Jason Wilson's "Godforsaken Grapes" and Blaufrankisch
To Continue the wine and book pairing for the month of July, this week I am pairing the book "Godforsaken Grapes" with the Höpler Blaufrankisch 2015. Blaufrankisch is Austira's second most planted red grape. The Höpler winery is situated in the Burgenland region of Austria. The wine combines aromas of tobacco and strawberries while its dark fruited and peppery flavors create a firmly structured but fresh and elegant palate.
Godforsaken Grapes is a great read and several excerpts literally made me laugh at loud. It combines Jason's travels around the world, with vineyard history, his experiences with Vintners and different grape varietals. It is extremely informative, interesting and at times whimsical.
There are thousands of known varieties of wine grapes in the world—from altesse to zierfandler—but 80 percent of the wine we drink is made from only 20 grapes. In Godforsaken Grapes, Jason Wilson looks at how that came to be and embarks on a journey to discover the wines we don't even realize are in existence.
The book's title was inspired by a 2014 rant by Robert Parker, about what he called "Godforsaken grapes", like Savagnin, Négrette and Blaufränkisch. Parker, in his crazy rant, attacked a younger generation who enjoy different wines than the ones he’s based his career on. Robert Parker is know as wine’s single biggest influential gatekeeper and he casts serious shade on several of the grapes that Jason Wilson loved. A grape like Blaufränkisch, which he calls “godforsaken,” was a noble grape in the Middle Ages long before anyone knew Cabernet Sauvignon. But Parker’s rant was only part of the inspiration for the book.
Stemming from his own growing obsession, Wilson moves far beyond the “noble grapes,” hunting down obscure and underappreciated wines from Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, France, Italy, the United States, and beyond. In the process, he looks at why these wines fell out of favor (or never gained it in the first place), what it means to be obscure, and how geopolitics, economics, and fashion have changed what we drink. A combination of travel memoir and epicurean adventure, Godforsaken Grapes is an entertaining love letter to wine.