Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The INRA/Vassal collection: 7,800 items in one morning.




A Slotovino visit to the world's greatest Grape Collection was always required and the kind INRA* people at Domaine Vassal, Marseillan-Plage near Sete and Montpellier, France allowed us a private view although normally visits are for groups only. We were particularly grateful because incredibly, the 7,800 accessions including multiple samples of 2,700 Vitis grapes, 1,100 interspecific hybrids, 400 rootstocks, 350 wild varieties and 60 species of Vitaceae will be moved to the Pech Rouge Experimental Unit (Gruissan, near Narbonne, Aude) over the next few years because the owners of Domaine Vassal has decided they would like to use it for something else.


The collection has been built up since 1876 by the Montpellier Agricultural School (now Montpellier SupAgro) and has been at Vassal since 1949. The sandy site is inhospitable to Phylloxera and the Xiphinema Index Nematode. the collection has been built up from exchanges with other collections all over the world, private gifts, discoveries by their own researchers, viticulturalists, vine nurseries and hobbyists.


Getting to Domaine Vassal involved a potentially hilarious detour thanks to a confusion between the terms Naturaliste and Naturiste on the map and a brush with the Gendarmerie for driving past the property and stopping on a beach to try to get our bearings.

Cecile
Nevertheless, the patient Cécile Marchal and Sandrine Dédet-Lalet were waiting to recieve us very cordially.

Sandrine
Sandrine, a Technicienne of the institute, had personally made the 10 bunches of cuttings for us back in March and Cécile was to show us round. Cécile is from St. Remy de Provence and is a highly qualified Agronomist. She is 'Responsable du CRB Vigne (Centre de Ressources Biologiques de la Vigne).


First stop was the nursery for new plants.


They are planted in surprisingly small pots filled with a kind of volcanic grit. they receive water and nutrients via a watering system. The method seems to work 100%.

different species of vine
with knobbly cane
Here we soon understood the collections range with not only grapevines but ornamental vines and plants of all kinds, some of which looked more like ivy which is not suprising as ivy and vines arefrom the same family of species.



After 2 years, these plants are planted outside in 500 metre long stretches separated by bamboo curtains.

Bamboo curtain
Cécile told how the site had originally consisted of dunes that had to be levelled. The protecting bamboo helps to stabilise the sand as well as providing a windbreak but amazingly, with all the other work they have to do, the sand still has to be managed every year as it still tends to drift.


There are only 8 full-time staff with 5 administrative personnel including the director. The domaine extends over many hectares. As well as all the work of catalogueing and raising the plants, there is an ongoing programme of creating new varieties.

Hybrid collection
Famous successes in the past have included Marselan, Caladoc, Chenancon and Chasan. They also breed table grapes of all kinds. For safety, duplicates of all accessions are sent to the INRA station at Colmar!

Rootstocks

A Japanese vine
Yes, it's a vine.

Our tour took in vineyards dedicated uniquely to Rootstocks, Hybrids, Ornamental varieties and the different species.

A 20 year old vine from Russia
Each type has 5 examples. When a single plant arrives, cuttings are made to provide copies. If plants are virussed, they are replaced with clean examples when possible.


All these plants need to be labelled, fed and watered. They also need to be pruned and most of that has to be done by hand. Even experimental micro-vinifications are made although none was on offer. This must be difficult given the fact that no variety has many examples and they all ripen at different times.



In the offices, records are kept of every variety including dried leaves, photos, descriptions, records and notes of the most painstaking and accurate kind. As service for identification is offered free of charge unless DNA profiling is required in which case the charge is around 80 Euros.

Hernàn Ojeda, Director
It's all pretty incredible. Our visit left us wondering if so much had ever been achieved by so few. Amazing that they agreed to give us a private tour for which we are eternally thankful.

*Institut National pour la Recherche Agriculturelle

Marseillan Plage








Monday, 17 July 2017

Hail Cesar




Many years ago before Blogs were invented, we had enjoyed a bottle of the obscure Burgundian grape, Cesar. Ever since we had tried to find another example, so great was our disappointment when having finally tracked one down the result was nothing like what we expected and not in a good way.

Always ready to have our opinions re-enforced or overturned we snapped up this bottle from Whole Foods of all places. We had stumbled on it unawares. No one could have neen more surprised although our visit to this former winner of Slotovino Supermarket of the year (0910) had proven just how good they still are.



Well, this Cesar was just a great combination of freshness and individuality. A glorious personality was shining through such as may have been the case on the first occasion now to distant to remember exactly but not on the second.

Cesar can now definitely take its place in the Slotovino Hall of Fame. Buy a bottle while stocks last and tell us we're wrong!


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Reder of the lost grapes


Only 17km from Montpellier is a wonderfully empty area with hardly a building, person or even a vehicle to be seen. Green oaks and a twisty road are practically all that may be found between Cournonterral and Gigean although signs hint at unseen estates on either side. One had almost given up trying to find such a wild area in France. Along this road is a sign to Comberousse, the estate where Paul Reder farms 11ha of vines including the rarissimi Aramon Gris and Chasan.



We loved his rose from Aramon Gris which we found at Chapire 20 in Paris so a pilgrimage was in order when in striking distance this summer.

Paul is a Geologist by training and worked in the Petrochemical business in the US for many years. Returning to France he took over the estate which his family has founded on returning from Algeria. The reders were originally from Alsace where so many winemakers have come from.



When we first encountered Grigri, le Gris we saw it as more like an orange wine somehow.



When we suggested this to Paul he wasn't against the idea but said that in fact Grigri (meaning 'Talisman') is actually a true rosé and the others are false with their 'saignée' dodges and whatnot.



The other rare grape viriety Paul uses is Chasan, a University of Montpellier cross between Chardonnay and what is locally known as Listan but more generally known as Palomino Fino.







Paul makes only this and 5 whites. They are all immensely characterful and taste totally individual, full of character. Probably best enjoyed with food, they are all natural with minimum sulphur added.



The vineyards are hidden in the Garrigue. Paul works them alone for the most part, A huge amount of work especially for a father of 4. Mildew is combatted by sulphur and other organic sprays.





Everything on the estate is simple and functional.



As well as the following wines, Paul makes a Rousanne/Rolle Cuvee in special years called Rocalhan. The last edition was in 2011. Paul said there may be a small chance of making it again from the 2016 vintage. This was absolutely outstanding; the kind of wine that seems to have just the right touch of oak but has actually never seen oak. Hunter Vally Semillon is sometimes like that.

Pauls wines are highly praised and well thought of in France. They merit a much greater exposure.

For our purposes, Paul Reder should be celebrated for the propagation of the rare Aramon Gris and Chasan to such effect. Here are his own notes from the website of Hautes Terres Comberousse.

GRIGRI
A rosé… or, rather, “gray” table wine
This cuvée originates from a single plot. The vines were planted in 2000 and made into wine for the first time in 2006. The evolution seen in the first several vintages should be rather noticeable. The aramon gris grape variety, similar to terret gris, is an old regional variety that almost completely disappeared during the uprooting campaigns of the 1970’s. It was used to produce a rosé wine, with a strong local reputation. The vine stock originates from a vineyard that was uprooted and is the product of visual selection of the most robust plants. The vines began with relatively small yields (15 hl/ha) and have gradually begun to increase towards an ideal yield of 30 hl/ha.
CUPIDONE
Table wine, blending Chasan, Chardonnay, and Clairette
This cuvée is produced using three grape varieties in proportions that vary from year to year:
  • Chasan: this variety is the product of the hybridization of Chardonnay and Listan (an old local variety) in 1958, which was authorized to be planted in 1973. It is extremely drought-resistant and develops aromas similar to that of Chardonnay.
  • Chardonnay: a variety having traveled far from its original terroirs.
  • Clairette: a southern variety with a subtle, mineral flavor.
SAUVAGINE
AOC Coteaux du Languedoc White
This cuvée is a blend of two typically Mediterranean grape varieties:
  • 75% White Grenache, which yields approximately 40 hl/ha – on this plot, the bedrock is dolomitic and is significantly visible on the surface, which greatly limits soil thickness. The yields are limited and consistent; 0.80 ha; planted in the early 1980’s;
  • 25% Rolle (also called Vermentino), which has an approximate yield of 30 hl/ha – harvested from a plot just uphill from the previously mentioned one, which has slightly thicker soil, allowing for the planting of this variety; 0.50 ha; planted in the early 1980’s.
Its name is the word used to refer to small “garrigue” felines who help regulate the population of rabbits who are quite partial to young vines. Sauvagine designates the whole of these different small felines. This cuvée complements Roucaillat, because it has a more conventional organoleptic profile, with fresh flower, citrus, and very light spice aromas. It is produced from the first picking of Rolle that come in just before the one-time harvest of all of the Grenache.
ROUCAILLAT
AOC Coteaux du Languedoc White
This cuvée is a blend of three grape varieties:
  • 1/6 White Grenache, with a yield of 40 hl/ha on a dolomitic substrate (same plot as that used for Sauvagine);
  • 2/6 Rolle (also called Vermentino), with an approximate yield of 30 hl/ha. – harvested from a plot just uphill from the previously mentioned one, whose slightly thicker soil allowed for the planting of this variety.
  • 3/6 Roussane. Here, Roussane provides yields around 25 hl/ha, spontaneously (without the use of corrective measures). It expresses a lovely mineral quality, accompanied by smoky aromas. It occupies the highest-altitude plot on the property (170 m).
Roucaillat is the flagship of our terroir. Approximately 14000 bottles are produced, yearly. A long maturation in the vat, as well as in the bottle give this wine a harmony that is able to express itself for numerous years. A “typically Mediterranean” white wine, its complex aromas and its structure make it the ideal complement to the unlikeliest of dishes. Several vintages are available.
ROCALHAN
 AOC Coteaux du Languedoc White
The two grape varieties that combine to make this cuvée seem to be the best suited to this purpose, because, with the passage of time, a natural balance has been struck between yield (25-hl/ha) and vigor:
  • Roussane: 2/3. Harvesting the plot in successive passes allows us to select grapes based on their maturity. Thus, the Roussane designated for this cuvée is harvested from the driest, highest part of the terroir. Its expression, therefore, depends greatly on the vintage, and certain years, the yield is to small to allow for the production of an individual cuvée.
  • Rolle : 1/3. The grapes used here are also those harvested from the highest plot of that grape variety.
This is a very distinctive and concentrated wine, which pairs perfectly with a meal.

In the cool store

Farm building

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Slotovino Hall of Fame. 1st update in 5 years!


Slotovino Hall of Fame

Shocking, but it's 5 years almost exactly since our last update to the Slotovino Hall of Fame. This is quite appalling since this list of unfamiliar and rare grape varieties is our very raisin d'etre as it were.

The new varieties admitted to our Hall of Fame outnumber the ones preesnt in August 2012 which is as it should be. He have every expectation that our discoveries in the next 5 years will be as numerous.

Here then are the additional varieties to be added to our list;

White

Aidani
Albarin
Arbane
Avesso
Azal
Bellone
Bianco d'Alessano
Bical
Catalanesca
Dafni
Dore
Feteasca Regala
Fiano Minutolo
Goustolidi
Kakotrygis
Kangun
Keknyelu
Kidonitsa
Kiralyleanyka
Kovidinka
Malagoussia
Malvar
Malvasia de Colares
Malvasia Puntinata
Mavro Kalavritino
Merseguera
Nuragus
Olivella
Petite Arvine
Plyto
Resi
Romorantin
Rossese Bianco
Roter Veltliner (aka. Fruehroter Veltliner)
Rotgipfler (aka. Zelenac)
Savatiano
Szeremi Zold
Thrapsathiri
Tinaktorogos
Torrantes de Pico
Vidiano
Voskehat
Xarel-lo Vermell
Zelen
Zierfaendler



Red

Areni
Abouriou
Alvarelhao/Brancellao
Avgustatis
Bobal
Chambourcin
Chenancon
Espadeiro
Etraire de l'Adui
Feteasca Dragosani
Fumin
Haghtanak
Kadarka
Khndoghni/Sireni
Kotsifali
Krasnostop Zolotavsky
Lecinaro
Liatiko
Limniona
Malbo Gentile
Mandilaria
Mando/Mandon
Mavrodafne of Cefalonia
Mavrotragono
Mavroudi
Menoire
Negrette
Negretto/Negrettino
Nero Buono
Neronet
Norton
Novac
Olivella/Sciacinoso
Pollera Nera
Rossara
Rojal
Royal
Schiava/Vernatsch
Sumoll
Tamurro Nero
Termarina Nera
Trepat
Turan
Uva Rra
Vlahiko



The combined list is now as follows;

