1996 Tbilvino Gurjaani
If you’re ever in Georgia, you may hear that wine was first made in Georgia. This is likely, based on archaeological excavations that have yielded cultivated grape seeds of great antiquity. Sadly, the whole Soviet thing didn’t exactly improve the industry over the past hundred years.
Best known for semi-sweet red wines as well as wines fermented in a kvevri (a partially buried earthenware amphora kind of thing), Georgia also grows white wines with indigenous grapes. Gurjaani is typically made from Rkstasiteli and Mtsvane grapes.
This bottle came from the duty free shop in the Tbilisi airport and cost about $6.
1998 Sapporo Polaire Koshu
Koshu is Japan’s only high quality native grape variety, it’s said. This bottle came from the Sapporo Beer Museum in Tokyo. No, that’s not entirely true. This came from a fancy wine shop next door to the Beer Museum. It probably cost about $20 and should presumably have been drunk young. We’ll see!
2001 Sapporo Polaire Riesling
I couldn’t resist this bottle due to the funky packaging. About $7 at a generic Tokyo department store, I have no idea what anything on the bottle says. This was probably made from imported grape concentrate – that’s what I’d guess.
2001 Bonny Doon Barbera del Monferrato “Vivace”
From Randall Grahm: “The wine is a local favorite of the Piemontese. Vivace produced from either freisa or barbera is the preferred accompaniment to the dried sausage or salami very common to all parts of Italy. It is also lovely with olives, chunks of granna cheese or other bits one tends to eat with one’s hands. This particular version is made in the traditional manner via a small second fermentation in bottle. After the base wine is completely dry, a very small amount of sugar and yeast is added to a tank. As soon as the fermentation takes off, the wine is bottled and the fermentation is allowed to finish in bottle. The resultant wine is reasonably tart and noticeably fizzy. This is the imprint of the style known as “Vivace.” It is a wine which is intended to be consumed in the first few years after production. It can be served slightly chilled though it certainly needn’t be. The wine was made for us by Ferraris e Gatto.”
Although this has one of the coolest labels I’ve ever seen, this is one wine that tastes incredibly vile. We’ll see if an extra year’s bottle age has improved it any…
NV Bonny Doon Garnacha, The Strong Pink Wine
All I know about this one is that it was made in the late 1990s, probably in 1997. This was a one-off for Bonny Doon; it’s Grenache fortified with, well, distilled Grenache (?). As a result, it’s 20% alcohol. Not available in stores since at least 1999.
2002 Martín Codax Albariño, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain
From a random Web site: “The Albariño grape is reputed to be a relative of German riesling and may have been brought to Spain by monks as far back as the 12th century. It is grown in the Rias Baixas region of Galicia, which is snuggled in between Portugal and France on the rugged and beautiful Atlantic shores. Martin Codax is a name given to this white wine by the group of small producers who have banded together to make wine in the Bodegas de Vilarino-Cambados.”
Hand-carried from Galicia to Salmonberg courtesy of Mom and Dad.
1999 Perrini Semillon, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Aged Aussie Semillon from the Hunter Valley is phenomenal, as are aged Adelaide Hills Semillons. However, this one is from a tiny producer that may or may not still be in business, and cost $4 US. Will it be good – or bad? [Either way, if you can find a Penfolds Trial Bin Adelaide Hills Semillon that’s at least 8 years old, you may be onto something…]
2003 Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes
I’m guessing this grape is originally from Rioja; this is an Argentine version. Pike and Western wine shop has this in stock.
2002 Erbaluce, Italy
I appear to have lost my info sheet on this one. It’s produced in Italy for Bonny Doon, á la their Il Circo wines.
Bonny Doon Freisa con Fresa [Freisa wine from Monterey County (freisa is a grape from Piedmont) cofermented with strawberries].
Khvanchkara (semi-dry red wine from Georgia)
Missouri wine made from the Norton grape
Bonny Doon syrah made in an auslese style (e.g. semi-sweet)