Monday, 20. February 2012
We download the free application for the Wine Century Club years ago and added it to our wine journey. This club is designed for novice wine drinkers to career sommeliers that enjoy the wine journey. Taste 100 different varietal grapes, send in your application and you’ll receive a certificate (suitable to frame) and membership in this club. It sounds easier than it is though.
It took us 2 ½ years of over 350 winery/vineyard visits to finally reach 100 different varieties tasted. Now we are working on the Doppel level, 200 varietal grapes tasted. This level and subsequent levels will be more of a challenge to attain. We won’t manage to attain those levels visiting wineries in the United States. On a 2010 two-week trip to wineries in New Zealand we only tasted one grape variety that we hadn’t tasted before. To reach those higher levels including Doppel, we’ll have to travel to Europe.
We just returned from almost three weeks in Rome, towns in Umbria and towns in Campania including Napoli. Italy has hundreds of different grape varieties that are used to make wine. After visiting ten wineries, eating numerous dinners with food wine pairings and visiting a couple enotecas, we added 35 more varieties to our list. Now, we’re only 15 short of the 200 needed for the Doppel level. The main red variety in Umbria is Sagrantino, we had it prior to this trip. The main red variety in Campania is Aglianico, we had that too prior to this trip. But we still managed to try 35 new to us varieties.
We tasted Italian grape varieties such as Drupeggio, Falanghina, Malvasia del Lazio, Malvasia Nera, Procanico and the list goes on and on. The 2013 International Wine Tourism Conference will take place in Croatia. We tasted some new to us varieties at a Croatia tasting: Graševina, Plavac Mali and Pošip. I even tasted a Georgian wine that I hadn’t tried before that was made in part with Mtsvani grapes.
Tasting 200 different grape varieties is more challenging than tasting the initial 100. Travel to Europe can certainly help. The next conference is the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association Conference in Las Vegas. I don’t believe there will be many opportunities to taste varieties that I haven’t already tasted. Just 15 additional varieties are needed to reach the Doppel level. Fifteen varieties may be thousands of miles away.