I know, it seems like an odd thing to write about, but this year seems to really be a banner year for grapes.
Unlike most people in our area, I really think about grapes first as something to eat and only secondarily as something that becomes wine. That’s because although I do have the occasional glass of Blanquette Methode Ancestrale, I’m not really much of a drinker. I never have been, to be honest, not out of any moral or other conviction, but because I don’t really like the taste of alcohol. Methode Ancestrale has only about 6% alcohol, so it is light, sweet and not particularly alcoholic, really right down my street to be honest.
But grapes as an edible fruit are something else.
Like so many other things, I had started to lose the taste for grapes when I lived in L.A. We had beautiful looking grapes pretty much all year round, but most of the time they were… well, tasteless. Their main attribute was that most of them were seedless, which makes eating a grape a simpler thing.
When we moved here, the first thing I noticed about grapes was that we had a lot more varieties of them other than mostly Thompson Green Seedless and Red Flame, with the occasional Concord thrown in. Here, at grape season there are Italias, Chasselas, Danla, Muscat and more. The seedless variety is almost an afterthought and we don’t see that many of those in most places.
This year, my grape of choice is the Muscat. Muscats are dark purple, with small to medium fruits and mostly tiny seeds that you almost don’t notice when you eat them. But what really sets a Muscat grape above the pack is the taste. They’re always delicious, but this year they are truly divine. It’s hard to even express the full, sweet, heavenly flavor that the hot dry summer seems to have given them. Suffice it to say that if I have to choose between eating a dessert and eating a handful of Muscat grapes, this year the Muscats win over just about anything else I can name.
They are so good, that as soon as I run out of a batch, I immediately run out to the store to buy more. Indeed, I think I have developed a previously unknown condition called Grape Addiction, and it has nothing to do with alcohol. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when grape season is over, because there will be nothing that can replace the pure awesomeness of the Muscat.
Ciao for now.