Wine Grapes - From A to Z

Wine Grapes - From A to Z

Most people are familiar with certain types of grapes, but did you know that there are around 10,000 varieties of grapes in the world! Of course, there are popular types of grapes, used for wine, table grapes, and for juice that come to mind but likely not close to that number of the top of ones head. For example, the Kyoho is among the most grown grape variety in the world because it is the most common type used in China for table grapes or to be dried or turned into juice, but have you ever heard of this grape? The Kyoho is a grape grown much the same as the Sultanina (a.k.a. Thompson Seedless) in the United States. As for winemaking, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most grown grape variety but there are more grapes and wines to learn about and to enjoy. Of the many of these varieties found through the world's grape growing regions have been developed by using grafting and other methods to produce new hybrids to produce desired qualities or traits. Often, certain types of grapes are popular in certain countries and some of these grapes are used to produce wines that are considered representative of those countries or regions.

Photo Courtesy Randy Caparaoso

The knowledge of grape varieties has not always been a focus as it is in recent times. In countries that have long been known for their winemaking tradition, we only need to go back a handful of decades to a time that the grapes used in the wines was a technical matter that was important to the winegrower or winemaker. We do not have to go back that far in time when many of the wine labels did not show which varietal(s) were used to produce the wine? Why? Simply put, having the name of the grape did not necessarily help increase sales. It was assumed that, if the wine came from Burgundy, it would be made with Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, depending on the type, or mostly with Tempranillo, as is the case of Rioja wines. 

Here is a wonderful list of the most popular wine grapes, and a few more, with brief descriptions of each one listed. Do not worry, while the list is a reasonable representation of the many grapes found in the California and around the world, we have focused on those that are more likely to be found in a wine you might choose to drink, or simply want to learn more about. The list of grapes is not stagnant, we will try to and others as we continue to research the grapes of the world. If you have a grape that you believe we should add please contact us by email at and we will try to see if your suggest on a grape and be included. - Good Reading.



Aglianico – Aglianico (pronounced "ah-LYAH-nee-koe") is a black grape grown in the southern regions of Italy. The vine originated in Greece and was brought to Campania by Greek settlers. Aglianico can taste very much like Nebbiolo. Both of these grapes can produce fairly high alcohol yet produce a wine with balance and freshness. The grape is found in California in the Lodi area and Bill and Kathy Collins in Napa where I believe Aglianico is only found in the Collins Holystone Vineyard. In Paso Robles there are a few wines being produced with this grape along with a few other Italian Varietals.
Full-bodied, the aromas and flavors include “White Pepper, Cracked Peppercorn, Black Cherry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Dark Plum, Dried Cranberry, Dried Raspberry, Leather, Game, Smoke, Cocoa, Baking Spices, Cedar, Tobacco, Cigar Box, and coffee. This wine pairs well with rich meats with high fat content to absorb the astringency. Think of foods and Entrees that contain beef, lamb, game, fatty pork, and charcuterie meats such as prosciutto, Tuscan salami, smoked meat, and sausages.

Albalonga – (pronounced ‘ahl-bah-ree-nyoh’) is a white German wine grape variety that is a crossing between Rieslaner and Müller-Thurgau. It can produce wines up to Auslese-level sweetness. The name Albalonga means “long white” based on the shape of bunches. No, decanting is not necessary. The medium to very sweet wines of Albalonga match food that also please our sweet tooth. Such as a slice of cheesecake, apricot upside-down cake, or lemon meringue pie.
Albariño - (pronounced ‘ahl-bah-ree-nyoh’) is a thick-skinned green grape varietal. Albariño is also made as a sparkling Vinho Verde wine in Portugal. Known there as Alvarinho. The Albariño characteristics highlight the crispiness and freshness of the flavors. The variety shows high acidity and a fine texture with citrus, stone fruit, and mineral elements that pair excellently with Spanish and Mediterranean seafood dishes.