White

Aidani
Albarin Blanco
Antao Vaz
Arbane
Auxerrois
Avesso
Azal
Bellone
Bianco d'Alessano
Bical
Bombino (aka. Trebbiano D'Abruzzo)
Bukettraube
Catalanesca
Cividin
Dafni
Doradilla
Dore
Elbling
Encruzado
Eva de los Santos
Feteasca Regala
Fiano Minutolo
Goldriesling
Goustolidi
Gringet
Incrocio Manzoni
Johanniter
Kakotrygis
Kangun
Keknyelu
Kerner
Kidonitsa
Kiralyleanyka
Koshu
Kovidinka
Len de L'Oiel
Loureiro
Malagoussia
Malvasia de Colares
Malvasia Istriana
Malvasia Puntinata
Maria Gomez
Mauzac (in all its 7 varieties)
Mavro Kalavritino
Merseguera
Mtsivane
Muller Thurgau
Nuragus
Olivella
Ondenc
Ortrugo
Passerina
Pecorino
Perle
Petite Arvine
Pignoletto
Plyto
Resi
Romorantin
Rossese Bianco
Roter Veltliner (aka. Fruehroter Veltliner)
Rotgipfler (aka. Zelenac)
Savatiano
Spergola
Szeremi Zold
Terret
Thrapsathiri
Tinaktorogos
Torbato
Torrantes de Pico
Trajadura (aka. Treixadura)
Tsolikouri
Verdil
Vidiano
Verduzzo
Vilana
Vitovska
Voskehat
Welschriesling (aka. Riesling Italico)
Xarell-Lo
Xarel-lo Vermell
Zelen
Zlahtina
Zierfaendler


Red


Alibernet
Ancelotta
Abouriou
Alvarelhao/Brancellao
Areni
Avgustatis
Baga
Blauer Wildbacher
Bobal
Bonarda del Oltrepo Pavese (aka. Croatina)
Canaiolo
Carcaghjolu Neru
Casavecchia
Casetta
Centesimino
Chambourcin
Chenancon
Cornalin (aka. Humagne Rouge)
Dornfelder
Douce Noire (aka. Charbono, Corbeau, Bonarda)
Espadeiro
Etraire de l'Adui
Feteasca Dragosani
Folle Noire (aka. Fuella Nera, Jurancon Rouge)
Frappato
Fumin
Gaglioppo
Gamaret
Garanoir
Gascon
Graciano
Gignolino
Grolleau
Gropello
Haghtanak
Hondarrabi Beltza
Incrocio Manzoni
Juan Garcia
Kadarka
Khndoghni/Sireni
Koshu
Kotsifali
Krasnostop Zolotavsky
Lecinaro
Liatiko
Limniona
Maglioppo
Malbo Gentile
Mandilaria
Mando/Mandon
Marselan
Mavrodafne of Cefalonia
Mavrotragono
Mavroudi
Mencia
Menoire
Moravia Agria
Negrara
Nerello Capuccio
Negrette
Negretto/Negrettino
Nero Buono
Neronet
Norton
Novac
Olivella/Sciacinoso
Osoleta
Palagrello Nero
Perricone (aka. Pignatello)
Persan
Piedirosso
Pineau D'Aunis
Plavac Mali
Pollera Nera
Poulsard
Prieto Picudo
Pugnitello
Raboso
Ramisco
Ribeyrenc
Rome
Rossara
Rossese
Rojal
Royal
Saperavi
Schiava/Vernatsch
Schioppettino (aka. Ribolla Nera)
Sciacarello
Sumoll
Tamurro Nero
Termarina Nera
Tinta Barocca
Tinta Cao
Tinta Negramoll
Trepat
Tsimlyanskiy
Turan
Uva Longanesi
Uva di Troia
Uva Rara
Vermentino Nero
Vernaccia Nera
Vlahiko
Vranec
Xinomavro


Friday, 16 June 2017

Slotovino roll call of Honour



As well as the Slotovino Hall of Fame for rare grape varities discovered on our journeys, we try to pay homage to those pioneers who rescue endangered species.

In 2010 we tried to honour the following. It's worth reproducing the whole post since it has been buried under 7 years' verbiage.

