Thursday, September 06, 2012

Teacher's pet.

What's that "giant sucking sound" I hear?  It's the sound of me kissing-up (i.e. what the school-age Vinogirl would have called a suckhole), to my college professor, Dr. Krebs.  Knowing that we would be tasting grapes from the student vineyard in class tonight, I channeled my inner sycophant and decided to take some July Muscat (JM) table grapes along to class with me.  The budwood for my JM came from a table grape demonstration section in the college's student vineyard.  Sadly, that section of the vineyard is no longer in existence, so I thought it would be nice to reacquaint my professor with his babies.
The other grapes we tasted were slip-skin varieties; Golden Muscat (a complex hybrid) and Concord (Vitis labrusca), both grown as demonstration vines on the walls of the tractor shed at the college.  The point in tasting these two grapes was to identify certain flavours - the linalool character of the Golden Muscat and the foxy character of the V. labrusca.  We then went on to taste Cabernet Sauvignon (Vitis vinifera) grapes, grinding the skins between our teeth for the astringency and grinding the seeds for the oily bitterness.   After the professor asked me to give the back-story on the JM (also V. vinifera), the class again tasted for the linalool character which this time was a little more pronounced than in the Golden Muscat.
Just a little off true ripeness, my JM grapes showed very well and looked the picture of grapey-goodness.  JM is considered to be an heirloom variety of table grapes, because one would never find this grape in supermarkets nowadays as consumers prefer seedless grapes.  JM would indeed ripen closer to July in California's hot and arid Central Valley - it's ripening is just a little retarded in the relative chill of the Napa Valley.
Extra credit, anyone?


Thud said...

Grinding seeds...batty!

Vinogirl said...

Well, yes it does seem rather odd, but how else would I know how horribly bitter they are?