If grapes grew in Newfoundland, this is what I imagine they would look like.
Indigenous to Newfoundland among other plants are the partridgeberry/lingonberry, bakeapple, elephanthead lousewort, mint, thistle, and pearly everlasting. Some of these I’d known of, well, maybe two or three. The others were new to me. But, nowhere on the island, not on any lists of flora, were there any grapes. And the same is true of Fogo Island on the north shore of Newfoundland.
So imagine my surprise when my hosts Glenn and Mathilda, while having me over for dinner, brought out a bottle of homemade wine. My experience with homemade wine has not been very good. Not that I’ve made it myself; I’m always too eager to open the bottle than wait for it to age properly. What I’ve had is mostly forgettable; some I’m still trying to forget. So it was with no small apprehension that I awaited it’s opening and subsequent decantation. What was it made from? I was already trying in advance to formulate a response to what I just knew was going to be horrible. These were genuinely nice, thoughtful people who wanted to share with me their craft and I did not want to hurt their feelings.
In anticipation of the dinner and as an early thanks to them, I had brought a bottle of wine as a gift to them. They opened it and we drank from that. It was a nice, unpretentious wine that certainly would not screw up our meal. It was a great dinner. We laughed, and talked about our families, etc. and went though the first bottle rather quickly.
Now, their bottle came out. Trapped! It had a nice label on it – Shiraz, it said with some information about its winemakers, Glenn and Mathilda. It looked OK; nice deep red color, it didn’t even smell bad. Actually, it smelled pretty good. I could not avoid this any longer, now came the moment of truth. I took a sip. I took a bigger sip. I then took a gulp. It was GOOD. I asked for another glass. My inner wino took over.
Now I don’t think Napa has much to worry about. Glenn and Mathilda’s production is rather small. But damn, it’s good. Who woulda thunk it? Newfoundland wine – yet another reason to go there. Not like I needed any more.