To these we'd like to add

Andre Manz (Dona Fatima)                          Jampal
Plaimont Producteurs                                    Arrufiac
Chanton Visp                                                  Resi
Longanesi                                                        Longanesi
A.A. La Sabbiona                                           Savignon Rosso
Alfonso Soranzo                                             Cavrara, Pattaresca,Turchetta
Ognibene family                                             Negretto/Negrettino
Cinque Campi                                                 Malbo gentile
Alberto and Claudia Peretti                          Temarina Nera
Bernabe Navarro                                             Fourcayat
Pierpaolo Lorieri                                             Vermentino Nero
Leonardo Piertafesa, Tenuta le Querce         Tamurro Nero
Hardimos Hatzidakis                                      Assyritiko, Mavrotragono
Gianluca Bisol                                                  Dorona


As well as the above, here is our embryonic Roll Call of Honour together with the grapes relevant to each name;

Giuseppe Apicella, Alfonso Arpino and Luigi Reale - Tintore  
Emilio Bulfon - Cividin, Cjanorie, Forgiarin, Moscato Rosa, Picolit Neri, Sciaglin, Ucelut  
Casali Viticultori - Spergola  
Francisco Figueiredo and others - Ramisco  
Jean-Pierre and Philippe Grisard - Persan, Etraire de l'Adui  
Walter Massa - reviver of Timorasso and leader of a new wave of winemakers in South East Piemonte 
Jose Luis Mateo Bastardo, Caíño Redondo, Caiño longo, Zamarrica, Brancellao, Sousón, Arauxa,

Jose Luis Mateo
Dona Blanca and Monstruosa de Monterrei in Galicia;
Heinrich Mayr for nurturing the white heirloom variety Blaterie at his Nusserhof property near Bolzano, Alto Adige  
Robert & Bernard Plageoles, 7 types of Mauzac, Ondenc, Prunelart, Verdanel etc.  
Domenico Pedrini and Gianni Chiste' of Azienda Agricola Pravis, Lasino (near Trento), Negrara and Gropello di Revo back from increasing obscurity in the Trentino area.  
The Rasse family (Rene and his sons Georges and Denis) for maintaining the idiosyncratic St. Jeannet appelation (near Nice) when almost all other vignerons (there were 70 in the 1950s) have sold their land to developers. It is in this case the Terroir if not the varieties which were endangered although some rare Braquet is grown together with Mourvèdre, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache, Rolle, Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat and Grenache Noir and the bizarre and ancient method of aging the reds in 'Bonbonnieres' before putting the wine in oak barrels.

The smaller surviving growers include Mimi Lorenzato, Roger Barrière and Lazare Giambi. Agricola San Felice - Pugnitello  
Luigia Zucchi - Nibio the regeneration of the ancient grape variety, Nibiò, which once held position as Monferrato's noblest and highest value. 200 years of neglect nearly resulted in its extinction, but producer Luigia Zucchi has fronted the campaign for its rebirth. There are no doubt many more and we will add to the list, but this is a start and suggestions will be gratefully received.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Pasticcio

                                                         Sir John Soane - Pasticcio

Our occasional series of mixed-bag bottles has gone under the names of Valderi-Valdera, Pot-Pourri, Gemischter Salat and Salmagundi. Now Pasticcio - a good old musical term for an opera cobbled together from numbers taken from works by the same or diverse composers.

Pasticcio di Rigatoni
'Pasticcio' was first used in the 16th century for a meat and pasta pie and is still used for that by the Greeks ('Pastisio') by the way.

Today's Pasticcio consists of the following wines we have enjoyed in recent weeks and months. Some have been mentioned already in this blog but not tasted.

the elegant Buscicchio Pietrafesa couple of Tenuta Le Querce, Barile, Basilicata Italy and Primrose Hill, London UK giving a tasting of their wines at the Princess of Wales pub, Chalcot Road, London



We have written about how this almost extinct variety was revived by Le Querce but until this convenient tasting we hadn't actually tasted the wine made from this grape. The impression was very positive indeed. Generous, fruity with its own personality. one to join the Slotovino Hall of fame (we must revive that auspicious academy!). This wine has legs in more sense than one. Complimenti!



Staying in Italy, we found this delicious 11.5% inexpensive blend of Ansonica 'con altri vitigni autoctoni.' They guard this information closely. This is sometimes because the local varieties are not permitted but in the case of this prominent producer it is more likely chosen from the Sicilian varities included in ther other whites such as Cattaratto, Grillo and/or Zibibbo. We're not quite sure why but this excellent value wine is only available in Italy according to Winesearcher.



For this no less delicious Biancolella, you only have to go to L'Antico in Kings Road, London where Franco will fetch it for you if you ask nicely.
 

