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Study of Grapes, 152 at a Time

July 31, 2012 6 comments

How do you experience 152 grape varieties, all at the same time? Easy. You get a bottle of Giribaldi Cento Uve wine and … voilà!

As you probably know, I’m an enthusiastic member of the Wine Century Club – a virtual club dedicated to the grape adventures. I already talked too many times about virtues of the Wine Century Club, thus I’m not going to bore you with those details again. Instead, let me focus on only one, dare I say it, sacred bottle of wine – 2005 Giribaldi Cento Uve Langhe DOC.

What makes this wine “sacred”? It is made out of 50% Nebbiolo and the other 50% containing additional 151 (!) varieties, so it can really help you to advance in the quest for higher levels of The Wine Century Club membership (except that it doesn’t count towards the first level of membership with 100 varieties). The wine is almost impossible to find in US – except one wine shop in Colorado which actually carries it (if you are interested, the wine is available from The Vineyard Wine Shop, 303-355-8324). When I called the store to order this wine, gentleman who answered the phone, Matt, said that he is quite convinced that they don’t have any wine under such name – after checking his computer, he was surprised more than me by actually finding it. At $60 + $20 for the shipping, this was definitely worth the experience.

Interestingly enough, finding this wine and drinking it was the easiest part – the tough (seriously tough) part was figuring out what grapes I already tasted and what grapes I can actually add to my list. As this is one of the coolest parts of Wine Century Club membership ( figuring out what is what in the grape world), let me explain it with appropriate level of details.

To begin with, the web site for this wine states that it contains 152 varieties. The list of grapes is nowhere to be found on the winemaker’s web site. The only place on internet where you can find the list is at the Indian Wine Academy. Well, list is a list, you say, right? Yes, but not precisely. As I need to properly account for all the grapes I already tasted, I need to go through that list very carefully, line by line. As soon as I started going through the list, I noticed duplications (same grapes listed twice, like Gamay, for instance) – I called it a red flag and decided that the right thing to do is to contact Giribaldi, the winemaker. After 2 or 3 of my e-mails went unanswered, I decided that it is a time to … get an audience support? No, call a friend! And as I happened to have a good friend in Italy, Corrado, I asked him to help me to get to the correct list. This was not easy, but after a few conversations with the winery, he was able to get full description of the wine, including the list of grapes.

Yay? Nope. The list of grapes was … identical to the one published on the site of the Indian Wine Academy! Fine. From here on, I had to figure it out myself. I converted the list to the Excel file, and sorted it alphabetically. Then I had to figure out how to get from 156 varieties listed to the 152 which we know this wine has. It later downed on me that 156 varieties  include Nebbiolo and 4 Nebbiolo clones , therefore if we will take all 5 Nebbiolo varieties from consideration we will get to the target number of 151. Whew. Tired of me yet? No? Let’s continue.

Next step was to remove obvious duplicates, then go through the list again. For every grape I didn’t know, I used Internet resources to verify that such a grape exists (i.e., referenced at least once on one or more sites). Here is the good list of references in case you ever need to conduct a search on grape etymology (Italian grapes, if you will):

After all the cleanup, removing duplicates, fixing the spelling and checking the references, I got to the final list of 138 grapes (don’t ask me where the 14 went – let’s keep it a grape mystery), out of which I was unable to find any references for the grape called Michele Pagliari – therefore I’m keeping it on the list, but not counting towards the new grapes. In case you want to see a transition here is an excel file for you – note that is has multiple spreadsheets inside starting from full list. Here is the list of those final 138 grapes.

Legend: letter N next to the grape stands for Nero (red), B is for Bianche (white), Rs is for Rose. Showing in Bold are the grapes which I count as new grapes for my grape count.

