Who is Your Vote for the Susan Boyle of the Wine World? | Catavino
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Who is Your Vote for the Susan Boyle of the Wine World?

susan boyle

For those of you living under a rock for the past week,  you may have no idea what I’m talking about, so a quick bit of background info before I begin. There is a television show called, Britains Got Talent, where individuals get up on stage and attempt to impress a bunch of snarky judges with their given “talent”. Each of the three judges then decides the contestant’s fate with either a “yes”, continue onto the next round, or “no”, keep your day job. Each year, there are a generally a few surprise contestants, along with a bunch of overly viewed YouTube videos. But this year, the shocker to the entire world was a woman named, Susan Boyle.

Frumpy is putting it lightly. Susan is no supermodel, and has an awkward nature about her, which albeit is endearing, would never make you think “superstar” if you saw her. Yet despite her aesthetics, she has a talent in the form of a spine tinglingly beautiful voice. Having bravely endured a round of laughter from the audience at her appearance, she proudly  sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. What came out of her mouth shocked the world and made me consider what might be the vinous equivilant?

I’ve been to a lot of wine tastings and often, when embeded within a press trip, they are endured as a polite gesture to the hosts. More than one winery has appeared to be something less then interesting, showing only a few wines worth taking notice of. While on the other hand, there are many a grape that are either hard to pronounce, or just plain boring to taste, but just when you least expect it, they shine. My question to you is:  what is your “Susan Boyle” moment in wine tasting? When did you taste the wine, not because you wanted to, but because it just happened to be there, finding that your assumptions about the wine were dead wrong. Or do you have a grape that you hate, or find ghastly, which on one occasion, completely surprised you?

For me, there have been many. More than once a grape whichI normally find hard to live, like Baga, or Airen, has made me stop dead in my tracks and reconsider. There have also been regions like DO Extremadura, where I once found a small sweet wine made from a grape I had never heard of. At the time, I had tasted the wine only to be polite, but in the end, I fell in love.

Quote: …a table grape that goes by the name of Eva found in the region of Extremadura, currently producing wine in only a handful of bodegas in that region? Bodegas Dolores Morenas used this grape to produce a 10% sweet wine that is crisp, refreshing, light and full of flowers and minerals.

I have a list of stories a mile long, but for now, I want to hear about your “Susan Boyle” wine moment. Leave it in the comments below.


Ryan Opaz

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  • I generally dislike Cabernet Franc. Far too often it has a green/vegetal taste that I dislike. I do continue to try Cab Francs, as I have rarely found a few that I liked. But, at the last Israeli tasting in Boston, I was pleasantly surprised to find THREE Cab Francs that I actually really enjoyed. Those were the only Cab Francs at the tasting and for me to enjoy all three of them was simply amazing. Plus, I more than just “liked” them. They were quite delicious.

  • Bill

    Ryan,For me, the most recent occurrence took place last year. We spent two days in Chinon and picked up a bottle of '05 “Couly Dutheil Les Moulins de Turquant”, which is a Chenin Blanc they source out of the Saumur. Of course, I was there for the '05 Chinon Reds (several of which are resting at the Gite). The Chenin was for Tami.My recollection of Chenin Blanc stretches back to the mid to late '70's when I started cooking for my dates. It was the dark ages of wine in the US, with wines like “Ruby Cabernet”, etc., on the liquor store shelves. Chenin Blanc was another of those labels I remember that get lumped into that category.Fast forward 30 years, dining al fresco at the Gite, on market fresh sole, when we uncorked this bottle. It was a revelation. Big mouthfeel and flavors that peeled away into different flavors as it coursed towards the back of the tongue, in the way of a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a dryer Viognier. Needless to say, we were bummed that we only bought a single bottle! BTW, note to RichardA. Glad to hear you are becoming acclimated to Cab France. If you get a chance, try one of the '05 Couly Dutheil's. Make sure you let it breath for at least 2 hours before drinking. Both the Clos de l'Echo and Baronne Madeleine are HUGE wines that benefit from decanting. Another point to make is that '05 is an anomaly in Chinon because the hot weather really ripened up the grapes.