Unusual Varietals
Diversity in Wine
Page 5

Ortega England
This fruity dry English wine is made from Ortega. Ortega is a German cross of Muller Thurgau and Siegerrebe and frequently used to elevate thinner wines. It's named after Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset.
Baga Portugal
Baga is grown mostly in Portugal where it makes an enjoyable tannic red wine capable of aging many years. The name means berry and the grape is thick-skinned which contributes to the tannin levels. This wine was grown in the Beira region.
Bacchus England
What a great name. Bacchus is the god of wine, and this is a cross of a Sylvaner-Reisling crossed with Muller-Thurgau popular in England and Germany, making a fruity wine with low acidity.
Vidal Ontario
Vidal is a hybrid. A cross between Ugni Blanc and Seibel. Its hardiness during cold winters makes it a popular variety in Canada.
Visit the Henry of Pelham web site.
Carmenere Chile
Carmenere used to be up there with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon as an important component in Bordeaux. But it didn't survive the post disaster replanting - a victim of its low yield and susceptibility to disease. However by then it had been planted in phyloxera free Chile where it survives and makes excellent wine which is labelled as Merlot, a vine with which it shares many characteristics. Modern DNA testing has now shown that many merlot vineyards are in fact Carmenere, but marketing practices has meant there hasn't been a rush to change the labels.
But with France now experimenting with re-introducing it to give an extra dimension to red Bordeaux, the smart money is on Carmenere becoming a fashionable variety. This wine from the Colchagua Valley in Chile is is one of the few labelled as a Carmenere varietal.
Visit the MontGras web site
Carignan Morocco
Carignan is not a rare grape; it is widely grown in southern France where it bulks out anonymous blends. But it is rare to see it named as a varietal. These vines are grown in northern Morocco in the Beni M'Tir region, between the Atlas mountains and Atlantic Ocean.

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21 November 1999