Did you know that there are between 5,000 to 10,000 different grape varieties on this planet
Why the large variance I hear you ask? Well people just don’t know.
There are a lot of hybrids and clones out there, plus there are a lot of grape varieties called different names in different countries. For example, in the Barossa, Mouvedre is also known as Mataro. Imagine how confusing it gets when you get to a grape variety like Tempranillo where it is also called …..Albillo Negro, Aldepenas, Aragon, Aragones, Aragonez, Aragonez 51, Aragonez da Ferra, Aragonez de Elvas, Arganda, Arinto Tinto, Cencibel, Cencibera, Chinchillana, Chinchillano, Chinchilyano, Cupani, De Por Aca, Escobera, Garnacho Fono, Grenache de Logrono, Jacibera, Jacibiera, Jacivera, Juan Garcia, Negra de Mesa, Negretto, Ojo de Liebre, Olho de Lebre, Pinuela, Sensibel, Tempranilla, Tempranillo de la Rioja, Tempranillo de Perralta, Tempranillo de Rioja, Tempranillo de Rioza, Tempranillo Rioja, Tinta Aragones……. and that is just half the list I found on Wikipedia
In reality about 1,300 different varieties are used to make wine on a commercial basis. Yes that is right 1300, and I challenge anyone to name 100 off the top of their head.
What got me thinking about the number of different grape varieties in the world, was a wine new to me; the 2011 Chateau Viranel “Aromes Sauvages’ from the Languedoc in the South of France
This wine has been selected by Matt Dunne of Aria fame, for the next Bullion Cellars selection and is made from a grape variety called Alicante Boushet. And no, I had never heard of it before either, but amazingly it is from a vineyard that was planted 75 years ago.
Hell I have to get out more and try a lot more wines!
Alicante Boushet is a hybrid grape variety created by a man called Henri Boushet in 1855, when he crossed the two grape varieties- Petit Boushet and Grenache. (Not sure why he did it, maybe, it was just because he could). Whatever the reason, or the background, it has been used in the Languedoc for years to make quality wine and in some cases brought up to the chateaus of Bordeaux to boost their wines in poor vintages. I can see why they have kept this vineyard producing for 75 years, as the wine has an amazing colour and fragrance. Inky black, with these incredible floral notes, supported by rich red fruits that anchor the palate. A wine of great structure, elegance and power.
If you want value and great quality in France, you really need to head down South, for the Languedoc is where it is at right now. The top wines of the Rhone and Bordeaux are incredible, but you really have to pay above $100 to get a wine of the same quality as a $40 wine in the South
It is a good thing you have the Bullionaire and our Sommeliers to assist. But now onto the 1301st grape variety – What is it again?