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Vinodiversity in France, Spain and London
June 27, 2007

Midwinter newsletter from Vinodiversity

This time of year you might be looking for some warming foods, if you are in the southern hemisphere that is. Why not try a few recipes that I have collected at

Each comes with a varietal wine suggestion, and guess what? none are for Chardonnay. Why not use the occasion to try your hand at Osso Bucco or maybe even Roman Style Tripe. There are plenty to choose from.


Just because I am a Wine Centurion (I've tried over a hundred different wine grape varieties) doesn't mean that I've stopped looking.

On my recent European trip I managed to extend my list a little.

Picpoul. This is a highly acid white wine variety grown in the Languedoc region of South West France. the French rendition of the word is Piquepoul meaning lipstinger. It is used to make highly acid wines of some character under the name Picpoul de Pinet. It is also used for making Vermouth. I enjoyed a bottle with a nice garlicky grilled squid in a canal bank restaurant at Sete on the Mediterranean end of the Canal de Midi.

Txakoli is a white wine appellation from the Basque region of Spain. It is made principally from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape. The wines are typically acidic, low alcohol and ever so slightly acidic, just the thing for tucking into a few tapas.

Verdejo. At a wine show at Penefiel in the Ribiera del Duero I found that one of the exhibitors spoke good English and had wine made from varieties other than Tempranillo. Verdejo is quite a distinct variety distinct from the Verdelho with which we are familiar. Verdejo is grown mainly in the Rueda region of Northern Spain, but a few growers are now using it in the Ribiera del Duero. The wine is of medium weight and aromatic, but not as tropical-fruity as it's near namesake.

Torrontes is an aromatic white wine variety, or more accurately a group of varieties mainly used in Argentina, although there is still a little still in Spain. I tried a few at the London Wine and Spirit Show, varying from sweetish to quite dry. Some were strongly aromatic and very elegant, but I understand there are a few very ordinary wines around. Apparently the key to making good Torrontes is to have your vineyard high in the Andes.

Lacrima. I hadn't even heard of this one. I'd heard of Lacrima Christi, the tears of Christ, the sweetish white wine that Leonardo da Vinci used to dunk his arrowroot biscuits into. But this is a red wine variety used in the Marche region of Italy to make Lacrima di Morro d'Alba. Plenty of fruit flavours, strawberries mainly.

Other varieties tasted and enjoyed were some Madiran reds (Tannat, Cab Franc and Fer) and Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl, a white wine from SW France made from Petit manseng.

While in London, I caught up with Steve De Long, author of the Wine Grape Varietal Table. He tells me that the Wine Century club has nearly 250 members around the world. This club is reserved for those who have tasted more than 100 different grape varieties. You can download the list and application form by visiting and following the link to the Century Club.


The Bendigo Region is featured at the Wine Showcase at Fed Square on July 4 and 5 Now isn't a cold winter just the time to find some big reds?...Bendigo has them, but it's not all shiraz shiraz and shiraz. Check out the vinodiversity page on this region. See you there, you can pick your copy of Emerging Varietal Wines of Australia, or the Wine Grape Varietal Table.


Coming up on Vinodiversity

I am currently reworking the Australian Wine Club on Vinodiversity to bring you some exciting new offers, and bonuses. In the meantime there are two specials running, a gold medal winning Petit Verdot, and a world class Viognier. You can get these wines at a special price or mix and match with other specials to make up your own dozen. See


Wine Auctions

The tide is turning as far as getting wines for bargain prices. We can expect to see less wine discounting and cleanskins around over the next few months. But there are still some bargains around. One way of picking up some wine at a very reasonable price is via the auction scene. You can bid on wine from $9.00 per case up or fill the gaps in your collection of Grange for a few dollars more...well maybe quite a few extra dollars. Some of the wines available are cleanskins, quite a few are labelled wines.

But you have to be in it. Three easy steps.

1. Follow this link -

2. Register your details

3. Start Bidding.


Another winter idea!

Don't go out to a restaurant; get the restaurant to come to you.

Now you can place an order online at your favourite restaurant and have your meal delivered direct to your door. With more than 300 restaurants to choose from, in over 250 suburbs across Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, you will be spoilt for choice of where to order your next takeaway meal. The service is available at And you can drink your own perfectly matched wine without paying ridiculous mark-ups or corkage.



The Wine Grape Varietal Table is now available at reduced postage in Australia. It makes a superb gift. With Fathers Day coming up it's time to start dropping hints to the kids or order one for your own dad. For details of how best to get your table no matter where you are in the world see

Two more reminders. I have set up a couple of squidoo lenses or mini-sites at


Comments and contributions welcome

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