Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Obscure Varietals From A to Z

In this post I will cover two obscure varietals from A to Z. I began my research by ordering De Long's Wine Grape Varietal Table, which lays out 184 varietals in a grid by acidity and weight. This is a must buy for any serious wino. ( )

The wines I selected were actually not that obscure unless you buy all your wines at Krogers. If you find these wines, remember them for their novelty and great tastes, but also for their bonus points in any Scrabble game!

The food portion was a simple chicken salad sandwich on toasted wheat bread from Coffee Please in Madeira. They offer carrots as a side instead of chips. Very healthy!

  • Aglianico di Taurasi -- Rubrato dei Feudi di San Gregorio 2002 ($17) -- This is an Italian wine made in the commune of Taurasi in Campania. Their website is One of the wine reps had tasted several recently and said that these wines are usually very tannic and need to age a long time. This wine had a dark purple color with a dense heavy fruit nose, smooth, long finish and well integrated tannins. This is a big, alluring wine. It is drinking very well now but will age well also. It is going on the shelves. Other food pairing ideas (beside chicken salad sandwiches!) would be any roasted meats.
  • Zweigelt -- This one popped up on the radar at the last Erie Avenue Blind Tasting after the California Cabs. (What the hell is that!) I have now tried two Zweigelt's and am starting to feel a little like a wine aficionado. How many out there have had two Zweigelt's this year? Ever? I prefer the Austrian Zweigelt Reserve 2001 from Huber ($30) than the Hungarian Zweigelt 2001 from Monarchia ($17), but that is probably due to the price difference than the county/region difference. The Zweigelt is a hybrid that is a cross of Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent, and is, I am told, like a Pinot on steroids. (This isn't baseball, so that's a good thing!) Also, De Long's states that this is the most widely planted black grape in Austria. So much for being obscure. The Monarchia Zweigelt has a dark ruby color, light smokey/earthy nose, elegant, but not complex, flavors. It was smooth with good acidity but the finish was a little short as it dropped off quickly at the end. This wine was interesting, but not compelling enough to re-order. This wine would match well with many different dishes when one serves red wine.


Blogger Andrew said...

Excellent choices - many thanks for participating in WBW#7. The Italian is an old fave of mine but I havent tried it for ages so will have to hunt some down.

Zweigelt may be well known in its native lands but even in the UK it is relativly obscure.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Mantonegro from the island of Mallorca. This small Spanish island has a few native grapes that produce amazingly complex and unique wines. Ribas de Cabrera is 50% Mantonegro with 35% Syrah and 15% Cab. Outstanding! Its one of those wines that makes you hold the glass up between sips to a chorus of "what the Hell am I drinking"

10:50 AM  

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