sémillon, Shiraz, Sylvaner, Tempranillo, Timorasso, Touriga Nacional, Trajadura, Trebbiano, Uva di Troia, Verdejo, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Vernaccia, Viognier, Viura, Welschriesling, Zinfandel/Primitivo, Zweigelt

        • talkavino
          August 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm

          Great! Submit your application – it is free!

  6. August 18, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Great achievement!

    • talkavino
      August 19, 2015 at 7:33 am

      Thank you – but you seriously making me blush – so I did drink lots of wines, that’s about all there is to it. But – for sure it was a fun process 🙂

  7. August 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Cheers! I lost count a while ago….

    • talkavino
      August 21, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      I had ups and downs on adding new grapes, but I do make effort to keep at least some records, so it is all traceable 🙂

  8. August 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    What a magnificent achievement, Anatoli! Surpassing the 500 mark is quite incredible.
    I absolutely love the concept of the Wine Century Club and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do 😛
    Cheers!

    • talkavino
      August 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      You are too kind, Julian. Don’t know about achievement, but it is fun exercise for sure, and it helps in keeping the humble attitude around wines…

  9. August 23, 2015 at 2:51 am

    Love the fact that there are wines out there with SO many varietals included – I had no idea! 517 is a fabulous achievement Anatoli – great work! and very tough work, I bet too! 😉

    • talkavino
      August 24, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Thank you, Margot. That was a lot of hard work 🙂

  10. August 27, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Anatoli, a wonderful achievement. I guess I should at least see, if I can make the 100 mark.

    • talkavino
      August 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Thank you, John, you are too kind. I’m sure you got at least a 100 – I would surprised if it is not much more.

  11. Marc Braes
    September 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Hallo Anatoli,
    Thanks or your list but if Wine Grapes (Jances Robinson and co) is correct, some modifications should be made:
    Findling= Muller Thurgeau, Grecanico=Garganega,Heida= Savagnin Blanc,Malvasia Puntinata= Malvazia del Lazio,MOscatel Galego Branco+Moscato Reale and Muscat de Frontignan = Muscat Blanc,Procanico= Ugni BLanc,Turbiana= Verdicchio Bianca, Zibibbo= Muscat of Alexandri, Albarin Negro = Alfrocheiro,Cesanese and Cesanese di Affile are the same,Friularo= Roboso Piave,Groslot= Grolleau Noir, Pais = Listan Prieto,Prugnolo Gentile= Sangiovese,Tinta Miuda= Gracianoi, Tintilla= Trousseau,Tinta de Toro= Tempranillo, Verdejo Negro = Trousseau Marc, grape count 336

    • talkavino
      September 6, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      Marc, thank you for your feedback. It is great that you spent time and went through my table so thoroughly. I think you missed some other “duplicates” such as Cannonau and Grenache, and there can be more – I will add a disclaimer to the table so people will be aware that there can be some duplicates. I checked first issue which you mentioned, Findling = Muller Thurgau, and according to Wikipedia, these are related but different grapes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Findling. Also, as far as I’m concerned, grapes such as Tempranillo and Tinto de Toro, also known as Ink of Toro, or Sangiovese and Sangiovese Grosso, are not the same and at the best, they can be considered clones – so they will stay as such in my table…

  1. February 1, 2016 at 11:10 am

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