“Z” is for Zinfandel

Zinfandel or ‘Zin’ to its friends is a grape which is seen very much as an American variety.  The French have Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon (and many many more!) with Zinfandel proudly wearing the stars and stripes of America. But the hard truth of the matter is the grape isn’t American at all! DNA has proven that Zinfandel is in fact the same variety as Italy’s Primitivo and the rare ancient variety Crljenak Kastelanski (from Croatia). A quick history…

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“X” is for Xinomavro

First things first, I expect most readers are wondering how on earth you pronounce it? It is actually quite easy...phonetically it is pronounced as “See-no-mav-ro”. Second main point: Xinomavro is a grape not a wine. About the grape – Synonymous with Greece, in particular the northerly Naoussa region, this black grape is widely considered the finest of the Greek varieties. Literally translated as ‘sour black’ – not a hugely appealing translation on the face of it I admit! ....and…

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“S” is for Sangiovese

I suspect that the theme for this blog may be met with a nonchalant shrug by many. The name sounds vaguely familiar, you think it sounds Italian but aren’t really sure?  If, however, I was to say Chianti then I think the response would be more one of recognition.  Yes, Sangiovese is Italian, although creditable versions are now being made as far afield as Australia and Argentina, it remains pretty steadfastly Italian.  Hailing from Central Italy, its homeland is…

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“P” is for Picpoul de Pinet

I could have chosen so many things for the letter ‘P’ but have decided to go with Picpoul de Pinet as it’s not a wine that is drunk widely, and given the lovely warm weather we have at the moment, it is a perfect accompaniment for alfresco dining (for those lucky enough to have gardens during the current lockdown that is). The grape Picpoul is actually a family of grapes: Picpoul Rouge (Red), Picpoul Gris (Rosé) and the one…

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Spotlight – Riesling

This is one of my favourite grape varieties and luckily for me, for some strange reason - aside from wine critics who adore it - the general public appear to be rather adverse to its charms and as a result it offers terrific value for money.  I say “for some reason” but I know the reason (probably!) and you can blame those popular sweet wines (and I use the term loosely!) of the 1980s: Black Tower, Blue Nun, Liebfraumilsch….need…

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