Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wine Century Club Anniversary Count

The obvious goal and raison d'être of this blog is to drink our way through 2001 unique bottles of wine, but a integral part of the blog name is "A Wine Odyssey.", in part, defines an "odyssey" as "a long series of wanderings or adventures" and, for me, trying new and different wines that come from far-flung corners of the earth or feature previously unknown varietals is an integral - and exciting - part of the quest.

I've written about and made many a reference to The Wine Century Club during my blog meanderings. The premise of this clever idea is that if keep track of all the varietals that go into the wines you're drinking, you can join the club as soon as you've reached 100 different varietals. I didn't discover the club until long after I'd started this blog, but I get a little kick out of adding a new grape every time I run across one in my glass. Prior to this entry, I'd logged 128 varietals and I'm definitely hoping to hit a double century before I reach my goal of 2001 bottles.

The Club is celebrating its 7th anniversary and, to mark the occasion, today is a collective effort by all interested to taste as many different varietals as possible in one day. A few years back, a similar task was laid out for those in the know and a formidable total of 314 varietals was tallied.

With this post, I'm adding a couple of unique grapes that are certainly new to me - and hopefully to the tally at large.

1157. 2009 Salt Spring Vineyards - Blattner White (Gulf Islands - BC)

I picked up this bottle when visiting Tyrant on Salt Spring Island last summer and I've been keeping it for an occasion just like this. Despite the entirely unromantic name of Blattner White, I really enjoyed this wine. The "Blattner" part of the name is a reference to Valentin Blattner, a Swiss horticulturalist who's passion is to create grapes that are resistant to disease - and, therefore, don't require as many spray applications - but are still capable of yielding wines that can gain viable acceptance in the marketplace. While he's not exactly taking the wine world by storm, his grapes can now be found in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, BC, Ontario and the Maritimes. Like most hybrid grapes, many Blattner varietals are designed to be hardy enough to withstand the colder weather of nothern climes and to ripen earlier than the more common vinifera varietals that most people are familiar with; hence their great fit with Canadian wine regions.

Salt Spring Vineyards - and its winemaker, Paul Troop - are among the foremost propagators of Blattner varietals. They produce both a white and a red wine made from Blattner grapes and this vintage of the white actually won a silver medal - and best overall hybrid wine - at the 2010 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards. Petite Milo and Epicure are the names of the two grapes being blended in this wine and, as mentioned, we quite enjoyed the wine. I can see why it was awarded the silver medal.

The wine is a full bodied white and is quite fruit forward. In trying to find out more about the wine or the grapes, I see that it has been favourably compared to Alsatian wines, exhibiting characteristics of Riesling and Gewurtztraminer and even a hint of Sauvignon Blanc.

Unless someone else from BC is trying the same wine tonight, I doubt you'll see anyone looking to add either Petite Milo or Epicure to the Wine Century Club's Anniversary Count. I'm quite happy to be doing so and to be adding both varietals to my own tally for the club. This will bring me up to 130.

(PS. I see that this year's final count for The Wine Century Club count was 179 varietals. Far from that earlier record but pretty formidable in its own right.)

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