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Unusual Varieties
Diversity in Wine
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Corte d'Aibo
Colli Bolognesi
      Pignoletto has been grown in the hills around Bologna since at least 1654 where it is known as the "King of the Colli Bolognesi". It is made as both a still wine and as a sparkler.

     This was a still wine.

      Tasting note: Greenish tinge, light bodied with a hint of almonds and a pleasant long finish. 27 April 2007

Casa Girello
Winelabel       I was surprised to see this variety new to me in Marks and Spenser who I feel is a rather unexciting place for wine. But there it was, one bottle remaining next to another uncommon varietal, Arneis.

     This wine was clean fresh and aromatic. It didn't taste of anything in particular but was very drinkable, and with just 12% abv was food friendly.


      Tasting note: Clean, fresh, aromatic, flower blossoms and pears. May 2007

Agrodružstvo Družstvo Nový Šaldorf
Czech Republic
Frankovka label
      So there I am; I've just arrived in Brno, Czech Republic and the snow is falling fast and piling up against the windows of the hotel restaurant. Inside it is warm, and I'm studying a short wine list on which I recognise the name of only one variety.
      Yummy!! No preconceptions. Let's try Frankovka. Um, decent red wine, some depth, there's blackberry fruits flavours and decent acidity. Nice wine. And I have Frankovkas from other wineries in the following days.
      Back home I find out that Frankovka is the same as Blaufrankisch in Germany, Kekfrankos in Hungary and I've had it in America under the Lemberger name. A good variety that I hope we'll see more of.
     Tasted January 2007

Wroxeter Roman Vineyards
Regner Label
     The ruins of the Roman city of Wroxeter lie in quiet fields bythe River Severn. Known then as Viroconium it was a thriving centre on a main road with a population of 5,000 people. Now the streets of what was the fourth largest city in Britain are polished by the feet of school groups and those tourists who've followed the signs down narrow country lanes. Still standing is the massive wall and entrance that separated the municipal baths, and exercise hall. And this is pictured on the labels of wines from nearby Wroxeter Roman Vineyards, first planted in 1991. This small family owned and farmed winery makes a range of mostly white wines

      I bought several wines and was intrigued by Regner, a variety that I had never before heard of. This sign at the end of a row of Regner vines

Regner Sign
explained it was a German crossing of white Italian table grape Luglienca Bianca and Gamay. Further research shows that although mostly planted in the Rheinhessen it is falling out of favour there. However, in the cooler English climate its early ripening is a bonus and with higher acidity here it makes a succesful crisp dry white wine.

      Winery website is www.wroxetervineyard.co.uk and for information on Wroxeter Roman Ciry see www.www.english-heritage.org.uk/server.php?show=conProperty.357 Tasting note: Crisp with some gentle acidity, hedgerow flavours, good match with fish. October and December 2006

Delicata Winery
Girgentina label
      There are some excellent wines made on Malta from international varieties but Malta also has some indigenous varieties, two of which are made as varietal wines by Delicata. Girgentina is a white variety that makes an enjoyable crisp wine with ripe pear flavours.

Black Muscat
Quady Winery
Black Muscat label
      Black Muscat is another name for Muscat of Hamburg, a variety often grown for table grapes. Oz Clarke tells of the vine at his parents house when he was a child and how he used to gorge himself on their fat ripe sweet grapes. He thinks it is best as a table grape and that the other Muscat varieties make better wines.
      This fortifed dessert wine from sticky specialists Quady Wines was deliciously sweet but I found it lacking in flavour.

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22 June 2007