Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vitis rotundifolia, the Muscadine grape makes wonderfully unsophisticated but delicious wine

Grapes, particularly this one, have been popping in and out of my life for the past couple of years. Lakeridge Winery is located a half an hour away from the Florida house and we make a habit of going every time we go south and buying a case of wine. They grow acres and acres of grapes and make (as I recall nearly a million bottle a year) of their own wines. In addition to the muscadines, they grow a few other varietals but with the heat and the humidity, this is the only grape that really does well. They are truly native. In the winter, you can't drive more than a mile without seeing the distinctive strings of yellow leaves (see top picture) winding through shrubs or trees, or in this case just sitting on the ground. I'm not around to see the grapes, but I drink the wines; they're sweet and fruity but not in the heavy way that some sweet wines are. They're like a delicious grape juice that's alcoholic. I make no excuses for liking them....actually I don't think it would be possible to not like them.

A couple of years ago, Joan and Amy and I collected seeds of Vitis rotundifolia, I think, in Tennessee, but maybe in northern Alabama. Then last year while touring the National Agricultural Library, I saw wonderful rendering of this, and all the other native grapes, in their Pomological Watercolor Collection. The paintings were made to be records of cultivars and species and are scientifically accurate beyond being beautiful. Now I'm thirsty. I'll have a glass of wine and finish my book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome home!
Must be tough coming from the warmer weather