Now, I’m not specifically interested in joining the Wine Century club, but moreso undertaking the challenge of tasting over 100 different grape varieties. When Perth Wine Enthusiast asked if I was interested in joining a group of wine enthusiasts who aimed to try over 100 grape varieties, I was intrigued. After a bit of research on the Wine Century Club’s website, I was surprised at the number of grape varieties I hadn’t heard of, including Albarola, Assyrtiko, Fruilano, and Terret Noir. I also did a quick calculation and realised that I’d only tried 18 different grape varieties! It was a quick decision to join after noting that I would definitely learn more about wine and try unfamiliar varieties.
We had our first unofficial meet up in late November 2012. We met at Steve’s in Nedlands, a gourmet wine store which focuses on excellent customer service and houses a comprehensive collection of European wines in their underground cellar. On the night, there was only a small amount of people in attendance, including Perth Wine Enthusiast, Gourmet Vicariously and her boyfriend. A is also undertaking the challenge but unfortunately she was unable to join us on the night, due to work commitments. We were also joined by Michael, the Fine Wine Manager at Steve’s, who is extremely knowledgeable about wines as well as very passionate. He was kind enough to move us through all the wines we sampled on the evening.
Our first wine was the 2011 Mezzacorona Castel Firmian Müller-Thurgau Trentino from Italy. The Müller-Thurgau grape variety is predominantly used in Germany. General consensus around the table was that this was an impressive white. I liked that it had a lovely light flavour to it.
Our second wine of the evening was the 2011 Soumah Savarro from the Yarra Valley. This was the first time I’ve heard of Soumah wines but I am now a huge fan! It was a lucky coincidence that we organised our first unofficial meet up on the same night a Soumah distributor was providing wine tastings. I really enjoyed trying the Savarro grape variety, which was very fruity and full of flavour. The term Savarro is one of several names for Savagnin, a green-skinned grape variety that is relatively new to Australia and is mostly grown in the Jura region of France.
The 2011 Soumah Chardonnay was next and was definitely my favourite of the evening. For me, this wine was really flavoursome and an added bonus was that I could taste a tiny bit of a bacon flavour to it. I ended up buying a bottle to take home to A, who also really enjoyed it. Sidenote: I loved this wine so much that it has now been added to my wine list.
Our final Soumah wine of the evening was the 2011 Soumah Pinot Noir. I’ve only just understood the brilliance of a pinot noir, but thought that this was a lovely wine.
Our final wine of the evening was 2010 Torbreck Kyloe from the Barossa Valley. Michael served this wine as a blind tasting and wrapped the bottle in a paper bag. I had little hope of being about to differentiate the grape variety or even the winery who made it, so settled back while I watched the others discuss. This is when I learned what “new world” and “old world” wines were. This wine was another highlight of the evening.
After a long time tasting wines and getting to know each other, we decided to order some dinner from Steve’s Fine Wine and Food restaurant next door. After looking at the menu, we decided to order two dishes to share – the Beer-battered Fish and Chips ($24) (mainly chosen due to our conversation featuring the best fish and chips I had in New Zealand – which will be featured in my next New Zealand post) as well as a Proscuitto, Tomato, Mozzarella and Fresh Basil Pizza ($26).
The first dish I tried was the pizza and I thought it was lovely. The base had a crispy bottom and there was a generous amount of toppings.
The fish and chips were also well-received but it was mentioned that we would have preferred the batter to be a little more crispy as it was quite soft. The most important element (the fish pieces) were really nice and flaky though. The chips were perfectly salted and crunchy. I also loved the addition of the cornichons and pickled onions to the dish.
I had an excellent night of wine tasting and cannot wait until the next meeting. I am really excited about this challenge and looking forward to trying a lot of grape varieties that I haven’t even heard of yet! If you would like to see my current progress of the wines I’ve tried, you can view that list here.
If you are interesting in joining the group or can assist with our endeavour by donating wine or space for our group to meet, please get in contact with me! We’d appreciate any support and we are happy to grow in members!