Aglianico N Michele Pagliari N
Albarola N Montepulciano N
Albarossa N Moscato bianco B
Aleatico N. Moscato giallo B
Alicante Bouschet N Moscato nero di Acqui N
Ancellotta N. Moscato Rosa Rs
Arneis B Muller Thurgau B
Avanà N Nascetta B
Avarengo N Nebbiolo  N.
Baco Nero N Nebbiolo ( Bolla) N
Barbera bianca B. Nebbiolo ( Rosè) N
Barbera N. Nebbiolo (Lampia) N
Becuet N. Nebbiolo (Michet)N
Bianchetta Tevigiano B Negrette N
Bianchetta Veronese B Neretta cuneese N.
Bombino Bianco B Neretto di Bairo N
Bombino Nero N Nero Buono N
Bonarda Piemontese N Nero d’Ala N
Bosco Nero N Nero d’Avola N
Brachetto N. Neyret N
Bracciola N Pampanuto N
Brunello N Pecorino N
Bussanello B Pelaverga (di Pagno) N
Cabernet Franc N Pelaverga N
Cabernet Sauvignon N Pelaverga piccolo N
Canaiolo B. Petit Arvine N
Canina N Petit Verdot N
Cannonau N Pigato B
Carica l’Asino N Pignola Nera N
Carignano N Pinot bianco B
Catarratto comune B Pinot Grigio G
Catarratto Nero N Pinot Nero N
Chardonnay B. Plassa N
Chatus N Pollera 1 N
Ciliegiolo N. Portugieser N
Colorino Nero N Primitivo N
Cornalin Prosecco B
Cornarea N Quagliano N
Cortese B Raboso Veronese N
Corvina Nera N Rebo Nero N
Croatina N Refosco da Peduncolo Rosso N
Crovassa N Riesling B
Dolcetto N Riesling italico B
Doux d’Henry N Riesling Renano B
Durasa N Rossese bianco B
Durasca (Dolcetto di Boca) N Rossese N
Enantio N Ruché N
Erbaluce B Sangiovese N
Favorita B Sauvignon Blanc B
Franconia N (Blaufränkisch) Schiava Gentile N
Freisa di Chieri N Schiava grossa N
Freisa di Nizza N Schiava N
Gamay N. Sylvaner Verde B
Gargiulo N Syrah N
Grechetto N Teroldego Nero N
Grignolino N Timorasso B
Grillo B Tocai Friulano B
Incrocio Manzoni N Tocai Rosso N
Lambrusca di Alessandria N Torbato B
Lambrusco Maestri N Traminer aromatico Rs
Lumassina N Trebbiano Toscano B
Maiolica N Uva di Troia N
Malvasia di Casorzo N Uva rara N
Malvasia di Schierano N Uvalino N
Malvasia Istriana N Veltlimer Fruhrot  N
Malvasia nera lunga N Verduzzo Trevigiano B
Manzoni bianco B Vermentino B
Marzemino N Vespolina N
Merlot N Zweigelt N
Grand total for the new grapes – 67. I think it is a pretty good leap in my grape counting adventure.

What is left to tell you? The tasting notes, of course. Considering that this wine is very close to Barolo (uses the same main grape, Nebbiolo), we decanted the wine prior to the tasting for about 3 hours. The wine showed considerable dry, very balanced, good tannins, sour cherries (we are going nicely alongside of typical Barolo, right?) and the showing flowery undertones after the sip – not your typical Barolo anymore. I guess those 151 grapes affect the taste, at least a little bit. All in all, this was a very nice wine. Drinkability: 8.

That’s all for now, folks. Consider starting your own grape adventure – the fun is all yours. Cheers!

Father’s Day Escapades

June 19, 2012 6 comments

This Father’s Day was one of the best ever, so I decided to share with you some of the experiences – as you can imagine, mostly in the form of the pictures.

The day started with the cards from the kids – this is always a great beginning. Then the weather gradually changed from overcast to a beautiful clear sunny day with just the right temperature (don’t know what is your idea of a great summer temperature, but for me 75F and a light breeze is almost ideal). From there on,  there was great food, great wine and … some interesting new experiences.

Here are few pictures to give you an idea about cooking (well, yes, not so much cooking, mostly grilling).

Grilled chicken tights:

Kebab, on the grill:

And the same kebab, off the grill:

I don’t know why, but potatoes fry the best on the side burner of the grill (we have electric stove in the kitchen):

And then mushrooms… I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to eat mushrooms any time and any day:

Enough about the food. Let’s talk about the drinks now.

First, we had some [very lazy] cocktails. Just take it out from the freezer, squish in the glass and voila! 8 different flavors are available in the store – and Mango Daiquiri was the best out of the four we tried:

Then we switched to Champagne – errr, Sparkling wine. We had Marques de Gelida Cava Brut Reserva, which is Rose (Pinot Noir based) – very nice, round, medium bodied and refreshing (Drinkability: 7+) :

The best part about this sparkling wine was… opening of the bottle. Despite the fact that I told you not to saber a bottle of Champagne at home, I decided to ignore my own recommendation and try to saber the bottle (you should know that deep inside I’m a 10-years old, masquerading as an adult). Sabering was an absolute success, as I managed to do it from the first attempt. I have even a short video of that process, but it will require time to process, so for now, I can only show you some pictures which will illustrate  what happened. Here is the top of the bottle:

And here is the very top of the neck – the glass top was completely separated during  the opening, cork and glass together:

The only problem is – Sabering was so much fun, now I want to do it again!

Then we had a very nice red – 2009 Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Crozes-Hermitage Les Hauts de Fief (13% ABV, $17.99)- earthy nose with some roasted notes, same on the palate – deep concentrated ( but not jammy) fruit, great acidity, touch of spices, round tannins, very balanced (Drinkability: 8).

Then we had scotch – 41 years old Lonach Glendarroch (from Highlands, distilled in 1967) – absolutely amazing. I can’t even try to describe complexity of that scotch here – it will take a few tasting sessions to figure that out (my wife said that it was by far her favorite scotch ever):

Now last, but not least – my Father’s day present – 2005 Giribaldi Cento Uve, Langhe, Italy:

In case you are wondering what’s so special about this wine: it is made out of 152 grape varieties (you can read more here), so it will mean a serious progress of my grape count.

That’s all folks. I’m very happy with my Father’s day. How was yours? Cheers!

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