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Unusual Varieties
Diversity in Wine
Page 17

Besinet et Fils
This was the first Vermentino I've seen. Its a pale white colour but regretfully this particular one was bland to the point of boring. Pleasntly dry, but lacking in any characteristic. Oz Clarke reckons it can make exciting wine so I will buy one from another winery when I see one. Vermentino label
Lost Valley Winery
Central Victoria
Cortese Label Cortese makes Italy's most expensive white wine, Gavi. Now the variety has been planted in Australia. I was disappointed with it, being rather bland and characterless. But the vines are very young. Perhaps they need a few more years.
Abbaye de Vetroz
Vetroz, Valais
A very rare variety. Only 20 hectares of this white variety exist. Confusingly the back label says its a dessert wine so it was a surprise to find it to be dry. Solid and mouth filling tasting reminiscent of wholemeal bread. Amigne label
Robolo Label Greece is planting international grape varieties, and I've had some cracking good Syrahs and Cabernet Sauvignons, but those varieties are grown everywhere. I am more interested in Greece's own varieties.

Robolo is grown only in Cephalonia and produces a flavoursome white wine with a most attractive nutty lemony tang.

This wine's label is made from thin plastic, which stretched at it was being removed, thus the rippling along the edges,

Spanish variety, probably the same as Verdelho. Only small plantings in Spain where it almost died out in the 70s, but new interest in this interesting fragrant variety, tasting of apples and mangoes.

Thanks to Michel Bernard for suggesting and loaning me the label

Godello label
Backsberg Estate
South Africa
Hanepoot Label
Hanepoot is the name South Africa uses for Muscat of Alexandria. It was one of the earliest grapes planted in the Cape. During harvest time boxes of the golden large sweet hanepoot grapes are on sale at road edges, attracting wasps and purchasers in about equal quantity.

Sweet Hanepoot wine seems to be getting less fashionable, and the label above is from the last vintage made at Backsberg estate.

I have been given several explanations of the name. The two most frequently given are that it is a local pronunciation of honey-pot, an early British nickname for this very sweet grape, but in Afrikaans "hane" means "cockerel" and "poot" means foot, so it could refer to the shape of the grape leaf, although most grape leaves look similar. )

Unfortunately my scanner doesn't give justice to this most attractive label which is a rich dark green with gold embossing on shiny paper

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7 March 2003