High and Mighty
Bernie opined: Just read "Birthday Wine Wishing" [8/13/03], and anyone moderately familiar with wine knows that the grape of Chateauneuf du Pape is Grenache, usually from 50 to 70 percent of the blend. Yes, there is some Syrah in it, but the grape that gives it guts is Mourvedre. Syrah is the grape of the northern Rhone. Also, recommending that people search for 30- and 40-year old wines is a fool's errand.
Yes, O Knowledgeable One, you're right. Grenache is the main grape in Chateauneuf. I must've been smokin' something while writing that column. As far as finding 30- and 40-year old wines, if you want it bad enough, and are willing to spend enough money, you can find anything out there on the Internet. Believe me... or not.
In a Texas State of Mind
Daniel said: As a true "wino," I would like to add a good selection from Texas, the Llano Estacado ("yanno estacado"), Chardonnay has been in my top five for years. High Plain, Lubbock, area, 3,000+ elevation, dry "upper desert," cold winter, hot summer, little rain... unusual area.
I, along with many other wine professionals, have been watching the Texas wine scene grow in quality and selection. Unfortunately, it's virtually impossible to find outside of Texas since it's illegal to bring it across state lines. Seems the limited supply and lack of popularity isn't profitable enough for our local distributors to take interest. But once the Supreme Court reverses those silly, unconstitutional and anti-competitive laws, we'll all be happier winos. Read more about this grassroots fight at freethegrapes.org
Waiter, There's a Carb in my Wine
Mr. Parent asked: Any suggestions on super low sugar red wines? The driest of the dry? Does an index or database exist listing sugar/carb content for popular brands? My wife is changing her white wine habit for health reasons and is hesitant to drink reds without knowing what she is getting into.
Actually, all wine is low carb. Dry reds, like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, range from 1.8 to 3.0 carbohydrates per 5 ounce glass. Diets lambast wine not because of its sugar content or carbohydrates -- most of the natural sugar in the grape juice is fermented out -- but because drinking alcohol of any sort will cause your blood sugar to fluctuate, making you crave more food. That said, the driest red wine you can buy -- that with the least residual sugar leftover after fermentation -- is generally Cabernet Sauvignon. And, although a database for particular brands doesn't exist, you can learn about all the nutrients in wine in the USDA online database at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic.
Pepper Bridge 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon 1/2
Wirra Wirra Vineyards 2001 Church Block McClaren Vale 1/2
Firefly 2002 Chardonnay $12.