A blog devoted to exploring wines made from unusual grape varieties and/or grown in unfamiliar regions all over the world. All wines are purchased by me from shops in the Boston metro area or directly from wineries that I have visited. If a reviewed bottle is a free sample, that fact is acknowledged prior to the bottle's review. I do not receive any compensation from any of the wineries, wine shops or companies that I mention on the blog.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Noiret - Finger Lakes, New York
The grape's family tree is unbelievably complex, but it is also more or less fully mapped out here. There are a number of familiar faces there as well as a lot of strings of numbers that probably won't mean anything to you unless you are yourself a grape breeder. They are basically grapes that have been bred at a breeding station but have not been released commercially. They have various characteristics that are useful for breeding, such as particular disease resistances or weather hardiness, but also have some other flaw that would prohibit their planting on a commercial scale. Noiret looks to have a very interesting mix of vinifera grapes, hybrid grapes and breeding specimens throughout its family tree.
Like most grapes that are bred at these breeding stations, Noiret was specially bred to have certain characteristics. It was certainly bred to have some degree of cold hardiness, and it is considered moderately hardy (meaning that the vines will likely survive in conditions between -5 and -15 degrees Fahrenheit). The only major disease problem listed for Noiret is a moderate susceptibility to downy mildew of the fruit and leaves, meaning that the grower would need to take care in conditions that are conducive to the spread of those fungi. It has a fairly late bud-break which means that spring frosts aren't really a concern. The big selling points for the grape are that it is able to impart a deep color to its wines and, best of all, it doesn't have any of the foxiness that can plague some hybrids.