 

We found this 100% Bellone at Enoteca Costantino in Roma, but you can get something like it from Swig. What they sell doesn't state the grape Bellone on the label but we are assured that's what it is. Frascati and Castelli Romani grapes can include a maximum of 10% and 30% respectively of local varieties in addition the various Malvasias and Trebbianos permitted in the DOCs. Bellone is one of these 'Altre uve bianche locali' which is why our bottle only mentions Lazio IGT. Ian D'Agata has a very high  opinion of Bellone calling it 'an outstanding grape variety, one of the best in Italy today.' We agree on the strength of this example from Marco Carpineti of Cori - "Capolemole".



We were charmed to discover the sparkling reds of the Penisola Sorrentina a while back. Now we have tasted this Piedirosso/SciascinosoAglianico rosso frizzante naturale we have ordered another couple of bottles; the ultimate endorsement.
 

founder francisco Napoleao
On to Portugal and two wines from the Vinho Verde appelation. We took advantage of an offer  for free shipping from the excellent Lisbon merchant Napoleao and bought some of their more resaonable low alcohol Vino Verdes.





Vinhao is the grape of red Vino Verde. Not all Vinhao is delicious. This one is.



Vinho Verde branco can have all sorts of grapes in it; Trajadura, Loueiro, Azal. Avesso, Arinto de Bucelas (aka. Pederna) and Alvarinho but the first two are very typical. Not all white Vinho Verdes are good but this one (Alvarinho + Trajadura) stood out, especially at only €7.99.


East now to Hungary. This Kiralyleanyka was part of our Hungarian haul from the Hungaricum shop at Budapest Airport. Despite our disappointment with Kiralyleanyka under 13% tasting neutral, this one - Bolyki - was nicely aromatic and characteristic at 12.5%. It quite restored our high opinion of this grape.



Next door in Romania (Bucharest Airport Duty Free) we had found this bottle of white wine from a variety called Sarba. It had stood in our cupboard since October 2015 so we were apprehensive as to its state but there was no need to worry. Many native white Romanian varieties (Mustoasa Maderat, Busuioaca de Bohotin) have an inclination towards sweetness as does Sarba. It is a hybrid from Grasevina (Welschriesling/Riesling Italico) and an unnamed pollinator. Maybe this sweetness helps it survive poor storage? Memorable.



Next the only French area - the Commune des Riceys - to boast three appellations; Champagne, Cotaux Champenois and Rose des Riceys. Ricey is also the southernmost appellation of the Champagne area bordering on Bourgogne. Rose des Riceys is made from Pinot Noir and is never sparkling. If still wines from Champagne are expensive (this one was) it may be that with every bottle, two bottles of Champagne are sacrificed since the wine would have been a component of two bottles of (sparkling) Champagne As Tom Stevenson says, the wines like this are 'quaint' and 'a much lesser beast that those of Burgundy.' Nevertheless it was a rarity and certainly pleasant to drink.







The Negrette we bought around the corner from Chambers Street wines at Frankly Wines on W. Broadway was fantastic. What a great grape Negrette is and why cut it with Syrah? It just makes it less Negrette-ish. Is there some reason it's so difficult to find Negrette in purezza? Something's afoot. Why does this lovely bottle need such an apologetic label?





This Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc blend from the Netherlands was a huge hit at a dinner with what can only be described as some wine connoisseurs present. We scratched our heads for something they might never had had before and Dutch wine was the answer. Excellent as well as obscure.




On to the New World, except Hunter Vally Semillon is a classic and as Jancis Robinson says 'Australia's gift to the world.' As readers of this blog know, we certainly agree with her and perhaps not co-incidentally, although from the Barossa Valley, we found this upscale bottle in Will Lander's Portland restaurant. Like HV Semillon, this was low in alcohol, 11.2%. Quite wonderful.




Our final ingredient in this Pasticcio is something completely different, our Norton from Missouri. In case you haven't been following us on this, we had two types of Norton, this and the reserve from Stone Hill Winery of Hermann MO. delivered to a friend in New York City to await our visit there in March 2017. This was the only way we could get our hands on this interesting so-called US native variety given the complicated rules for shipping and even purchasing wine in the USA.

Norton is regarded as the only old American hybrid not to show any signs of foxyness. A DNA study has shown it to have Vinifera ancestry together with Vitis Aestivalis. Enfarine Noir has been suggested as the Vinifera component.

Whatever the real story, Norton on this evidence is a variety worth cultivating. It is said to be vigorous and resistant to mildew. We think old hybrids generally are outdated but not Norton!