Something strange this way comes

Friday, 1 March, 2013
Shante Hutton
After the success of our ‘Would like to meet’ competition (they all got dates by the way), we’ve decided to further test your budding wine knowledge.
This month is to be a little stranger than normal. We’re giving the spotlight over to the more unusual wines, wineries and winemakers (as seen in this month’s videos) and we’re keen to throw in another competition too.

We've chosen 3 varieties from Raka, Steenberg and La Vierge for you to read up on....with a reward at the end!

It's originally a Spanish grape and gained popularity in SA after being a mixing partner to Shiraz and Grenache. It is now standing up for itself with wineries producing it on its own.

On the nose, you're likely to smell a rather intense meat-like quality making it an excellent pairing partner to game. Also, think leather, plums, cherries and forest berries. In a nut-shell, it's an earthy-animal wine.

Its flavour characteristics are ones of deep oak, toast, game and truffle.

In terms of the grapes itself, it has very thick skins making it a hardy variety to grow in rain-riddled lands. It produces a medium-size, compact bunch and the leaves are a 'truncate cunieform wedge shape' - yes, we have no idea what that means either but in plain English, it has round dark blue-black berries which often have a wing-like cluster formation. The leaves are in a 'U' shape around the stork, featuring sharp 'teeth' on the edge and are a mid-green colour.

To learn more about it, watch this video or to try our pick of the month from Raka, click here

If you thought Pinot Noir was sensitive, then meet its highly strung cousin. Hailing from Italy, it is very fussy about the types of soil in which it is grown.

On the nose, you will find that it has an amazing aroma of roses, violets, the hint of a dying fire and turkish delight.

Its flavour characteristics are that of a slight smokiness coupled with bright acidity which makes it lean towards tomatoey (is that even a word?!) dishes and meat stews.

In terms of the grapes itself, the berries are medium-round and purple in colour yet can look red-brick in the sunlight. The leaves have lobes (corners if you will), looking similar to a Maple leaf tree's leaves and are dark green in colour.

To learn more about it, watch this video, or to try our pick of the month from La Vierge, click here

This grapes comes from the Rhine region of Germany and technically speaking, it's not really that odd. Recently celebrated at Hartenberg's Riesling Rocks festival, it is becoming something of a cult classic so we're throwing it in for good measure.

On the nose you will get tropical fruits as well as gooseberry, green apple, grapefruit and honey. It has a very heady aroma and in some cases, ginger, rose-blossom and cardamom can be detected.

Its flavour characteristics depends on its style. Off-dry, medium-sweet and late to noble late harvest are all variations of this versatile grape. It will hardly ever be bone-dry though and because of this sweetness and spice, it is delicious paired with members of the onion family when they are gently sauteed or present in tarts or quiches. Thinking of having pate? Think of Riesling.

In terms of the grapes itself, they are small, round and white-green. The leaves are also rounded.

To learn more about it, watch this video, or to try our pick of the month from Steenberg, click here

Now the real question is, can you, from the photo below, guess from the above descriptions, what type of grapes these are?