Unusual Varieties
Diversity in Wine
Page 14

Pinot Meunier
Domaine Chandon
Pinot Meunier is widely grown in Champagne where it forms part of the blend, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, that makes that eponymous sparkling wine.
This is a very rare example of a varietal Pinot Meunier wine, made by Domaine Chandon in California. Domaine Chandon, owned by the Moet Chandon Champagne house, was one of the first of several French companies to plant vineyards and build wineries in California to make sparkling wine. I visted the winery in the seventies and was very impressed with the quality of the fizz.
This still red wine was very enjoyable, like a more fruity and rustic Pinot Noir. Meunier is one of numerous Pinot Noir mutations and gets its name from the flour like dusty white down on the underside of its leaves. (Meunier meaning miller)
Gunter Bernhardt
Portugieser is a popular everyday red grape in Germany. Much of it is made pink, known as Weißherbst, as is this one. It
It was made by Gunter Bernhart and sold by Stefans Franke's father. I enjoyed it enormously with some sausages and grilled tomatoes. Clean, off dry and refreshing. Thanks Stefan!
Tinta Cao
Barossa Valley
Variety grown in Portugal for Port production since the sixteen century but now very rare there. In Australia to they used it for their fortified wines. Now Miranda is making a delicious bright crimson refreshing complex table wine with berry fruits and a spicy underpinning.
Emilio Bulfon

Julia Sevenich is a Food and Wine Consultant working in Austria and writer of interesting and authoritative articles about Austrian wines which can be found at www.stratsplace.com/7ich .

She writes - "Hello Peter!
I just returned from a trip to Friuli. Friuli is a treasure trove for wines from rare grape varieties. I thought I was familiar with the all the region's specialities, but I stumbled on a new (old) grape that I have never heard of before. After returning home I searched for references to the grape, but found none.
Evidently there are only a few hectares of the white wine variety "Sciaglin" to be found in the Friuli occidentale Appellation near the villages of Vito d'Asio, Casteluovo del Friuli, Valeriano and Piuzano al Tagliamento. This variety possesses not only a rather poetic-sounding name, but also a very delicate and flowery perfume.
My tasting note for this wine follows:

Emilio Bulfon 2000 Sciaglin IGT
Very pale, clear greenish yellow captures the late afternoon light on a Friulian terrace. A delicate but distinct floral note on the nose is reminiscent of apple blossoms and santolina. On the palate the wine is dry with crisp acidity and fruity aromas of crunchy green apples and ripe lychees become apparent.
The wine is medium bodied and has a very pleasant, if not lingering mineraly finish. It should keep well up to 2003, when it may begin to lose its refreshing fruit and delicate bouquet. The combination of such alluring floral notes and crisp clear fruit makes one wonder why more of this autochthone grape is not cultivated in Friuli.
This wine comes from one of the few Sciaglin vineyards around the old Longobard town of Cividale and drinking it on location in the company of old friends leaves me enamoured enough to award it 17 from 20 points.
Knowing of your enthusiasm for rare grape varieties, I have included a scan of the wine's label thinking that you may wish to add it to your collection.

Thanks to Julia Sevenich for the image. Read her enthralling articles about living the wine life in Austria at www.stratsplace.com/7ich

Giacosa Fratelli
We enjoyed this wine on a restaurant veranda high over Lake Maggiore. August heat produced large condensation droplets on the bottle and haze cloaked distant mountains.
The wine matched our lunch perfectly. White, refreshing and with aromatic apricot flavours. It reminded me a less dense Viogner.
We found wine from several unusual grape varieties during our short holiday, and this was the first time I tasted Arneis. But on our resturn to the UK to my astonishment we found national restaurant chain Pizza Express has Arneis on its wine list. So does it taste as good accompanying a pizza in St Albans as it does on Lake Maggiore? Yes! Its a super wine, but the view of parked cars in Verulam Road doesn't compare....
Gamba Pernice
A produce fair was set up by Baveno harbour on Lake Maggiore. Of particular interest to me was a wine stall where several unusual varieties were avaialble to taste and buy. We sampled and bought bottles to carry up the hill to our rented apartment. We particularly enjoyed Gamba Pernice, a light red wine with a delicate spicy tang.
I intended to buy a case of it to take home, but the wine stall left the fair before I could do so.

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14 October 2001