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« West Coast Style | Main | Tannat Savant »

01 March 2006

Drink Pedro

Voteforpedro_1In the late 17th Century, a German soldier by the name of Peter Hirtzman decided to flee the fighting near the North Sea.  Being both a pacifist and a viticulture hobbyist, he took a few cuttings and traveled to southern Spain - the region of Jerez to be exact.  Peter soon discovered that one of his white grape varietals flourished in this warm, very non-German climate.  In fact, the locals were so impressed with Herr Hirtzman's wine, they began purchasing vines from him.  In time the famous wines of Jerez, or Sherry, relied heavily on this German's grape.  Sadly, Peter was forgotten and his name, also given to the grapes, españo-morphed into "Pedro Ximenez."

A fascinating story, no?  Yet it's 100% false.  A version of this story was told to me by a wine educator, who also happened to be a Sherry lover.  It's likely that this bogus story is a derivative of the classic Pedro Ximenez myth, which appears in a number of sources:

"The grape reputedly takes its name from a 17th-century Spanish soldier who introduced it to Spain on his return from The Netherlands, although the story is almost certainly apocryphal as no Rhine grape resembles PX and there is no reason why such a northerly grape would grow in southern Spain."

Unfortunately, in addition to apochryphal tales surrounding its origins, the PX grape also suffers from outright character assasination:

"The grape is also grown in the regions of Valencia, Canary Islands and Extremadura, and occasionally also used in making a poorly-rated table wine."

Whoever authored the above passage in Wikipedia has obviously never tasted Odysseus PX, a lovely dry white wine made entirely from Pedro Ximenez.  Odysseus, a 'Vino Muy Artesanal,' is the creation of Viñedos Ithaca from the Priorat wine region of northeastern Spain.  In the hands of winemaker Silvia Puig, Pedro shines.

Ody_1The Skinny
Viñedos de Ithaca Odysseus PX 2004 ($25-$28)

  • Ody2100% Pedro Ximenez from Priorato
  • Bright, yellow gold in color with noticeable petillance (teeny tiny bubbles that cling to glass)
  • A bushel of enticing scents: lime, almond, petrichor (i.e. minerality) and blossom
  • In the mouth Odysseus is both zesty & rich - creamy & crisp (an impressive feat for such a young wine)

This wine was great with the succulent flavors of fresh halibut.  Nothing like F&C in AK with the PX.

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Comments

Lenn

Flippin' SWEET

Jathan MacKenzie

That actually was an intriging fictitious story.

Feel like playing editor on wikipedia and enlightening us with the truth Beau?

beau

Almost as sweet as ligers.

Lenn

It's pretty much my favorite animal.

beau

J - You can't handle the truth!
Just kidding. I have not been able to dig up any concrete info on the origin of PX. Our resident Spanish wine expert, Ryan of Catavino, is at the same dead end on PX history.

Ryan Opaz

I'll keep looking! In fact I'm headed down to Cadiz in May for Vinoble and I'll do my best to ask everyone I run into!

Jathan

O.K. That's cool I guess

Jack

Hey Beau, I haven't seen the 2004, but I purchased my first bottle of the 2003 August 1, 2005. I've drunk two (the second with Alder of Vinography) so far. I have six bottles left (the last 5 onsale at WF for a measly $11.70!). Alder's write-up: http://www.vinography.com/archives/000744.html

I also drank my only bottle of the 2003 Viñedos de Ithaca Odysseus (red) - which was very enjoyable.

visitor

Peter Hirtzman? How complicated! The real (really false, obviously) hero of this apocryphal story was named Peter Siemens.

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