The Barbera grape variety is the most successful type of grapes in Italy's Piedmont region. Its wines are characterized by a high level of acidity (meaning brightness and crispness), deep ruby color, full body, and low tannin levels; flavors are berrylike.
Cabernet Franc grapes as a varietal in wine, usually benefits from small amounts ofCabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and can be as intense and full-bodied as either of these wines. The most successful Cabernet Franc wines exhibit chocolate and roasted coffee tones as well as rich uplifting fruit.
The undisputed king of red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is remarkably steady and consistent performers through much of the world. While it grows well in many countries,in specific appellations it is capable of rendering wines of uncommon depth, richness, concentration and longevity.
Beaujolais makes its famous, fruity reds exclusively from one of the many Gamay clones available. Gamay grapes produce wines low in alcohol and relatively high in acidity, the wines are meant to be drunk soon after bottling.
Drought and heat resistant, Grenachegrapes yield a fruity, spicy, medium-bodied wine with supple tannins. The second most widely planted grape in the world, Grenache is widespread in the southern RhoneValley.
The Lambrusco is believed to be a wild native grape first domesticated by the Etruscans in pre-Roman times. Counts on a number of sub-varieties mostly in the Emilia - Romagna region, its main growing area. It makes afrizzante, or sparkling, red wine that is little known abroad. The dry variety produced in the Modena and Reggio Emilia provinces are perfect complements to the zesty and hearty local cuisine.
Malbec’s characteristics vary greatly depending on where it is gown and how it is transformed. Generally it produces a light style, well colored sweet wine that tastes of plums, berries, andspice. Malbec wines mature quickly and are best consumed young.
It has become increasingly popular in southern France. It is the most widely planted red grape in Bordeaux, in part because it ripens early. Merlot has an aromatic bouquet and tastes of berries and plums. It usually has a medium red color, and is medium bodied, soft, and round. Merlot is generally enjoyed young.
MOURVEDREMourvèdre has a dark purple color and is high in acid and alcohol. It tends to be quite tannic and ages well. It is an important blending wine, and has become a major component of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône Valley of southern France.
Nebbiolo is a black grape variety which is used in the finest wines of Italy. It is native to the Piedmont region and is used inwines such as Barolo and Barbaresco.
Petit Verdot is the least known and least grown of the Bordeaux red grape varieties. As a late maturing variety it is losing popularity in the relatively cool Bordeaux region. In Australia it is being planted in warmer areas where ripening is not such a problem.
SYRAH / SHIRAZ
Also known as Syrah (France), this major variety is used inthe Rhone Valley in France, and around the world. It is vinified alone or blended with many varieties including Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. It is also known as Balsamina (Argentina), Balsemina (Argentina) and Scyras.
WHITE GRAPE VARIETIES
Chardonnay is the result of a natural cross between the famous red grape, Pinot Noir, and the infamous white grape, GouaisBlanc, which was actually banned in France. Chardonnay adapts well to a wide range of locations, including warm irrigated regions such as Australia, and cool, rainy regions such as Champagne. Its bouquet and taste vary greatly in function of the climate and other natural growing conditions, and the winemaker’s art.
Chenin Blanc originated in Anjou, in the Loire Valley of...