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Mention by Jancis Robinson

August 2, 2005

The 100 Club – of Grape Varieties

Here’s a clever idea. A New York couple, the De Longs (she designer, he architect), have come up with the Wine Century Club, www.winecentury.com, which you can join for nothing if you have tasted the 100 vine varieties cited on the De Longs’ grape varietal table of 100 shown here and sold at http://www.delongwine.com/wgvt.php for $35. It’s a wall chart, along the lines of a periodic table but with the grapes cunningly laid out in order of acidity and weight, plus a little
box about each.

I like their stated philosophy:

WE ARE:

  • People who enjoy wine
  • Wine adventurers
  • Consumers and promoters of uncommon wine grape varieties

WE ARE NOT:

  • Wine Snobs
  • Advocates of single varietal wines (Although we like single varietal wines, we don’t favor them over wines blended from several different grape varieties – there are simply too many great blends!)
  • Anti-Chardonnay
  • Anti-Merlot (Pass the Petrus, please!)

They say only three per cent of the thousands of entry forms for the Wine Century Club downloaded have been completed by people who have actually tasted all 100 of their chosen varieties. I took a look and wonder who can be confident they have ever tasted a Picpoul Noir. I’m not. Fewer than 100 hectares/250 acres remain in the south of France and I don’t think even Ch de Beaucastel make this one, do they? Nor am I sure I have tasted a Vinho Verde made from Avesso although varietal versions do now exist.
Go and have fun with this list yourself!

Jancis Robinson, August 2, 2005

Wine Spectator Article

Ever drunk an Assyrtiko, a Bourboulenc or a Xarel-lo? Then the Wine Century Club might be for you. To join the elite new group, you have to have tried at least 100 different grape varieties–anything from Aglianico to Zweigelt. Deborah and Steve De Long, creators of De Long’s Wine Grape Varietal Table, an educational tool that resembles the periodic table of elements, founded the club to promote “the many unsung grape varieties used to make wine” and meet like-minded people. The first meeting was held in Manhattan on March 16 at Lo Scalco restaurant, where a five-course dinner was paired with wines such as Ocone Falanghina del Taburno 2003 and a Nusserhof Südtiroler Lagrein Riserva 2000. These seem practically commonplace compared to some of the really obscure varieties listed on the application form, which is downloadable from www.delongwine.com/century.html. So far, 32 people have earned membership. Though the application works on the honor system, the fine print notes: “Should you lie, may the wrath of Bacchus curse your palate.”

The Wine Spectator, June 30, 2005