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The Essence of Wine: Grapefruit


Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

Pendulous globes of yellow dangling like suns from their leafy boughs must have been tempting indeed to those Barbadians who first named this "the forbidden fruit" of their isle. How far the simple grapefruit, and its parent the pomelo, have come from tropical exotic to breakfast tables everywhere, in their shades of yellow, pink and beryl red. Somehow more sensuous than many other citrus, the pearly texture of grapefruit flesh and its starchy, foamy pith mark it just as much as its flavors, which can vary greatly. Yellow yields a soft sweetness with a woody and bitter kick, while pink and reds dial up the sour with the sweet to sometimes an electric level. This dazzle of acid and flavor find their most common analog in white wines, whose flavors sometimes perfectly evoke a bite of bright pink sunshine. Rieslings are common culprits in a mouthful of grapefruit, but many other wines can evoke its many flavors — zest, pith, or juice. But no matter how, finding a bit of grapefruit in your glass is never be a bad thing.

Delamotte Brut Champagne, France
Terras Gauda "O Rosal" Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain
Grgich Hills "Fume Blanc" Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, USA
Giaconda "Estate Vineyard - Stelvin Closure" Chardonnay, Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Bouchard Pere et Fils "Grand Cru" Chardonnay, Corton-Charlemagne, Burgundy, France
Cadaretta "SBS" White Blend, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Jansz Brut Sparkling Wine, Tasmania, Australia
Presqu'ile Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California, USA
Schloss Gobelsburg "Gaisberg Erste Lage" Riesling, Kamptal, Neiderosterreich, Austria
Abbazia di Novacella "Praepositus" Kerner, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
Argyle Riesling, Eola-Amity, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Weingut Franz Kunstler "Hochheim Hölle Erstes Gewachs Trocken" Riesling, Rheingau, Germany

This is part of an ongoing series of original images and prose called The Essence of Wine

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud