2 thoughts on “Catawba Cobbler”

  1. I´m writing from argentina and I was wondering if you could point me to some web site where I could find information about catawba wine, I´m trying to reproduce some old recipes that call for that kind of wine but I don´t even know what it is! I suspect is made fro vitis labrusca or an hybrid but maybe somebody could throw some light…

  2. Hi, Daniel. I don’t know how much I can help you … everything I know about Catawba wine (which isn’t much), I’ve learned from Google. I don’t believe I’ve ever drunk any.

    I gather that it’s a sweet white wine, popular before serious European grape cultivation took off in the US. Both still and sparkling Catawbas were produced. Wikipedia states that the grape is widely believed to be a labrusca-vinifera hybrid, though others think it to be a hybrid of labrusca and another native American grape. Regardless, everyone seems to agree that it’s at least part labrusca, with a foxy funkiness about it, such that it’s best used for dessert or ice wines.

    Here’s a history of the Catawba grape’s discovery, rise and eventual downfall.

    Longfellow wrote a poem about it, which may provide some artistic guidance.

    This commenter at Making Light suggests that Madeira would be an acceptable substitute — indeed, an improvement — for Catawba in an Artillery Punch recipe.

    If it helps any, Bullock’s recipe for the Admiral Schley Highball calls for “Tokay, Angelica or Sweet Catawba Wine” … Tokay / Tokaji may be a good substitute for you in Argentina, as I’m not sure that many (if any) labrusca-based wines are exported from the US.

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