Grignolino [Gree-nyoh-LEE-noh]

Although I might know a few Italian grapes and some Italian words, the first time I read the word “grignolino” on Twitter, I had no idea what this word meant, and really no idea it could be a grape. I love the name of the grape, and start reading on it. The name grignolino, probably derives  from the the word “grignole” which is Asti dialect for pips, because grignolino has a quite a lot of seeds.

The description of the grape” anarchist, individualist, a bit foolish and stubborn”, sounded to me like it must be a very interesting grape , it sounds almost human.

This, low yield,  late ripening red grape variety, mostly planted in Piemonte, near Asti, is known for its fruity aromas. strong acidity and strong tannins. It’s also planted in California, where they also make a Portwine of it.

When I was in Turin last October, for Slow Food fair, Salone del Gusto, I finally tasted my first Grignolino, one of Cascina Tavijn. Maybe not the perfect circumstances for tasting, end of the day, tired, in a hurry , but the wine really surprised and amazed me.

In the beginning it seemed a rather  light,  red wine, but it turned out to be very spicy, refreshing, due to a pleasant acidity and ended with a surprising tannic structure. The only thing I could think of, was more..more and more..very interesting.

Well after this weekend, I’ll think I’ll know a lot more on grignolino grape variety and the wines.Thanks to Twitter,  I was invited to attend a tasting in Portocomaro (near Asti, Piemonte), #grignolino1, which will take place March 12.

This event is organized by @Enofaber, Fabrizio Gallino, a real grignolino lover and great Italian wine blogger. Ten producers of grignolino, will attend the tasting and let us taste their wines, old vintages and samples from the vask.

Afterwards,  there will be a seven-course Piemonte  lunch, so that we can taste the wines with the food and can have a chat with old and new Twitterfriends.

Ofcourse I’ll keep you posted on this tasting I’m really looking forward to!



The emptier the bottle..

I loved to find out about the JLF test, invented by a German guy. JLF means Je Leerer die Flasche (desto besser der wein), which is German for The Emptier the Bottle (the better the wine).

The test is about having a few bottles on the table and just drink them with friends, accompanied by some food. Everyone takes a first sip of each wine and tells what he thinks of it. After that, the normal drinking starts. You may not spit them, but you’ll have to drink them. 

The winning wines are the ones who are the most empty, measured in centimeters of wine left in the bottle. I love this idea, because I think most of the time it’s more important to just drink and enjoy the wine, than completely overanalyzing it, or judge it by giving points.

I had to think about this story, while I was drinking this wine with a friend during dinner: Cascina Garitina, Niades, Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG 2009, Piemonte

This wine is a red, fizzy Piemonte wine, made of 100 % brachetto grapes, a grape variety which you’ll only find in Italy, as far as I know.

Be prepared, that if you will ever taste this purple-red, fizzy sweet wine, it will cause a real fruit-explosion in your mouth. Never tasted so much concentration of blackberries, raspberries, rose-hip and elderberries before, without getting bored.

After my first sip, I couldn’t say it was very complex or really very elegant, but it turned out that we couldn’t stop drinking it. Needless to say there was not a millimeter left in the bottle.

It matched wonderfully well with my homemade chocolate truffles, with rosemary and seasalt. But why wait till dessert to drink this wine?