Here’s a little test for you: take the alphabet and try and find a wine grape beginning with each letter. So, A for Albariño, B for Barbera and so on.
How did you do? I managed 24 out of 26. And the 2 gaps? No! Not ‘X’! Amazingly, there are 3 varieties beginning with that letter – Xinomavro, the high quality Greek red grape I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, Xarel-lo from Spain, part of the blend used for many Cavas and Xynisteri, a white variety widely grown in Cyprus.
The other letter that often proves so difficult in A – Z lists is Z. But, of course, Z is easy with wine grapes: Zinfandel. Although not if you listen to leading wine writer Jancis Robinson MW. She prefers its original, Croatian, name, Tribidrag, and it’s also known as Primitivo in Italy. But, even excluding Zinfandel, the ‘Oxford Companion to Wine’ lists 11 other wine grapes that start with Z. I opened a bottle of one of them recently and we really enjoyed it.
Sepp Moser’s Organic Zweigelt (Grape and Grind, Bristol, £11.99) is a quite light-bodied red – the same weight in the mouth as a good Beaujolais – and, in many ways could be opened as an alternative to that wine. Indeed, the label suggests serving it slightly chilled and as an accompaniment to, among other things, grilled fish dishes. I agree that, with its low tannin, it would work very well with fish – perhaps a robust fish stew, too.
The wine shows attractive, slightly bitter cherry fruit and a pleasant peppery edge – altogether very drinkable – our bottle disappeared well before the end of our dinner.
And the 2 letters I missed? ‘Q’ and ‘Y’. So, if you know a wine grape beginning with either letter, do let me know so that I can complete the set.