Noble Grape Challenge, Wine

Halfway Through the Noble Grape Challenge

With my post about Malbec a couple of weeks ago I’m now halfway through Wine Folly’s Noble Grape Challenge. Created as a challenge to learn about the range of wine, the Noble Grape Challenge lists nine red and nine white ‘noble’ varieties – generally speaking, the most widely planted varieties throughout the world – and challenges the reader to taste through them all as a way of getting to know the breadth and depth of wine created throughout the world.

At this point it feels like a good time to take a look back on how things went and a look ahead at what awaits.


That Cab Sauv really was pretty in the glass…

Looking Back – the Reds

All in, I tasted my way through the following:

It took me quite a long time, way longer than I originally intended (clearly writing next to nothing in 2016 had something to do with that). So even though I’m only halfway through I’m happy that I at least made it this far.

I started this series close to the beginning of Palate Practice itself, and before taking any of the wine courses I now have under my belt. I was truly fumbling my way through how to write and publish posts and how to talk about wine in a meaningful and (I hope) interesting way. In truth, I’m kind of embarrassed to look back at those early posts! Ever onward, right?

Of these 9 wines a few definitely stand out. The Tempranillo, with its leathery cowboy-ness, remains memorable, as does the Merlot with its velvety smooth texture. To be honest many of the others haven’t stuck in my brain, which either means I don’t gravitate toward that grape or that my bottle picking could use some practice. Luckily I’m game to figure that one out.

There are a couple wines I’ll leave for another time though. Now that I know more about Barolo I’ll go back to Nebbiolo when I have more money to be able to afford something really special. I still don’t think it’ll be a fave any time soon though – too much tannin, not enough colour, and I’m too impatient to wait for the wonder that bottle age brings. Maybe one day…

Eeny, meeny, miney, moe…

Looking Ahead – the Whites

Here’s what’s in store for the second half of the Noble Grape Challenge.

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Moscato
  • Gewurtztraminer
  • Semillon
  • Viognier
  • Chardonnay

This half will be more challenging, without a doubt. Where I’m a bit of a red wine omnivore, I tend to be much pickier about my whites. I’m looking forward to some (Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Viognier) and dreading some others.

After bingeing on Sauvignon Blanc when it first gained popularity in Ontario I’m now kind of over its pungent, sky-high intensity. I’m not generally a fan of the oily texture and floral nose of a Gewurtztraminer, so hopefully I’ll be more in the mood to taste one when the time comes. Regardless of my personal preferences it’ll be a good exercise to remind myself what each of these wines are all about.


Have you had any of these white wines? Which is your fave?


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