Alicante Bouschet – (pronounced “alli kan tay boo shay”) Alicante Bouschet is a red wine which is also called Garnacha Tintorera in Spain. This grape is a cross between Petit Bouschet and Grenache in the late 19th Century in the South of France by Henri Bouschet. Alicante Bouschet is unique due to the color of the fruit on the inside. While the vast majority of grapes have white flesh, this wine has red fruit and the juice from Alicante Bouschet is red. The bold fruit flavors of blackberries and ripe plums do introduce an element of sweetness. Alicante Bouschet aroma ranges from forest berries, ripe plums with peppery undertones to a hint of cocoa and olives. You can find several wineries in California’s Central Valley that produce a wine with this grape. 

Alvarelhão – (pronounced “al vin yoo”) Alvarelhão is a red Portuguese variety mainly found in Douro and Dão wine regions. The grape is one of the old varieties with a lot of potential, but it has slightly declined in popularity. It is used in varietals and blends. Alvarelhão-based wines are fresh and bright. They are usually high in acidity and alcohol. The aroma is subtle, reminiscent of red fruit, think strawberries and raspberries. The wines are light-bodied and juicy. These wines are best paired with meat and would go especially well with BBQ.

Ancellata (rare) – still researching this grape.

Ancellotta - (pronounced “an cha lota”) is a dark-colored grape variety that originated in Italy. It is most often used as a (minority) blending component in sparkling red Lambrusco wines. There, it creates a softly fruity wine with good acidity, ripe tannins, and a deep, intense color. Ancellotta's skins have a high concentration of anthocyanins and therefore strong pigmentation, so much so that an extract from the grape is often used to color food products other than wine. Aaron Lange of Lange Twins Family Vineyards & Winery is excited about the potential of this grape. The Langes have planted 0.2 acres of Ancellotta on their home estatem adjacent to their winery. 

Arnsburger – was developed in Germany for its high yields and high acidity which is fitted for creating base wines specifically for sparkling wine. In Portugal, in the Madeira Island, there are 14 hectares planted with Arnsburger at present and used to make light dry white wines.
Bacchus – Bacchus grape The Bacchus grape variety is a white grape that has recently been added to the German wine industry. Its founder was a German viticulturist, who founded the grape during the early 1930s in a viticulture institute at Pfalz in the Palatinate region. Fresh, crisp and citrussy English white made from Bacchus. The Bacchus grape, named after the Roman God of wine, produces a fresh and crisp wine with excellent citrus fruit characters and a refreshing finish.


Barbera - Barbera del Sannio grapes are an excellent variety of red wine grape which recognizes its birth in Italy. This grape variety is abundantly grown on the Sardinian Island where it is frequently taken into use for the addition of acidity into the blends.

Bastardo (a.k.a. Trousseau noir)
Trousseau or Trousseau Noir, also known as Bastardo and Merenzao, is an old variety of red wine grape originating in eastern France. It is grown in small amounts in many parts of Western Europe; the largest plantations are today found in Portugal, where most famously it is used in port wine. Trousseau is a dark-skinned wine grape originally from Jura, northeastern France, but which has made its way over the centuries to vineyards in northwestern Spain and various parts of Portugal.

Black Prince (a.k.a. Rose of Peru) The red grape variety possibly originates from South America. The red grape variety probably originates from Germany. The variety is suitable for winepress and table grape. There are plantings to be found in the Lodi Wine Region of California. 

Blauer Affenthaler - The red grape variety probably originates from Germany. Synonyms are Blauer Affenthaler, Kleiner Trollinger, Morillon Aigret, Pineau Aigret, Säuerlicher Burgunder and Schwarzblauer Affenthaler. 

Blauer Portugieser- Blauer Portugieser is a red Austrian, Slovenian wine, Croatian wine and German wine grape. In Germany, the cultivated area covered 4,551 hectares (11,250 acres). Wine cellars usually vinify a simple light red wine that has a fresh, tart and light body. It is also frequently vinified as a rosé. 

