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TomHill

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NYTimes: Asimov on Grape Variety Caste System

by TomHill » Mon Nov 23, 2020 1:46 pm

Eric has an interesting article on the caste system of grape varieties:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/19/dining/drinks/wine-grapes.html?referringSource=articleShare
On why some grape varieties are noble and others are not. He argues that this can be very short-sighted and lead drinkers to not trying some varietals that can actually make interesting/compelling/even great wines.
Some folks ridiculed me (or dismissed me as the ravings of a lunatic) for suggesting that Teroldego or Nebbiolo could make great wines in Calif. But Bryan Harrington and Emilio Castelli have shown me to be correct. Sam Bilbro will soon show me as being right on Timorasso.
Anyway... interesting read by Eric.
Tom
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: NYTimes: Asimov on Grape Variety Caste System

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:23 pm

Interesting so thanks.
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Paul Winalski

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plinkety-plonk

by Paul Winalski » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:23 pm

Is there such a thing as a great aramon? Or even an interesting one?

-Paul W.
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TomHill

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Or...

by TomHill » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:31 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Is there such a thing as a great aramon? Or even an interesting one?
-Paul W.


Or Thompson Seedless??
Who knows.... but I bet there's someone there, given the right place to plant it and the right winemaking,
might be able to make something that would interest us, Paul.
I suspect that many of these "trash" grapes could make a mildly interesting wine as a Vini Macerati.
Tom
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Peter May

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Re: NYTimes: Asimov on Grape Variety Caste System

by Peter May » Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:42 am

The so-called 'noble' varieties were the ones popular when the terminology came about.

Taste fashions change in time, you only have to stick around long enough to see that happen.

It's all bollix.
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Tim York

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Re: NYTimes: Asimov on Grape Variety Caste System

by Tim York » Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:15 pm

I haven't waded into this because I have been unable to access the Azimov article. Given the exciting events in the USA, I have exhausted my ration of free NYT articles on four different servers from my PC. However, while waiting for an appointment with an ophthalmologist, I found that I could access it from my smartphone.

Having been brought up in wine during the 50s and 60s when wine lovers concentrated on a rather limited number of places rather than on grape variety, I regard the modern emphasis on grape varieties and their hierarchies with some scepticism. Azimov is stating a truism when he writes "Wine is so much more than simply the grapes that form its basis. What is poured from the bottle is ultimately a combination of the grapes, the site in which the grapes were grown, the farming...."

Since the 70s, wines from certain other places, e.g. Langhe, Tuscany, Rioja and Wachau, have been more widely perceived as having nobility and their grape varieties with them. The newly fashionable "great" grapes such as Mencia and Nerello Mascalese depend on the outstanding siting of the former in Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra and of the latter in Etna and to the emergence of talented growers able to exploit that potential. That said, in areas where several grapes are cultivated such as Alsace/Germany or Piedmont, certain varieties do IMO show themselves more "noble", e.g. Riesling and Nebbiolo, than the others in the area, even though those others, e.g. Pinot gris and Barbera, can also produce very enjoyable wine there.

As for trying to find suitable sites for all these different grapes in other parts of the world, I am all in favour although I believe that it will require a lot of trial and error to get results as good as in the home countries. Some grapes, e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, seem to find suitable sites more easily than others, e.g. Merlot.
Tim York

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