The world is filled with wine. According to the 2013 Winefolly article “Top Wine Regions of the World,” France, Italy, and Spain are the top producing wine countries, with the US coming in 4th. However, the big three produce only half the wine of the world. That means there is a lot more wine out there to explore from countries such as Germany, Portugal, Chile, South Africa, Switzerland, and Greece. Additionally, there is believed to be over 10,000 wine grape varieties in the world. Therefore, selecting a new to try for 2017 should not be hard.
It is January and time for resolutions. I must admit I am not one for resolutions to kick off a new year; however, I do embrace personal challenges for improvement in all areas of my life. Our #WinePW group is embarking on a January challenge to kick off the New Year. Not, it is not one of personal improvement per se; rather, it is about expanding our wine palate to the unfamiliar.
The Mission, as proposed by David of Cooking Chat, should you chose to accept it: “How about making a resolution to trying some new wine in 2017?”
I accepted this mission by opening a bottle of Biblia Chora Biblinos Oenos, a Greek wine made entirely of 100% un-named local varietal. It is a first for me to be sent a wine with technical information and the only indication of what is in the bottle is “un-named local varietal.” I received this wine as a media sample as part of a virtual tasting held in November featuring Sommelier and co-owner of Houston’s Helen Greek Food and Wine Restaurant, Evan Turner. Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle asked Evan about this wine in August of 2015, Dale shared Evan’s thoughts on Cava Spiliadas. Here is what Evan had to say at that time about Biblia Chora Biblinos Oenos:
“It’s made from a varietal that may be the same ancient grape that produced the original Biblinos Oenos, or ‘Sacred Wine,’ from the 8th century B.C. The first Biblinos Oenos came from the area around Mount Pangeon, near modern-day Kavala in Greece. It was considered one of the finest wines of its time, serving as legendary elixir for both the Greeks and Phoenicians. Winemakers from Biblia Chora were shown an ancient, overgrown vineyard with gnarly, bush-trained vines. After taking clippings for DNA study, they discovered that, although it was vitis vinifera – the grape species responsible for our finest wines today – it had no known modern relatives. Therefore, they had in effect discovered a ‘new’ grape.”
I think this wine is perfect to fulfill the mission!
2011 Biblia Chora Biblinos Oenos Pangeon Greece ($16): This wine was crafted of a 100% un-named local varietal; clear deep ruby; clean medium- aromas fresh red and black fruit, black pepper, dusty earth, minerality, and a faint trail of pleasing charred oak; the wine offered medium acidity, tannins, body, and finish; it offered a very pleasing rustic earthiness, it was not overly complex but really quite delicious; I allowed it to breath for a couple of hours but did not decant, as the evening continued it opened up nicely. Ancient indigenous varietals can at times be austere and too rustic for many modern palates. This wine was rustic but approachable, not complex but friendly; it was not particularly elegant but it was not clumsy either. We thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband asked me to find more. It was even better with our meal, a seamlessly beautiful pairing.
“Biblinos Oenos will be the most unique red wine by far you will taste this year.” ~ Evan Turner
How do you plan a food pairing with a completely unknown grape? What grows together goes together. I chose to pair this unfamiliar wine with a familiar Mediterranean cuisine. A favorite in our house, lamb chops! Our dinner consisted of Orange-Balsamic Lamb Chops with a side of sweet potato curls and Power Lentil Salad. I made few edits to the salad, kale instead of swiss chard, added orange zest to tie in to the lamb chops, substituted herbed goat cheese for feta, substituted balsamic for white balsamic vinegar, and omitted cumin. My teens and husband loved the dinner. My husband loved the wine with the dinner (as did I). It was all fantastic, and it was a Tuesday!
Here are my fellow #WinePW friend’s new wine discoveries for 2017:
Wine Predator will write about New Year, New Wine: New Jersey?
A Day in the Life on the Farm is trying New Wine for a New Year
Grape Experiences is sharing Try Something New: Moroccan Wine with Lamb Tagine
Culinary Adventures with Camilla will post Young Nation, Ancient Vines in Croatia: Pairing Crni Rižoto + Dingac Vinarija’s Peljesac
A Palatable Pastime is serving Duck Ragout with Creamy Polenta
L’occasion will share about The Wines of Red Mountain
ENOFYLZ Wine Blog will serve Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa and Mencía
foodwineclick will try Something Old, Something New – Flank Steak & Douro Red
Pull That Cork will post Loire Valley Red Meets Onion and Bacon Tart: When Old Becomes New
The Swirling Dervish will pair Lacrima di Morro d’Alba and Broccoli Rabe Lasagna
Tasting Pour is serving up Lamb Stew and Wine from Lebanon
Vino Travels will share Journey to Trentino with Teroldego and Spaghetti Carbonara
Cooking Chat is pairing Pork Tenderloin with Onions and Canary Island Wine
What new wines will you try in 2017?
My Song Selection: Fun selecting a unique song to pair with a unique wine. Although Alt-J is far from unknown they are definitely unique. I really like them and I really like this song.
Please join us this morning at 10 CST to share you new year new wine resolutions on Twitter using #WinePW. And join us again in February as we get cozy with comfort food and wine pairings.
Get your own bottle of 2011 Biblia Chora Biblinos Oenos and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheer!