Anthony Rose: 'Every grape has its own distinct aroma and flavour DNA'

 

If you came across the encyclopaedic Wine Grapes (Allen Lane) in 2013, you could be forgiven for thinking that the reason for the astonishing complexity of wine lies in its vast storehouse of grape varieties with their myriad aromas and flavours: no fewer than 1,368 at the last count of Jancis Robinson MW and her co-authors José Vouillamoz and Julia Harding MW.

It's true that every grape has its own distinct aroma and flavour DNA. Each makes its own contribution, no matter how little of it is planted. Like the difference between mushrooms and white truffles, there's a bewildering hierarchy of grape quality. Don't expect too much from carignan, pinot grigio or trebbiano. Expect the earth from riesling, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir.

The effect of labelling wine by grape and the revival of native varieties has massively extended the repertoire of choice. One of the effects of the trend can be seen in ranges such as Marks & Spencer's Eastern Mediterranean selection, with the introduction, among others, of a vivid, damson-fresh Turkish 2012 Sevilen Oküzgözü, £9.99, and from Georgia, a spicy blackberryish 2012 Château Mukhrani Saperavi, £9.49.

You don't have to go to the Middle East, though, to see that the diversity of grape variety is growing closer to home. In Italy, for instance, wines such as the crisp, dry 2011 Planeta Carricante, £17.50, Great Western Wine, and the lively apple- and pear-rich 2012 Fiano di Avellino, Terredora, £17.95, Jeroboams, are giving Italian whites a new lease of life. With godello and mencía among rising Spanish stars, nerello mascalese in Sicily, blaufränkisch in Austria, tannat and gros manseng in France's South West, to mention just a few, the choice continues to grow.

While this expanding palette of grape varieties makes a mark on our palates, it's a mistake to equate diversity with complexity. Depending on location and the producer's objective, the same grape variety, or blends of different varieties, can produce anything from the most simple to the most supremely complex.

Look how the humble palomino grape is transformed into great sherry like the Fernando de Castilla Fino en rama, £9.50-£9.99, half-bottle, Noel Young (01223 56 6744), Hennings (01798 343021). Or how the unsung savagnin grape of the Jura can make a complex and nutty dry white such as the 2006 Arbois Vin Jaune La Vasée, Domaine Tissot, £59, Berry Bros (0800 2802440).

There is all the difference in the world between a chardonnay from Chablis and one from Australia, a syrah from the Rhône and a shiraz (same grape) from Australia. Next time you toast "vive la différence", remember grape variety is just one of the building blocks of great wine.

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment