Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Calling All Centenarians: The Wine Century Club

If you’ve been sipping Assyrtiko, Ehrenfelser, Xarel-lo, or Zweigelt lately, chances are you’re eligible for membership in the Wine Century Club. Now more than two years old, this obviously fun-loving group of wine enthusiasts was founded by Deborah and Steve De Long in the spirit of adventurous wine drinkers everywhere. Now I ask you, do the people at the Second Anniversary Dinner Celebration shown here not look they are having big time fun?

Requirements are simple: you must have tasted at least 100 different varietals. For us, it’s been a competition to see who can find the most obscure, unknown grapes. Frank puts it down as being an invaluable addition to his WSET training; I’m just contrary and like to go against the grain. We have no idea who’s ahead in ferreting out new vintages at this point – but last week we both took great delight in submitting our membership applications. And yes, we’ve tried all four of the above wines.

According to the Wine Century’s website, the “big six” are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. Let’s face it though, when you get right down to it, isn’t every wine considered ordinary or typical in some part of the world – which, as the club website points out, makes trying “uncommon” wines all the more fun since “you can be transported to a faraway place with just a sip!" Or, as Jennifer shows in the photo from the Wine Century's First Anniversary Dinner at the right, with a sabre and a bottle of champagne.

We have no idea what to expect when we receive our official membership certificates, but you can be sure we’ll keep you posted. And whether you’re as obsessive about discovering new varietals as we are or not, the club’s website is a delightful romp through the world of unusual wines and unexpected taste sensations. Just be aware that though the application works on an honor system, the fine print notes: “Should you lie, may the wrath of Bacchus curse your palate.”

Check it out for yourself at You can also download the application form and begin your own explorations. Cheers.

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