Ready to learn about CATawba from a CAT? Okay!
I wanted something really unusual to entertain my readers with this week. I was looking for an off-the-beaten-path post and was casting about for inspiration when my cat Bandit curled up next to me and began to tell me the tale of Cats and Wine.
“You know, the word cat has an interesting story,” she began, with an air of mystery. “You think the word is just Cat, but it’s actually from Catawba, which is one of the original native American grapes.”
Bandit was happy to give me a lesson, but she wanted to make sure she got something out of the conversation. So she took a quick sidetrack to tell me that while cats should never be given wine or alcohol, “there’s something in wine for everyone, even us cats. I love to chase corks and cork toys. Isn’t it just about time for another gift?” Was that a wink I detected?
I gave her a little pet and then urged her to tell me more about Catawba.
Bandit told me that Catawba grapes are red and are grown mostly on the east coast of the United States. She said they figured prominently in the history of American wine making. During the early to mid-19th century, Catawba was the most widely planted grape variety in the country. Very early American wine makers also used the grape in sparkling wines. They’re used in jams and jellies as well, so their foxy, musky flavor transcends wine making.
And with that, Bandit scampered off, but not before enticing me to do a little more research.
According to wineintro.com, Catawba is a “created” grape that is a cross of vitis vinifera (French grape style) and vitis labrusca (United States grape style) grapes. Wines made out of Catawba are a bit foxy and have an odor, which you may or may not like. Catawba wines are hard to find. Your best bet is to contact wineries in the Finger Lakes region of NY, where the wine is most prevalent.
wineintro.com included the following warning in their write up: “Many high end drinkers of wine look down at anything which is not Vitis Vinifera – so if you enjoy Catawba, be prepared for this prejudice :)”
I am all about trying new wines, whether Vitis Vinifera or something else. If you’ve tried Catawba wines, please share your experiences with us. Also, if you are in Northern California and you have a bottle of Catawba on hand, I would love for you to invite me to share it with you. I will bring the chocolate ☺