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Le Grand Prix du Cépage

May 17, 2010

We’re currently 779 members strong, with 28 doppel members, 5 treble members and one quattro member. While membership is increasing dramatically, more and more members are continuing their quest to Doppel levels and beyond.

To honor this sense of adventure and crazed obsessiveness, I am announcing a contest and award for the most grape varieties tasted by any one member: Le Grand Prix du Cépage!

Entries are due November 12, 2010 5PM EST and the winner will be announced on November 15th.

A big help in the quest for Doppel+ membership is the expanded application and database developed by Dr. Thomas Mercer-Hursh. You can find both on his site, A Muse in the Cellar.

A Wine with 152 Grape Varieties

May 11, 2010

That’s 95 more than Heinz’s 57! And in one bottle no less!

Through the generosity of Tom Reagan (our reigning champ with 426 varieties) I was able to try the 2005 Giribaldi Cento Uve Lange DOC a wine that our sole Indian member, sommelier Subhash Arora, has written about.

Obviously this wine poses a problem for the Wine Century Club. Since we allow all the grapes in a blend to count towards our totals, it makes things far too easy – one sip and Bob’s your uncle – wham-bam welcome to the club. Where’s the adventure in that? Something must be done!

I convened an emergency executive committee meeting where we came up with a ruling: the 2005 Giribaldi Cento Uve Lange DOC can not count for initial membership in the club but the grape varieties in it can count towards higher levels of membership (ie Doppel).

Whew!

So how was the wine?

It’s about 50% Nebbiolo which is interesting since Nebbiolo is rarely blended with other grapes and some would say that, like Pinot Noir, it’s a grape that shouldn’t be blended. Initially it was fairly closed and not very interesting, but opened up into a very aromatic and enjoyable wine – floral, roses and violets along with a big splash of Dr. Pepper with cocoa and cherries coming out on the palate. The tannins were abundant and chewy but also drying which would usually indicate that it needs a few more years in the cellar, however in other ways it already seems fully matured. I wouldn’t wait, especially if you’re working on your Doppel level! It was perfect with grilled sirloin.