Spain 2006 – part 1, Catalonia, Catalonia, what make your big wines so hot!

September 14, 2006

I arrived in Barcelona for the first of what I hope will be many trips to the wine regions of Spain on the afternoon of March 9th. An Importer who I work with, André Tamers and his company De Maison Selections organized the trip.

This is an ITB disclaimer- we only visited wineries represented De Maison – this is not to promote his wines but simply to share my experience on this trip.

After gathering all of the troops together it was off to our private bus – very swank. The bus had room for 14 though we were only 10 so there was a bit of room to spread out. Our driver, Jose Miguel was quickly dubbed “Ice” due to the shape of his hairstyle (which oddly resembled the shape of our bus) and the meticulous grooming of his eyebrows.

In minutes we were off to our first destination, Penedès – Cava country!

After a painless 2-hour drive south we arrived at Avinyó. Based in a farmhouse that dates back to the 16th century, the Esteve Nadal family has been making still and sparkling wines for over 40 years. In addition to wine, the estate also produces traditional Catalan four pigment ceramic tiles and houses an impressive collection of antique Porrones, the traditional Catalan drinking vessel (more on these later).

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Article in Maclean’s (Canada)

May 22, 2006

From Canada, a fairly long and slanderous ;^) article in today’s Maclean’s Magazine, 100 wines and you’re in the club.

The Wine Century Club Turns One

March 13, 2006

If you’re drinking a Buttafuoco*, Dzhani*, or Ehrenfelser*
chances are you may be a member of the Wine Century Club. To join the club, which is celebrating its 1st birthday on Friday, March 17th, you must have tasted at least 100 different grape varieties. It was founded a year ago by Deborah and Steve De Long for adventurous wine drinkers everywhere.

Just as the world of wine grapes is ever increasing, the club is also expanding rapidly. It began with 33 and now has 109 members form all over the world, including Finland, Georgia (USA and former USSR), Germany, Spain and Brazil. At the present rate of growth (330%) the club will surpass the readership of the Wine Advocate in five years and the population of China in just 12 years. Part of this growth was fueled by the introduction of the first local chapter of the Wine Century Club – Vino Cellars 100 – in Williamsburg, VA. Thanks to Heather Hatcher (Chapter President), Bill Bean (Chapter VP) and Paul Luchsinger (Chapter Secretary) and all its members for their initiative in what should be the first of many local chapters.

*Dzhani and Ehrenfelser are both wine grape varieties. Buttafuoco is an Italian blend of 25-65% Barbera, 25-65% Croatina, and up to 45% Uva rara and/or Ughetta and/or Pinot Nero.

First Local Chapter: Williamsburg, Virginia

February 14, 2006

The Wine Century Club of New York City is pleased to announce the formation of its first local chapter. The new chapter – WINE CELLAR 100 – is located in Williamsburg, VA and is sponsored by The Wine Seller in Monticello Marketplace.

Shown in the photograph are the first three members of the Williamsburg Chapter (from left, Bill Bean, VP, Heather Hatcher, President and Paul Luchsinger, Secretary). Luchsinger is shown holding a
large corkscrew made from an elk antler. “It takes a big corkscrew to open all those bottles,” joked Luchsinger, who boasts a large collection of unique and antique corkscrews. Currently there are eight members in this chapter, with meetings held at The Wine Seller.

For further information regarding the Williamsburg Chapter of the Wine Century Club, contact chapter president Heather Hatcher at the Wine Seller in the Monticello Marketplace at 757.564.4400.

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