Writing up my 100 Grapes challenge is proving a bit time consuming so here are a bundle that I've tried over the past wee while.
A red variety from Southern Italy, mainly grown in Puglia. Very deep in colour, they are quite spicy and earthy with some are often blended with grapes such as Sangiovese. It has a lot of synonyms, including Arbese, Jonico and Uva cane.
2011 Lamadoro Negroamaro
Sweet chocolate and a bit of blueberry on the nose. Warm cherry and spice on the palate with a dark earthy element and really nice balance and a herby, menthol finish. 88pts
Although Bonarda is the name given to several varieties, the one I'm focusing on here is the one grown in Argentina, known also as Charbono. Originally from the Savoie region of France it is huge in Argentina. Highly tannic wines with similar levels of acidity and, I feel, is overlooked too often in favour of Malbec.
2010 Argento Bonarda
Lots of juicy cherries smothered in milk chocolate with a bit of mint and a bit of sweet spice coming out as well. The palate has a savoury element up front, lots of spice and a bundle of dark, spicy, bitter chocolate. The finish is again savoury with a lot of smokey leathery elements. 82pts
2010 Alamos Bonarda
A sweet slightly confected element coming off the nose with a hint of raw lamb sweetness and a little bit of cocoa. Quite bright and fresh. The palate has a sweet and savoury note, lots of earthy flavours, a bundle of spice and then some dark tarry elements. The finish is a bit alcohol dominant and a little sweet and confected. 79pts
Thought to have come from Greece, and also grown in Slovenia, it is in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy in the north east that it is best known. Producing a light white wine, very floral and with high acidity, it can benefit from oak ageing. It is a wonderful wine to pair with this regions native food, having a little weight, but clean flavours.
2010 Specogna Ribolla Gialla
A pretty, fresh summery wildflower wine - lots of citrus pith and a little bit of warm, dusty earth coming through. The palate is very pretty, crisp citrus mixes with softening flower petals and some more rock like flavours. A long finish, very minerally with some delicious almond elements. 89pts
Originally from the Rhone where it is often blended with Marsanne. These two wines are the only white varieties allowed in Crozes-Hermitage AOC, Hermitage AOC and St Joseph AOC, meaning that it is instrumental in some of the greatest wines from the Rhone. Moving out into the new world, it is planted in California and Australia.
2008 Qupe Bien Nacido Roussanne
Honey sweetened green tea with a bit of herb box coming off the nose and a bundle of dirty peach skin with a little vanilla pod. A little bit of pear comes through as well. The palate has a nice full body, some grassier, vegetal elements mixed with some very noticable French oak - lots of tobacco box, a tiny touch of burnt butter and then some dried apricot skin, peach stone and a little bit of pepper on the finish. The texture is delightful and the only problem is that the finish is the tiniest bit clumsy and has a spirity finish. 90pts
Grown in the Rioja and Cava producing areas of Spain and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, Macabeu is a white variety mainly used for producing young drinking wines. It was brought to Rioja as it is able to withstand oxidation, and oaked versions of this wine can rival some wines from Burgundy.
2010 Tramontane Macabeu
Bright fresh fruit, a lot of citrus and a little bit of melon skin coming out. A little salt comes through as well with a little bit of chalky minerality but with a delicious creamy palate. Almost like licking a bit of slate with a touch of alcohol on the palate. 88pts
A genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, it is most common in the Alsace, Germany (where it is known as Weißburgunder), Italy and the eastern European countries. It produces a full bodied, dry white that is often vinified in a similar style to Chardonnay, and is still allowed to be used in production of both Burgundian wines and also Champagne. It is a single varietal Pinot Blanc champagne that I tried.
Francois Diligent Pinot Blanc Brut NV Champagne
Lovely light, fresh aromas of lemon, oyster shell and honey but with brie. The palate is clean, crisp, good acid and a lot of confit lemon. Ok, bit simple though too expensive. 81pts
Grown mainly in California and Australia, it was named after Francois Durif who discovered a vine that he named after himself in 1880. Although the grape is practically extinct in its homeland, these two new world countries have taken it to its heart with Australia adopting the Durif name and California using Petite Sirah. The grapes are small berries, that are in tight clusters that are susceptible to rotting and produce a dark, inky, chocolatey wine.
2008 Campbell's Bobbie Burns Durif
An elegant aroma (Australia factored in) fresh palate - not stewed, with a tiny touch of cherry coming through with lots of chocolate and a tiny touch of spice Nice balance, not bad. 84pts
South Africa's wine, it was bred there in 1925 and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Often tasting of (I think) burnt rubber, it can be a Marmite wine - you love it or hate it!
2009 Chamonix Pinotage Greywacke
A wine made with the ripasso method - Some sweeter aromas of raisin, and a bit of concentrated plum. The palate is a strange partly thin, partly heavy affair. Not much of the burnt rubber, and has a bramble flavour. 83pts
A grape from Italy and Slovenia, Terrano is a red variety that doesn't age well. It is good for an aperitif, despite being a full bodied wine. It has a slightly sour flavour, but is very drinkable. The wine I tried was from Croatia.
2009 Gerzinic Teran
A rich earthy note coming off. Some crisp fruit with aherbal earthier note. Simple palate, some earthier elements coming through. Clean and with some perfume, rose petal flavours. Nice. 89pts
This grape is a white variety planted mainly in Sicily where it is used to make Marsala, and also in Tuscany where it is known as Ansonica.
2010 Baccaria Inzolia
Very fresh green grass with some underripe banana coming out of the nose. Very bright and clean with just the slightest bit of pear drop emerging. The palate has more of the banana with a creamier texture. There is a bit of rustic green apple and some alcohol emerging but not unpleasantly so before settling down to more pear drops on the finish. Just a touch too high acid though. 85pts
I love Frappato. It is a simple, light bodied red variety that can be slightly chilled in the summer, and has a delicious gamey element to it that I love. Mainly grown in Sicily it is often seen in the island's only DOCG wine, Cerasuolo di Vittoria.
2010 Baccaria Frappato
Light cherries with a little sweet confected strawberry coming off. There is a touch of sweet lamb fat and mint as well. Te palate has a touch of bubblegum, then some strawberries and cream, almost a bit like a strawberry trifle. Some earthier notes on the finish, with the structure that the wine lacks before. A good saturday night glugger. 86pts
Grown in the Piedmont region of Italy this red variety became one of the region's main grapes in the 1880s, partly due to its resistance to downy mildew. Able to make sweet, sparkling or still wines, it is similar to Nebbiolo with higher tannin and acidity. It has been responsible for a bit of a debate between Hugh Johnson and Robert Parker who firmly sit on opposite sides of the fence considering the merit of Fresia, but from the sample I tried, I am in the Johnson camp.
2009 Claudio Marlotto Braghe Da Uve di Freisa
Some cherry, chocolate and cream on the nose, with some sweet cigar tobacco coming off. The palate has a nice, soft red and black berry flavours, some spice with a little bit of coffee bean and leather coming through. Quite nice - a touch hot on the finish, but not too much. Very drinkable. 90pts
Offering flavours of pineapple and grapefruit, Timorasso is a grape planted in the Piedmont region of Italy, in the Alessandria province. It can be oaked, but usually only put into stainless steel.
2008 Claudio Mariotto Derthona Timorasso
There is a slight minerally aroma, very faint hints of flint and grapefruit pith. The palate has an aged element to it, rounder, more honeyed fruit with a slight bitter, ginger skin flavour coming off. oilier texture, with some white pepper emerging. Well integrated alcohol, nice. 88pts