Spanish white wine grape that makes crisp, refreshing, and light-bodied wines.
White wine grape grown in Burgundy making medium-bodied, crisp, dry wines with spicy character.
Most successful in Italy’s Piedmont region. High acidity, deep ruby colour and full body, with low tannins & berrylike flavours.
Red wine grape used in Bordeaux for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is an earlier-maturing red wine, due to its lower level of tannins. Light- to medium-bodied wine with more immediate fruit than Cabernet Sauvignon and some of the herbaceous odours evident in unripe Cabernet Sauvignon.
Currant, Plum, Black Cherry & Spice, with notes of Olive, Vanilla Mint, Tobacco, Toasty Cedar, Anise, Pepper & Herbs. Full-bodied wines with great depth that improve with aging. Cabernet spend from 15 to 30 months aging in American & French Oak barrels, which tend to soften the tannins, adding the toasty cedar & vanilla flavours.
Known as Carignane in California, and Cirnano in Italy. Once a major blending grape for jug wines, Carignan’s popularity has diminished though it still appears in some blends. Old vineyards are sought after for the intensity of their grapes.
Also known as Grande Vidure, once widely planted in Bordeaux. Now primarily associated with Chile. Carmenere, was imported to Chile in the 1850’s. Carmenere has been frequently mislabelled. Many growers and the Chilean government consider it to be Merlot.
Apple, Pear, Vanilla, Fig, Peach, Pineapple, Melon, Citrus, Lemon, Grapefruit, Honey, Spice, Butterscotch, Butter & Hazelnut. Chardonnay takes well to Oak aging & barrel fermentation and is easy to manipulate with techniques such as sur lie aging & malolactic fermentation.
Native of the Loire where it’s the basis of the famous whites: Vouvray, Anjou, Quarts de Chaume and Saumur. In other areas it is a very good blending grape. Called Steen in South Africa and their most-planted grape. Many Countries use it as a blending grape for generic table wines. It can be a pleasant wine, with melon, peach, spice and citrus. The great Loire wines, depending on the producer can be dry and fresh to sweet.
Colombard (French Colombard)
The second most widely planted white variety in California, nearly all of it for jug wines. It produces an abundant crop, nearly 11 tons per acre, and makes clean and simple wines.
White wine grape grown in Piedmont and Lombardy. Best known for the wine, Gavi. The grape produces a light-bodied, crisp, well-balanced wine.
see Sauvignon Blanc
Beaujolais makes its famous, fruity reds exclusively from one of the many Gamays available, the Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc. Low in alcohol and relatively high in acidity, the wines are meant to be drunk soon after bottling; the ultimate example of this is Beaujolais Nouveau, whipped onto shelves everywhere almost overnight. It is also grown in the Loire, but makes no remarkable wines
A distinctive floral bouquet & spicy flavour are hallmarks of this dry to medium-sweet wine. Grown mainly in Alsace region of France & Germany, and also in California, Eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
Used mainly for blending and is found in some classic wines such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Originally from Spain, it is the second most widely grown grape in the world. It produces a fruity, spicy, medium-bodied wine.
Once important in Bordeaux and the Loire in various blends, this not-very-hardy grape has been steadily replaced by Merlot and the two Cabernets. However, Argentina is markedly successful with this varietal. In the United States Malbec is a blending grape only, and an insignificant one at that, but a few wineries use it, the most obvious reason being that it’s considered part of the Bordeaux-blend recipe.
A full-bodied, moderately intense wine with spice, pear and citrus notes. Popular in the Rhône & Australia (especially Victoria) has some of the world’s oldest vineyards. California’s “Rhône-Rangers” have had considerable success with this variety.
Herbs, Green Olive, Cherry & Chocolate. Softer & medium in weight with fewer tannins than Cabernet and ready to drink sooner. Takes well to Oak aging. It is frequently used as a blending wine with Cabernet to soften
A pleasing wine, of medium-weight, with spicy cherry and berry flavours and moderate tannins. Often used in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
A cross of two grapes, Sylvaner and Riesling. Mainly grown in Germany, Northern Italy, and New Zealand. Light in colour, and can be dry to medium dry.
Also known as Muscat Blanc and Muscat Canelli. With pronounced spice and floral notes it can also be used for blending. A versatile grape that can turn into anything from Asti Spumante and Muscat de Canelli to a dry wine like Muscat d’Alsace.
The great grape of Northern Italy, which excels there in Barolo and Barbaresco, strong, ageable wines. Mainly unsuccessful elsewhere, Nebbiolo also now has a small foothold in California. So far the wines are light and uncomplicated, bearing no resemblance to the Italian types.
From the Bordeaux Region of France it is used for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Plum & blackberry flavours mark this deep, ruby coloured wine. Usually full-bodied with chewy tannins. Used in France & California as a blending wine. Not related to the Syrah of France.
Similar flavour and texture to Chardonnay it is used in Champagne, Burgundy, Alsace, Germany and Italy.It can make some excellent wines. It can be intense, and complex, with ripe pear, spice, citrus and honey notes.
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
At its best this varietal produces wines that are soft, perfumed with more colour than most other white wines. Grown mainly in northeast Italy, but as Pinot Gris it is grown in Alsace & known as Tokay.
Grown in the Champagne region of France, it is blended with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to add fruit flavours to champagne.
This is the great, noble grape of Burgundy. Difficult to grow but at its best it is smooth & richer than Cabernet Sauvignon with less tannin. Raisin like flavours with undertones of black cherry, spice & raspberry. Widely used in the making of champagne sparkling wines.
A cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Grown in South Africa. Fermented at higher temperatures and aged in new oak for finesse and wonderful berry flavours.
A white wine grape of the northern Rhône Valley, mainly for blending with the white wine grape Marsanne.
Known for its supple texture, medium to full-bodied spice flavours, raspberry cherry & anise. Sangiovese is used in many fine Italian wines including Chianti.
Grassy & herbaceous flavours and aromas mark this light and medium-bodied wine, sometimes with hints of gooseberry & stonefruits. In California it is often labelled Fume Blanc. New Zealand produces some of the finest Sauvignon Blancs in a markedly fruity style.
The foundation of Sauternes, and many of the dry whites of Graves and Pessac-Léognan. It can make a wonderful late-harvest wine, with complex fig, pear, tobacco and honey notes. As a blending wine it adds body, flavour and texture to Sauvignon Blanc. It may be blended with Chardonnay, but does not add much to the flavour.
Trebbiano in Italy and Ugni Blanc in France. Found in almost any basic white Italian wine, and is actually a sanctioned ingredient of the blend used for Chianti. In France, it is often called St.Émilion, and used for Cognac and Armagnac.
Italian white that produces a pale, light-bodied, crisp wine.
Viognier, is one of the most difficult grapes to grow. It makes a floral and spicy white wine, medium to full-bodied and very fruity, with apricot and peach aromas.
With predominant raspberry flavours and a spicy aroma, Zinfandels can be bold and intense as well as light and fruity. It takes well to blending bringing out flavours of cherry, wild berry & plum with notes of leather, earth & tar. It is the most widely grown grape in California. Much of it is turned into White Zinfandel, a blush wine that is slightly sweet.