Friday, March 6, 2009

123 A-Z Grape Guide at Decanter

The other day I went into my local wine shop and asked if they had any Vermentino. I discovered this fragrant white wine recently at an Italian wine tasting and wanted to explore it further. Not only did they not have the variety, but their resident Italian wine expert had never even heard of it.

Today, I discovered a terrific online resource which would have helped my wine shop friend. has an incredibly useful list of 123 wines listed from A-Z, from Aghiorghitiko (a Greek red) to Zinfandel. This list is helpful for anyone who tries something new and wants to learn more—it even includes grapes that have different names in different countries. I learned that the Italian Vermentino I enjoyed is known in southern France as Rolle—hey, I had a glass of that at a Women for Winesense dinner!

Is the list definitive? Not even close. For example, the Zs stop at Zinfandel, not listing Austria’s Zweigelt grape which Eric Asimov introduced me to at a seminar. Still, it’s a very convenient resource. Some grapes have write-ups that are concise and to-the-point. Others have long paragraphs that offer insights not only about their taste, but also about their trendiness. For example: “Viognier…has become the darling of Californians, and, latterly Argentina, Australia and the South of France too.”

I can see this as also being a great resource for those trying to join the Wine Century Club. These ambitious imbibers are on a mission to try wines from 100 different grape varieties.

There are many wine resources online, but this is one that I’m sure I’ll return to time and again.

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