We had some friends over yesterday and I opened up a box of Sicilian wine, which my father had given me last christmas. Here’s what I have to say about it:
- Country: Sicily, Italy
- Appelation: Indicazione Geografica Tipica
- Producer: Feudo di Santa Tresa
- Region: Southern Sicily
- Year: 2007
- Grape variety: Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon
- Aroma: intense nose of blackcurrants and spices
- Palate: perfectly balanced, soft tannins, great full, round taste. I love it. I warmly recommend this wine!
Wine is fermented grape juice. In essence, that is all I know about making wine. So I had to find a teacher in winemaking, if I ever want to produce something remotely drinkable. Once again, I turned to Google. One particular book was suggested by a lot of different people: First Steps in Winemaking by C.J.J. Berry.
I have been reading the book for a day or two now. First consideration: Mr. Berry makes it sound pretty easy. But I’m pretty sure it’s not. Second: I’m going to need quite a lot of stuff. Especially all kinds of plastic barrels and buckets with water traps seem to come in handy. Oh, and everything to safeguard hygiene.
The thing that worries me most is finding the yeast, acids, sulfite tablets and all the other ‘chemical’ stuff. Anyway, I shouldn’t be picking the grapes until the end of september/start of october, so I have some time left to finish the book and find all the necessary stuff.
In the meantime, it’s raining cats and dogs over here. Hang in there, little grapes :(
Do you know any good books about winemaking? Drop me a note!
The first thing I wanted to find out was the species of grapevine I had in the garden. I was lucky: there was a little white card around the stem, which said “Frankenthaler”. Next stop: Google.
It turns out “Frankenthaler” is not the only name for these grapes. Some common synonyms are Trollinger, Black Hamburg, Schiava Grossa, Nobile and Vernatsch.
I was happy to read that this light-red, late-maturing grape variety was actually being used to make wine. It was originally cultivated in the wine regions of South Tyrol and Trentino and probably reached the southern regions of Germany during Roman times. Today it is particularly popular in the wine region Baden-Württemberg: 21.2% of the local vineyards are devoted to Trollinger grapes, making it one of the region’s top three grapes. Although Trollinger is not considered to be a top grape, people in Württemberg have a special atttachement to it, as I read in this terrific article.
Three more facts about Frankenthaler, Black Hamburg, Vernatsch, Trollinger or whatever you wish to call it:
- The variety is first mentioned in fourteenth century documents. Martin Luther drank it according to a report of the papal legate Alexander around 1520.
- The Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace which is now the oldest and most famous grape vine in existence, is a Frankenthaler. It was planted by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in 1768 when he was head gardener. It still produces about 600 pounds of black grapes each year.
- In the 1960s, it was crossed with Riesling to produce a cross called “Kerner”.
The grapevine in my garden has a history and it can be used to make wine. Now all I have to do is find out how. I guess that’ll be the hard part, right?
My girlfriend and I bought a house this summer. There’s a lot to say about that, but I want to talk about one thing in particular. It turned out there was a grapevine in the garden. I was delighted when I found out, because wine has become sort of an interest of mine in the past two years.
The thought came instantly: could I make wine from these grapes? The answer came just as quickly: let’s find out.