Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Goal of 100

Today's Taste of the Trail blog post was written by guest blogger and wine aficionado Jim Hutchings. 

While researching several Lehigh Valley wine grapes last year, I stumbled across an exclusive club which is open to the public. While open to the public, it is very difficult to achieve membership. It’s called The Wine Century Club and to join, the only criterion is for you to have tasted 100 different grapes in wine.

Some varieties, especially the so-called noble grapes, are easy to think of; that gets us six grapes. Then there are plenty of common varieties I’m sure most of us have tried such as Syrah, Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio/Gris, and Sangiovese. So now we’re 10% to our goal. This might be harder than originally thought…

According to the website, “It's a simple idea, but it's not as easy to become a member as you may think. One Master Sommelier could only come up with 82. Of the thousands of applications downloaded, less than 3% are completed.”

Thankfully our Lehigh Valley Wineries have been growing and producing wine from grapes which are considered more exotic, simply because they grow extremely well in the individual microclimates in the Lehigh Valley. Here are 10 more of the most exotic grapes I am aware of being available locally to add to your list: 
  • Big Creek - try Frontenac, Marechal Foch, and Regent.
  • Cherry Valley - has a Baco Noir available, though several wineries use this to blend.
  • Clover Hill - add DeChaunac to your list.
  • Galen Glen - has a nice Grüner Veltliner, and Zweigelt is a new addition to their list.
  • Traminette is gaining popularity and is available at Galen Glen, Pinnacle Ridge, and Vynecrest.
  • Vynecrest also has Blaufränkisch (as Lemberger) and Noiret (one of the grapes in Vyneskeller Select).
  • Make sure you’ve put Chambourcin, the Jewel of the Lehigh Valley, on your list!
After stretching my memory and actively seeking out rare grapes last year I’ve managed to put 87 grapes on my tasted list. Membership into the exclusive Wine Century Club is coming soon!

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