Home > Hexavin, rare grapes, The Wine Century Club > Pleasures of Obscure: Enjoying the Journey

Pleasures of Obscure: Enjoying the Journey

February 6, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments

Many moons ago I got bit by the bug of collecting the … grape experiences. Back in 2007 or so, I discovered The Wine Century Club. The word “century” here is used for its exact meaning – a 100. In order to become a member of the Wine Century Club, one has to fill up the application and specify how many grape varieties he or she had tried – as soon as you hit the 100, you can send the application to the designated email address, and your membership certificate will be mailed to you.

The club works on the complete honor system, but there is a legend that if you will lie on your application, your palate will be cursed forever – I don’t know if anyone tried to play the system, but I definitely don’t want my palate to be cursed, so I never tried.

When I started this blog back in 2010, I was at the 200 grapes level – so-called Doppel. I carefully documented my journey to the 300 mark (a Treble Member) under the category of Treble Journey. Since that time I managed to reach the 500 level (called Pentavini) back in February of 2016 (exactly 4 years ago) – and this was the last post on the subject of The Wine Century Club – however, I continued documenting my “rare grape” discoveries throughout the posts (that is yet another category in here), and I still hope to reach the 600 mark (called Hexavini) in my lifetime, even though the process became considerably slower at this point. There are more than 1,300 grapes used in the winemaking today, but it doesn’t mean that wines made out of those grapes are readily available, easy to find, and inexpensive.

While reaching the highest possible number of grapes tasted is the goal, my main joy is in the journey itself. There are multiple fun aspects of that journey. First, you get to drink unique and different wines. When taking a sip of Kharkuna or Prunelart, you have no preconceived notions. You can’t say “ohh, it doesn’t taste like Cabernet”, because it is not Cabernet. You now have to decide if you like or don’t like this specific wine in your glass – you have nothing to compare it to and be disappointed by comparison (“ohh, this $30 Cabernet tastes like crap compared to $20 bottle I had last week”) – you have to make a simple, binary decision – 1. I like it. 2. I don’t like it.

Secondly, you get to play a part of the wine sleuth – you need to find information about the grape, you need to find out if Ull de Liebre is a new grape for you, or if it is simply another name for Tempranillo, and you need to verify and compare your sources – lots and lots of fun, I’m telling you.

Ultimately, the list of grapes you tasted is yours and only yours, and you have to make some decisions – for example, will you count clones or not? Is Sangiovese Grosso the same as Sangiovese? Is Ink de Toro identical to Tempranillo, or should it be considered a different grape? What are you going to do about all of the Pinot Noir clones, which many producers, especially the ones in Oregon, love to tell you about? The journey of every grape geek is unique and different – and fun.

As I mentioned before, my last post on the subject of The Wine Century Club was 4 years ago. At that time, my “grape count” which you can see on the top of the blog, was standing at 518. During these four years, I managed to add another 37 varieties, now reaching the 555 total.

Here is another interesting tidbit for you. Only a month ago, I managed to finally complete the original (!) Wine Century Club table, by adding Arvine Grosso (original table, which you can find on the top of the page here,  had 184 varieties listed and had both Arvine and Petite Arvine) to the roster, so this was one of the triggers to this post.

I’m honestly not a hurry, I really enjoy this journey. I have another 3-4 wines made out of unique grape varieties, waiting to be open. Will I ever reach 600? I can’t tell. But I can tell you that I’m thoroughly enjoying each and every rare grape encounter – yes, you can call me a grape geek.

In case you are wondering, below is a full list of all 37 new rare grapes added to the collection over the past 4 years. Have you ever been bitten by the grape bug? Cheers!

White Grapes:

Albarín Blanco – 2014 Bodega Chacon Buenta DO Cangas
Albillo Mayor – 2016 Bodegas Vitulia Albillo Gran Seleccion Castilla y Leon D.O.
Arvine Grosso – 2017 Olivier Pittet Les Temps Passés Vin de Pays Romand Switzerland
Arroufiac – 2016 Héritage Blanc Saint-Mont AOP
Aurore – 2014 Clermont Vineyards Aurore Columbia County New York
Carlos Muscadine – Lakeridge Winery Proprietor’s Reserve, Florida
Cococciola – 2016 Masciarelli Villa Gemma Bianco Colline Teatine IGT
Frontenac Gris – 2016 Parley Lake Winery Frontenac Gris Minnesota
Goruli Mtsvane – 2014 Château Mukhrani Goruli Mtsvane, Georgian Republic
Hondarrabi Zuri Zerra – 2015 Xarmant Arabako Txakolina, Blanc, Spain
Irsay Oliver – 2015 Szõke Matyás Irsai Oliver Mátra, Hungary
Krakhuna – 2013 LaGvinari Krakhuna Kakheti, Georgian Republic
Khvikhvi – 2011 Shalvino Kardenakhvi SVA, Georgian Republic
Muškat Moravsky – 2015 Chateau Bzenec Muškat Moravsky Morava Czech Republic
Pálava – 2015 Vinium Velké Pavlovice Pálava Pozdní Sber Morava Czech Republic
Petit Courbu – 2016 Héritage Blanc Saint-Mont AOP
Souvignier-Muscaris – 2015 Domaine La Colombette Souvignier-Muscaris
Verdejo Malcorta – 2016 Javier Saiz V Malcorta Rueda Spain
Yamanashi – 2015 Grande Polaire Dry Koshu, Japan

Red grapes:

Arandell  – 2014 Clermont Vineyards Arandell Columbia County New York
Abouriou – 2015 Domaine Elian Da Ros Abouriou Côtes du Marmandais AOC
Borraçal – 2017 Seaside Cellars Rosé Vinho Verse DOC
Cabernet Moravia – 2009 Vino z Czech Ludwig Cabernet Moravia
Çalcarasi – 2017 Paşaeli Çalcarasi Rosé Aegean Turkey
Carmine – 2016 Galer Estate The Huntress Red Blend Chester County Pennsylvania
Durize – 2017 Olivier Pittet Durize Rouge de Fully Valais AOC Switzerland
Galotta – 2015 Domaine De La Ville Galotta Barrique Morges Switzerland
Moreto – 1995 Quinta do Poco do Lobo Bairrada Portugal
Neronet – 2013 Salabka Tes Yeux Neronet Prague Czech Republic
Noble Muscadine – Lakeridge Winery Proprietor’s Reserve, Florida
Otskhanuri – 2014 Amiran Vepkhvadze Otskhanuri Sapere, Georgian Republic
Plavac Mali – 2012 Dingač Vinarija Plavac Pelješac Peninsula Croatia
Prunelart – 2015 Domaine de Terrisses Terre Originelle Gaillac AOP
Susumaniello – 2016 Ruggero di Bardo Susumaniello Puglia IGP
Tempranillo Peluda – 2007 Boegas Sierra Cantabria Senorio de San Vicente
Tinta Francisca – 2015 Quinta dos Murças Minas Douro Valley, Portugal
Vinhão – 2017 Seaside Cellars Rosé Vinho Verse DOC

  1. February 8, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    I submitted my century list, but I haven’t heard anything back

    • February 9, 2020 at 9:46 pm

      It takes a while. The certificate comes from the UK. It is usually at least 3 months for me, I remember once it was close to 6. It will come… 🙂

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