The brief for this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday given by William Wilson at Wine for Newbies
is a to try a white varietal wine that isn't Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. I chose a 2003 Chapel Downs Ortega
and all the exotic promise it held: a German grape variety with a Spanish name made by an English winery.
Ortega? My first thought is of supermarket Mexican food and my second is of the Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega. Both are definitely more interesting than the grape variety, at least in this case. Ortega was developed in 1948 by German Scientists as a cross between Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe (see compleat lineage below). Like similar lab crosses, it attempts to create a super- grape that is cold resistant, disease resistant, higher yielding etc. The problem is that what usually suffers is the flavor, even though Ortega is said to enhance the flavor of Riesling in poor harvests.
Unfortunately the back label's promise of rich peach and pineapple didn't materialize (do they ever?). The most distinctive thing about this wine was vanilla oak masking melon and lemon juice flavors. This light-weight wasn't bad but perhaps a little too cute like an 11 year old wearing aftershave. For the record, I made a big attempt to find out why post-war Germans would name this grape variety Ortega (The Boys from Brazil?) but it also came up fruitless.
Thanks to William for hosting this blog fest and for encouraging adventurous wine drinking. And if you're a true wine adventurer, you may consider joining the Wine Century Club
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