Grape schedule

We aim to update this page so that at least the next four week’s grapes are known, so you can pick them up in plenty of time to join in.

Week W/C Grape Tasting Notes Buying guide
1 01-Jan-2018 Tempranillo Tasting Notes Head to the Spanish Red section of the wine shop. Then try to locate a Rioja Crianza or Reserva. If you check the back label try to see that Tempranillo is the top grape listed in the blend. Alternatively a Ribera del Duero Spanish red should be almost 100% of that grape.
2 08-Jan-2018 Viognier Tasting Notes We’re going to taste a Viognier from the South of France. So ideally look for one from that region too. Or another relatively cool climate one from Chile or New Zealand; rather than Australia or California.
3 15-Jan-2018 Shiraz Tasting Notes This week it’s a Barossa Shiraz, the classic Australian version. So try to find a similar Oz version, ideally from that region or McLaren Vale.
4 22-Jan-2018 Riesling Tasting Notes We’re going to try a dry new world Riesling. Ideally find an Australian from Clare or Eden Valley. If not, South Africa or USA Washington Estate would be good alternatives.
5 29-Jan-2018 Primitivo (Zinfandel) Tasting Notes Head to the North American section and find a Californian Zinfandel. Note this is a red wine, don’t get the pink “White Zin”, as you’ll regret it.
6 05-Feb-2018 Grenache (Garnacha) Tasting Notes We’re off to Spain this week, to try an old vine Garnacha, which is what they call Grenache. Head to the Spanish reds and look for one from the Calatayud or Carinena regions.
7 12-Feb-2018 Pinot Gris Tasting Notes Go to the French section of the white wine aisle and keep an eye out for Pinot Gris. I know that we are mostly buying from major supermarkets and this is a lesser found style. If you can’t get that, Oregon Pinot Gris is a good second best. Lastly, head to the New Zealand section.
8 19-Feb-2018 Nero D’Avola Tasting Notes Nero D’Avola is a Sicilian grape, so it’s time to head to the Italian shelf in the wine aisle. Any will do, but the Vittoria region of Sicily is where the best versions come from. Bargain bucket Nero D’Avolas can be lovely, but if you trade up a little to £10 or more then you will get a chance to taste the sophistication this grape can achieve.
9 26-Feb-2018 Picpoul Blanc Tasting Notes This week we’re asking you to seek out the trendy new white of the moment. It comes from the South of France so head to the French white section and look for a tall thin bottle which is particular for this wine. It should stand out and have Picpoul de Pinet clearly labelled on the front.
10 05-Mar-2018 Corvina Tasting Notes Corvina is an Italian red grape but it tends to be labelled by the region of Valpolicella where it comes from; or by a specific style of wine it makes called Amarone. We are going to be trying an Amarone since this is a special style of wine that involves the grapes being left to raisin after being picked. It is so unique it seemed only right to try that. Most large retailers stock Amarone, so head for the Italian red section and look for a wine labelled with that name.
11 12-Mar-2018 Chenin Blanc Tasting Notes Chenin Blanc originates from the Loire in France, but we are opting to taste the new world region most famed for its production – South Africa. We will be looking for a unoaked or lightly oaked South African Chenin which will help us to try the grape in its most unadulturated style. To find that go to the South African white section and check the back label to see if oak is mentioned, typically the label will state if it is used in the winemaking. Ken Forrester is a great producer, widely distributed, and a good option if you spot one.
12 19-Mar-2018 Touriga Nacional Tasting Notes Touriga is the most famous red grape of Portugal. It tends to be used in reds from the Douro region, which also makes port wines. The easiest way to find a wine made with this grape is to look for a red from Portugal made in the Douro valley. Or to look for the Portuguese red section in a retailer and check the back label for the grapes used in the blend. It is unusual to find a 100% Touriga so it’s very likely you’ll have to scour the labels and find a blend. Watirose, M&S and Aldi stock Douro reds. If all else fails a bottle of port would make an interesting option to try this week.
13 26-Mar-2018 Fiano Tasting Notes This pretty little white comes from the Southern Campania region in Italy. It can also be found in Australia, but we are going to try the original. Head to the Italian white section and you can find this wine in lots of the major retailers.
14 02-Apr-2018 Nebbiolo Tasting Notes Nebbiolo is the grape that goes into making the classic Italian wine, Barolo. Nebbiolo is the grape and Barolo is the the region. This week all you need to do is to find a decent Barolo from the Italian red section of a wine shop. This is never a cheap wine but if can be explosive in its flavour and a truly unique experience. Don’t miss this week!
15 09-Apr-2018 Melon de Bourgogne Tasting Notes This week’s grape is more commonly known as Muscadet, which is a region in the Loire area of France. It has fallen out of fashion but is a lovely dry white. We are going to try a specific style called “Muscadet Sur Lie”. We’ll explain what that means later, but for now find the French white section and look for those words on the front label. It should be widely available.
16 16-Apr-2018 Malbec Tasting Notes The grape chose itself this week, as this Tuesday is world Malbec day. This is a grape with a special place in Emma’s heart because she visits Argentina each year to buy wines. So she is going to pick one of her favourite new producers that makes wines in her favourite region called the “Uco Valley”. It’s a special area with some of the best climate conditions. Stroll to the South America/Argentina red section and try to identify a wine with the words Uco Valley and you’ll be tasting something similar to us.
17 23-Apr-2018 Garganega Tasting Notes Back to the old world and we’re rediscovering another forgotten but great white grape. More commonly known as Soave, the region in the Veneto, Italy. It has been overshadowed by Pinot Grigio but to wine lovers is the superior grape with more flavour. Try to find a Soave Classico which means the grapes will come from the better hillside slopes. We will be doing the same.
18 30-Apr-2018 Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Notes Friday is Sauvignon Blanc day so we’re going with the theme and will be trying a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. We expect you’ve had your fair share of “Savvy Bs”, and encourage you to trade up a little and try a premium version. We can then all discuss if it is worth paying that little bit more for a Kiwi Sauvignon. Look out for one from the classic Marlborough region, and potentially an Awatere Valley sub region where the coolest climate styles come from.
19 07-May-2018 Gewurztraminer Tasting Notes Gewurztraminer is a classic grape variety of the region Alsace in France. Happily Alsace normally puts this grape variety boldly on the front label so it should be easy to identify. So we will be trying a version from there. Good alternatives regions if you find this hard to find would be Germany, New Zealand or Chile.
20 14-May-2018 Barbera Tasting Notes Barbera is an Italian grape from the North East of Italy in Piedmont where the famous Barolo reds are also made. So head to the Italian red section and look for a wine with this grape name on the label. Typically it comes from two famous villages; Alba or Asti. Either one will work to taste along with us.
21 21-May-2018 Chardonnay Tasting Notes We will be heading straight to the the classic region of Burgundy. Our sub region of choice will be Puligny Montrachet. So head to the French white section and look for any of these, your choice may be dependent on how much you want to spend: Bourgogne Blanc, Macon Villages, Chablis, Pouily Fuisse, Rully, Chassagne Montrachet, Meursault or Puligny Montrachet.
22 28-May-2018 Carignan Tasting Notes Carignan comes from the south of France in the Rhone or Languedoc. It is typically used in blending but you can find some in their pure form. So we’ll be looking for an Old Vine Carignan from the south of France. Typically these are labelled with that name on the front label.
23 04-Jun-2018 Gruner Veltliner Tasting Notes Gruner is a white grape originating from Austria. We’ll be looking for one from there and preferably one from a classic sub region like Wachau or Kamptal.
24 11-Jun-2018 Pinot Noir Tasting Notes We will be trying a classic Red Burgundy made from 100% Pinot Noir this week. To follow suit head to the French red section.  The wines from this area labelled with the village name rather than grape. Look out for the generic name Bourgogne Rouge or famed villages/regions such as Cotes de Nuits or Beaune, Nuits St Georges, Volnay or Gevrey Chambertin.
25 18-Jun-2018 Assyrtiko Tasting Notes Assyrtiko is perhaps the most famous grape of Greece. A white grape that is said to have the elegance of Chablis. Try to find one from its birthplace, the island of Santorini but any Greek white stating Assyrtiko on the front or back label will do.
26 25-Jun-2018 Nerello Mascalese Tasting Notes Nerello Mascalese is the main grape that features in the Etna red wines from Sicily. It is rarely featured alone so if you find a wine labelled Etna Rosso or a Sicilian Red with that grape featured on the back label that will work just as well.
27 02-Jul-2018 Semillon Tasting Notes Semillon is a grape that was often blended with Sauvignon to make Bordeaux whites. It then found fame as a single grape in Australia, specifically Hunter Valley where is makes elegant low alcohol whites that age well. So try to find an Australian version to get a pure taste of the grape.
28 09-Jul-2018 Carmenere Tasting Notes Carmenere is to Chile what Malbec is to Argentina. It originated in Bordeaux, France but seems to have found a better home in Chile where it fully ripens. It is best to try an example that is a little above entry price because cheaper versions can be a bit light and green. The valley in Chile where it tends to show at its best is Colchuagua; so we will be searching out that style.
29 16-Jul-2018 Torrontes Torrontes is a white grape that is uniquely found in Argentina. The best versions come from the Northern area of Salta or Catamarca. But if you can’t find one of those then any Argentinian Torrontes will work well.
30 23-Jul-2018 Cortese Cortese is in fact that grape that makes the wine called Gavi; the wine name coming from the village in Piedmont, Italy rather than the grape. To try the very best version of Cortese look for wines labelled “Gavi di Gavi” which is a smaller sub region where the best vineyard sites are situated.
31 30-Jul-2018 Albariño Albarino is the white grape coming from the cooler coastal spot of Galicia in Spain; and also known as Alvarino in Portugal. We will be seeking out a version from its classic sub region in that area called Rias Biaxas.
32 06-Aug-2018
33 13-Aug-2018
34 20-Aug-2018
35 27-Aug-2018
36 03-Sep-2018
37 10-Sep-2018
38 17-Sep-2018
39 24-Sep-2018
40 01-Oct-2018
41 08-Oct-2018
42 15-Oct-2018
43 22-Oct-2018
44 29-Oct-2018
45 05-Nov-2018
46 12-Nov-2018
47 19-Nov-2018
48 26-Nov-2018
49 03-Dec-2018
50 10-Dec-2018
51 17-Dec-2018
52 24-Dec-2018

4 thoughts to “Grape schedule”

  1. Right, chop chop, let’s get stuck into Tempranillo then. Smooth, a bit earthy, and if you’re in a supermarket beginning with A then there’s a pallet of the stuff with a yellow label in the way when you go in.
    Or you can go for summat a bit more impressive – I got La Rioja Alta 904 for Christmas.

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