When we first started the club, there was talk about how few bottles it may take to reach 100 grape varieties. Perhaps 10-20 with Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Port field blends etc. Those speculations now seem quaint and completely blown away by these bottles of vinous steroids
- Leth’s Simply Wow! 216 grape varieties (186 confirmed)
- Giribaldi Cento Uve 152 grape varieties (125 confirmed)
- Pheasant’s Tears Poliphonia 417 grape varieties claimed
Depending on how you count them, that’s 728 to 785 varieties in 3 bottles! (Heinz, you’ve got nothing on these!) These have been languishing for a few years now in my cellar. Quite frankly, I’ve been afraid to open them, not knowing what kind of horrors or delights might be unleashed by this veritable Pandora’s Box. And, of course, I will be tempted to make the ultimate cuvee that can propel any mere mortal into the exalted Heptavin (700) level of Wine Century Club membership. It will undoubtedly send Deborah and me well over 1000.
Is this fair? I’m not so sure, especially when our current holder of the Grand Prix du Cépage, has never tasted the Poliphonia (he has had the Leth’s Simply Wow!, however). I admire Chris Hamm’s remarkable work in coming up with a speculative list of the 417 varieties in the Poliphonia, but unfortunately, they can’t be confirmed with the winemaker. He and his wife Gayle have recently submitted their applications for 1,220 (wow!) grape varieties. A ruling by the Committee was necessary.
The Committee came back with this ruling:
Applications with grape counts that include performance-enhancing wines will be permitted. However, given the speculative nature of the count in the Poliphonia, all certificates will be marked with an asterisk (like Barry Bond’s record-breaking baseball in the Baseball Hall of Fame). Furthermore, Poliphonia grapes will not count in the Grand Prix du Cépage.