A Word About Varietals

Many “wine and foodies” simply follow instinct. However, if you want to grow in your appreciation of wine, it’s recommended that you learn the characteristics of different grapes…at least the ones you like…and how those characteristics should be expressed in wine. The region the grape is grown in and the methods and techniques used during the vinting process can change some of the subtleties of the final wine product. However, a varietal wine always displays certain qualities, which are inherent in the grape’s “personality”. For example; Muscat should always be spicy, Sauvignon Blanc a touch herbal. Zinfandel is zesty, with pepper and wild berry flavors; Cabernet Sauvignon is marked by plum, currant and black cherry flavors and firm tannins. So a foundational understanding what a grape should be as a wine is fundamental.

Click below for descriptions of the most commonly used “wine” grapes. American wine is also made from native “fox grapes”, especially the Concord grape.

Barbera (Red)
[bar-BEHR-uh]
Brunello(Red)
[broo-NEHL-oh]
Cabernet Sauvignon (Red)
[cab-er-NAY SO-vin-yon]
Carignan (Red)
[karin-YAN]
Carmenere (Red)
[car-men-YEHR]
Charbono (Red)
[SHAR-bono]
CHARDONNAY (White)
[shar-dun-NAY]
Chenin Blanc (White)
[SHEN’N BLAHNK]
Dolcetto (Red)
[dole-CHET-to]
Fumé Blanc (White)
[FOO-may BLAHNK]
Gamay (Red)
[ga-MAY]
Grenache (Red)
[greh-NAHSH]
Malbec (Red)
[MAHL-beck]
Marsanne (White)
[mahr-SANN]
Merlot (Red)
[mur-LO]
Mourvèdre (Red)
[more-VAY-druh]
Muscat (White)
[MUSS-kat]
Nebbiolo (Red)
[NEH-bee-oh-low]
Petite Sirah (Red)
[peh-TEET sih-RAH]
Pinot Blanc (White)
[PEE-no BLAHNK]
Pinot Noir (Red)
[PEE-no NWAH]
Reisling (White)
[REES-ling]
Sangiovese (Red)
[san-geeo-VEHS-eh]
Sauvignon Blanc (White)
[SO-vin-yon BLAHNK]
Sémillon (White)
[SEM-ih-yon]
Syrah or Shiraz (Red)
[sih-RAH or shih-RAHZ]
Tempranillo (Red)
[temp-rah-NEE-yo]
Viognier (White)
[vee-oh-NYAY]
Zinfandel (Red)
[ZIHN-fan-dell]

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