Wine #8

Back at my favorite wine bar in NYC, Corkbuzz, I had probably the best blind tasting to date... Though I correctly guessed one of the white wines, I amazingly got all three red wines correct (at least mostly correct).

Below is the grid that I filled out... which they provide during the blind-tasting-happy hour!

(I deleted my initial conclusions so you could take a guess before you see what I thought it was...)

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Based on the above, what do you think it is?



My Guess:

I was debating between Pinot Noir or Sangiovese.

Both are thin skinned grapes, but Sangiovese, the main grape in the most well known Italian wine from Tuscany, CHIANTI, can be more "rustic" and has some more sour cherry notes. Also, Italian wines typically have really high acidity... which is why they always go so well with tomato sauce and other Italian foods. The acidity in the dishes matches well with highly acidic wines (this is a good tip when trying to figure out what to order with your Spaghetti alla Marinara)  

Sangiovese is also typically a bit more tannic. There are few thin skinned grapes that have that "mouth drying" property, because tannins mostly come from the skins of grapes. That is why, at least in part, Cabernet Sauvignon is so tannic; it is a thicker skinned grape.  (However, Pinot Noir is also thin skinned and has a healthy dose of tannins, though not usually as high as Sangiovese...)

So what is the correct answer?

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Grape: SANGIOVESE

WINE: CHIANTI

Did you think that Chianti was the grape? I used to think that!

One thing that is a bit confusing is this whole "grape" vs. "place" naming system. 

CHIANTI is the name of a region in Italy, but the wine is made from [mostly] SANGIOVESE, which is a particular grape variety.

You can only call a wine CHIANTI if it comes from that particular area of Italy!

This is the same concept behind why Champagne can only be called Champagne if it comes from Champagne, France (but it can actually be a blend of three different grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier).

In the "Old World" (Europe), wine is typically named BY PLACE, not by the GRAPE!