Blaufränkisch - is a dark-skinned variety of grape used for red wine. This grape is a late-ripening variety, produces red wines which are typically rich in tannin and may have a spicy character.  Grown in Pennsylvania, Washington state, Michigan, New Jersey, Idaho, New York, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, and California. 

Bourboulenc - is a late-ripening grape variety with tight bunches of large grapes, that can be prone to rot in some years. Bourboulenc wine has a good acidity level, body, a citrus bouquet along with a hint of smoke. 

Burger (a.k.a. Monbadon) Burger is a white wine grape of French origin. Its French name is Monbadonme is Monbadon. In California wines its influence has steadily decreased and now it is used primarily in bulk jug wine production. Today this grape is planted primarily in the Central Valley. 


Cabernet Dorsa – is a red wine grape often found in cool-climate winegrowing areas. It was described as a crossing of Dornfelder and Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Dorsa is full-bodied, tannic with a slightly spicy aroma. Food matches for Cabernet Dorsa include Corned beef, Grilled bratwurst sausages with mustard, and Braised beef short ribs.

Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style but can also be vinified alone. Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine with a finesse and lends a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on the growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, cassis, and violets. 

Cabernet Sauvignon - (kab-er-nay saw-vin-yawn) is a black grape producing dry, full bodied red wines. It comes from Bordeaux in France and is the most widely planted black grape in the world. The world’s most popular red wine grape is a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon is loved for its high concentration and age worthiness. The rich flavor and high tannin content in Cabernet Sauvignon make it a perfect partner to rich grilled meats, peppery sauces, and dishes with high flavor. One Central Valley winery produces and excellent Cabernet using fruit from the Paso Robles AVA - Maréchal Vineyards.

Carignan - (a.k.a. Carignane; Cariñena; Mazuelo) is primarily known as a dry, fruity, medium-bodied red wine with high tannins and pronounced acidity. It's most commonly blended with other grapes – Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. Carign

Carménère - Most Carménère wines have striking aromas of raspberry sauce, sour cherry, green peppercorn, and a granite-like minerality. On the more affordable end, you can expect to find Carménère wines with honest fruity red berry aromas and tart flavors of raspberry with a subtly bitter taste similar to kale. Top–Rated Carménère Wines age well and typically cost between $50–$100. Fine Carménère wines offer dense, ripe, and powerful flavors of plums, berries, and cocoa notes, along with a creamy mid-palate and fine-grained tannins.

Carmine – Carmine wines are dark red or crimson in color, and typically have herbaceous aromas and peppery notes. Carmine has strong, dry tannins and a sour acidity. It produces wines that are well suited for aging. It has flavors of dark fruit, dark chocolate, and the occasional hint of mint.

Charbono (a.k.a. Douce noir; Bonarda; Corbeau) In California's Napa Valley, Charbono has a more historic role in the region's wines. It is thought that the variety was brought here by European settlers but the why and how of this is disputed. The most popular theory suggests that it was brought to the valley by Italians under the guise of Barbera. In the 1940s, researchers discovered that these vines were something different from Barbera altogether. Inglenook released its first Charbono in the same decade, and now remains one of the variety's most important proponents. Charbono is, however, losing ground to more fashionable grape varieties and now covers less than 100 acres (40 hectares) of land in the Golden State.
In the vineyard, Charbono (or Bonarda), is usually one of the last varieties to be harvested, as it needs plenty of time on the vine to ripen fully. Even then, it is notable for its high acidity, but when yields are kept to a minimum, this can be accompanied by rich fruit complexity, structured tannins, and some sweet notes of spice. Interestingly, Argentinian Bonarda wines are usually made with early consumption in mind, while Californian Charbono wines can usually benefit from some time in bottle. This serves to highlight the vast discrepancy in regional attitudes toward the variety.

Food pairings:
•    Hickory-smoked beef brisket
•    Cheeseburger with bacon

Chardonnay – Chardonnay grapes are known to reflect their terroir, resulting in some of the most charismatic wines in the world. From the leaner, crisp Old-World wines to the full-bodied, tropical Chardonnays of New World regions like Napa Valley - there’s a perfect bottle for every wine lover!
Chardonnay’s characteristic flavors also vary depending on the wine region. For example, a Napa Valley or a California Chardonnay exhibits dominant pineapple notes, while a Chablis-style wine will have more pronounced green-fruit flavors. 

Chenin Blanc - (a.k.a. Pineau de la Loire)  - (pronounced Kleh-RHEHT BLAHNSH) Clairette Blanche is a grape that was once one of the most widely planted white grapes in the south of France, and while acreage has declined, is still used in a variety of ways, including as a component of the Rhone's best-known sparkling wine. It's still relatively new to. Fresh wines with a nutty richness. Chenin Blanc is a versatile white-wine grape variety that has been cultivated in France for nearly 1300 years. It is most commonly associated with France's Loire Valley, and its high acidity levels mean it can be vinified in a number of different styles: as lusciously sweet, botrytis-affected dessert wines, light, honeyed sparkling wines and as full-bodied, still white wines. Chenin Blanc may be crafted to any level of sweetness, ranging from bone-dry, crisp and sparkling, through to sweet dessert wines. This is reflected in the number of winemaking techniques and styles employed in Chenin production, such as stainless steel, extended-lees contact and barrel maturation. In this respect it is not dissimilar to Chardonnay, with which it commonly appears in blends; however, the two are not closely related genetically. In the vineyard, growers must keep Chenin Blanc's naturally high yields in check, allowing flavors to concentrate and its floral bouquet to come through. The variety buds early and ripens late, making frost a risk in the cooler parts of the world.

Cinsault (a.k.a. Cinsault; Black Malvoisier) One of the minor grapes found in Rhône blends and Provençal rosés; Cinsault delivers fresh, punchy reds that are just as floral as they are fruity.  Taste: Fruit forward and lively with pronounced aromas of red fruits, followed by flavors of strawberry, raspberry, morello cherry and pomegranate, as well as a white pepper spiciness and a savory quality. Cinsault is almost always confined to a supporting role in blends.

Clairette blanche - Clairette blanche is an extremely old grape in the land where it comes from, in Southern France. It is one of the 18 winegrapes allowed (by law, the French are persnickety when it comes to their top wine regions) to be grown in the Rhône Valley‘s Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In California, however, it is still an extreme rarity. A number of growers and vintners have picked up on the grape in Paso Robles, which shares a commonality with Lodi in respect to a Mediterranean climate highlighted by warm, sun soaked summer days and cool summer nights.

Usage of Clairette blanche, as it were, has recently been on an upsurge in Châteauneuf-du-Pape — top producers of white wines in this region have been increasing the percentage of this grape, to as much as 10%, in their white wine blends, traditionally dominated by Grenache blanc and Roussanne. Jason Haas — the owner/winemaker of Paso Robles’ Tablas Creek Vineyard whose family first planted Clairette blanche in California — has theorized that increase of the grape in Châteauneuf-du-Pape has probably been a natural reaction to climate change. It’s getting “hot” in all the world’s wine regions (in Oregon, for instance, winegrowers have been in a state of shock by 2021‘s turn of events), and the crisp acidity and more-minerally-than-fruity profile of Clairette blanche has helped bring balance to increasingly softer, riper, fruitier qualities of Grenache blanc and Roussanne resulting from hotter summers. Sue Tipton, owner/grower/winemaker of Lodi’s Acquiesce Winery & Vineyard, planted Clairette blanche as a possible blending grape for her own Châteauneuf-du-Pape-inspired whites. I think even Tipton has been surprised by the extent of the racy, stony touch and herbes de Provence-like complexity the grape brings to a blend, as well as the distinctly appealing character it shows as a stand-alone varietal bottling

Colombard (a.k.a. French Colombard) Colombard has a relatively neutral flavor, light body, and low tannins. Its high acidity lends a crisp, tart flavor to blending with more flavorful white grapes such as chardonnay, sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc. Colombard tasting notes include tart green apple, sweet melon and peach, and bitter almond.

CounoiseCounoise is a black-skinned grape variety used in the production of blended red wines and rosé in southern France. Its most famous application is in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend, but a number of varietal examples have recently been released in California. In France, Counoise is grown in the southern Rhone, Provence, and Languedoc.
As a vine, Counoise is low-yielding and late-ripening, which means it offers more in terms of quality than quantity. It blends particularly well with Syrah and can be used to great effect with Grenache and Mourvèdre, opening up the flavors and aromas of younger wines. Counoise is often mistaken for Aubun (and vice versa) but the two are, in fact, separate varieties. The confusion arose because the two are often planted together.
Counoise is often described as a peppery and spicy grape variety, but it also adds much in the way of plum and wild berry (strawberry and raspberry) flavors. Secondary notes of anise and licorice have also been described in some varietal examples. Counoise is mostly used in blends because the variety lacks deep color, strong tannins, and potential alcohol. However, it does provide good acidity and in Provence it is used to make crisp and lively rosé wine, while in California there is an increasing trend towards producing varietal Counoise wines.

Food pairings for Counoise include:
•    Tuna niçoise
•    Sausage and shrimp jambalaya
•    Grilled lamb chops
•    A good, aged English Cheddar 


Dolcetto -  ()dol·cet·to) Dolcetto grapes produce red wines that are low-acidity, juicy, and earthy. The grape's blue-black skins produce a deep ruby color and tannic flavor even after a brief period of skin contact, so most winemakers opt for a short maceration period to soften the tannins. Dolcetto wine is rich, round, soft and fruity. It nearly always has a deep ruby and purple color and intriguing aromatics of blackberry, plum and spice. On the palate, Dolcetto has distinctive flavors of licorice, blackberry and almond.
What Does Dolcetto Taste Like?
Dolcetto shines with its flavors and aromas of brambly berries and cherries. There is often a hint of spice running through it, as well as a lift of violets. With a bit of a chill, Dolcetto becomes even fresher and more vibrant.

Domina - (Blauer Portugieser x Pinot noir) (dom·i·na) The grape variety bred in 1927 from the Blauer Portugieser and Spätburgunder varieties by Peter Morio (also vine grower of the Morio-Muskat variety) in the Palatinate with its voluminous dark red to blue-black grapes was added to the list of varieties in 1974. Today it is cultivated on 304 hectares mainly in Franconia, where it finds optimal growth and weather conditions. The total vineyards planted with Domina in Germany amounted to 347 hectares in 2021.
The Domina grape variety is relatively frost-resistant and ripens medium late. It ripens later than Portugieser but earlier than Spätburgunder. Under good conditions, the grapes have a very intense dark hue, that is why the wines made from the Domina vine are often used as a cover wine for other red wines. The wines are color-intensive, full-bodied and of a pleasant nature, mostly acidic and tannic. The scent is subtly reminiscent of blackberries - paired with a light smoky note. The tannin-heavy wines are matured in barriques or in large wooden barrels and are often served with any kind of game dishes or hearty banquets with roasts and dumplings.

Dornfelder – Helfensteiner (Frühburgunder [a.k.a. Pinot noir Précoce] x Trollinger) x Heroldrebe (Blauer Portugieser x Blaufränkisch [a.k.a. Lemberger])
Dornfelder is a relatively recent arrival on the wine grape scene, having been created in 1956 by August Herold as a crossing of Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe. However, since Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe are also crossings, its lineage includes almost every red wine grape grown in Germany. It is especially important in the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions and is the second most widely planted red grape variety in Germany. The best examples use oak aging, making the most of Dornfelder's ability to take on the additional textures and spice imparted by the barrique process. It is commonly made in a trocken (dry) style and is often blended with Germany's most renowned red grape variety, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). The grape has deep red flesh and produces wines that are rich in pigment and often display a slightly floral character. Much of its appeal and subsequent success with winemakers is due to its hardiness and resilience.
Some say Dornfelder has all the best elements of its parents, and few of their shortcomings. It generally produces moderately tannic, fresh, deeply colored, medium-bodied red wines.
Beyond Germany: Dornfelder is also grown in England where it may be blended with Pinot Noir or produced as a single-variety wine. It is often made into a rosé due to its good acidity and occasional hint of sweetness. In the United States it is cultivated on both coasts, in particular the Finger Lakes (east) and Sta. Rita Hills and Lodi AVAs (west).
Food pairings: As ever, the first source of inspiration for food matching comes from the country or region of origin. In this case, Dornfelder's good acidity pairs well with meat-based. More broadly, its lighter body pairs well with light meats and more flavorful seafood such as Singaporean black pepper crab or Armenian potato and lamb moussaka.

Ehrenfelser - (Riesling x Silvaneris) Ehrenfelser is considered as one of the primary grapes of Germany, which is used in the preparation of some of the most tasteful wines of the world. Apart from Germany, this grape variety today is also planted and found in the region of British Columbia. This is because of the ability of this grape to grow well in the regions having a colder climate. The development of this white wine grape variety entertains with it a number of stories. It is believed that this grape variety was developed in order to substitute all the Riesling grapes in the areas where this grape could not thrive because of its properties of shortness of the growing season. However, this should always be noted that Ehrenfelser is not a replacement for Riesling but a merely substitute. The grapes produced by the vines of Ehrenfelser entertain Kabinett level of ripeness. This variety of white wine grape is mainly grown in the region of Rheinhessen and Pfalz. Soon, it also began to develop in the areas of North America with little plantation in the regions of Washington State.


Faberrebe - Pinot Blanc x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale)
The white grape variety is a new breed between Chardonnay x Müller-Thurgau. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2013, the maternity of Pinot Blanc ( Weißburgunder) indicated in the breeding list has been proven to be incorrect. Synonyms or breeding numbers are Alzey 10375, AZ 10375, Faber and S. 10375. The crossbreeding was carried out in 1929 by the breeder Georg Scheu (1879-1949) at the State Institute for Vine Breeding in Alzey (Rhineland-Palatinate). Plant variety protection was granted in 1967. The early ripening, high-yielding vine produces golden yellow wines with pronounced acidity and subtle muscatel. In 2008, some wineries launched an initiative "Relaunch F" to give the increasingly forgotten Faberrebe a new image and to revive it. In 2018, however, only 270 hectares of vineyard area were designated in Germany.  

Fiano The prolific Rheinhessen grape breeder Georg Scheu crossed Chardonnay with Müller-Thurgau in 1929 to produce this early-ripening white variety.
With sufficient ripeness, the Faberrebe can produce elegant, refreshing wines with a light Muscat tone and, usually, more acidity than Müller-Thurgau or Silvaner.

Forta - Silvaner x Madeleine Angevine (Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre)

Frühburgunder (a.k.a. Pinot noir Précoce)
Pinot Noir Précoce or, as it is called in parts of Germany, Frühburgunder is a dark, blue-black–skinned, variety of grape used for wine and is a form or mutation of Pinot noir, which differs essentially by ripening earlier than normal.  Frühburgunder is a dark-red grape variety, found planted in the Ahr and Franken regions of Germany. A typical Frühburgunder red wine is low in acidity with soft tannins, a medium body and flavors of red berries and dried herbs.  It is unclear as to exactly how Frühburgunder is related to Pinot Noir but it is likely that it is a natural mutation after a long history of Pinot Noir cultivation throughout Europe. 
Food pairings for Frühburgunder wines include:
•    Veal schnitzel
•    Grilled chicken legs
•    Portobello mushrooms roasted with thyme


Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache; Grenache noir; Garnacha tinta; Cannonau) Grenache or Garnacha is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape most likely originated. Grenache is a blue grape variety of Spanish origin, where it is known as garnacha or garnatxa. It is even Spain's second-most cultivated grape (after tempranillo), frequently used in blends. Axial Vinos knows better than anyone how the grape thrives perfectly well on its own.

GewürztraminerGewürztraminer is an aromatic wine grape variety, used in white wines, and performs best in cooler climates. In English, it is sometimes referred to colloquially as Gewürz, and in English and French it is written Gewurztraminer. Gewürztraminer may be one of the most notoriously difficult-to-pronounce grape varieties (say it slowly: "gev-OORTZ-tra-meener"), but once the wine is in your glass, it's difficult not to smile. Whether it's produced in a dry, off-dry, or sweet style, Gewürztraminer wines offer a unique combination of lychee, stone fruit, tropical fruit, spice, and flower notes that makes each sip deeply enjoyable.

Grand Noir -  (a.k.a. Grand noir de la Calmette) Grand Noir de la Calmette is a red teinturier grape variety that is a crossing of Petit Bouschet and Aramon noir created in 1855 by French grape breeder Henri Bouschet at his vineyard in Mauguio in the Hérault department. The grape was named after the breeding station Domaine de la Calmette.
Grand Noir de la Calmette (or simply Grand noir) is a red teinturier grape variety that is a crossing of Petit Bouschet and Aramon noir created in 1855 by French grape breeder Henri Bouschet at his vineyard in Mauguio in the Hérault department. The grape was named after the breeding station Domaine de la Calmette. As a teinturier, Grand noir is often used to add color to wines that it is blended into but is paler than other choices such as Alicante Bouschet. The vine tends to bud late and has a high productivity but with some susceptibility to the viticultural hazard of powdery mildew. 

While Grand Noir de la Calmette originated in France and was once widely grown in the Cognac and Languedoc wine regions, today it is rarely planted in that country. Instead, the variety is predominantly found in the Spanish wine regions of Galicia in northwest Spain and in the southern Portuguese wine regions of Alentejo. 
Grand Noir de la Calmette is often compared with its sibling grape, Alicante Bouschet, and the wines that both varieties produce tend to be very similar though Master of Wine Jancis Robinson notes that those made from Grand Noir de la Calmette tend to have more noticeable "peppery" spice.[1]

Graciano - Graciano is a Spanish red wine grape that is grown primarily in Rioja. The vine produces a low yield that is normally harvested in late October. The wine produced is characterized by its deep red color, strong aroma, and ability to age well. Graciano thrives in warm, arid climates. Graciano is a black-skinned wine grape from northern Spain, grown principally in Navarra and Rioja. Although rarely seen outside Spain, the variety is found in small quantities in Australia and California. Under the name Morrastel, it is also grown in small quantities in the Languedoc. The classic Graciano wine is moderately tannic, deeply colored and intensely perfumed, with aromas of mulberry, violets and chocolate. In Rioja, where most red wines are aged in oak, these notes are complemented by vanilla and sweet spices – the trademarks of barrel-aged red wine.
Graciano's intense aroma makes the variety very popular with winemakers, who use it mostly in the classic Rioja Blend with Tempranillo and Garnacha (although a few varietal examples exist). The variety's presence is felt in blends even when used in small volumes. In this regard it has much in common with Petit Verdot, another color-rich, flavor-packed, red wine variety prized for its role in blends and only rarely vinified alone. Unfortunately, Graciano vines are less successful in the vineyard than in the winery. Not only are they particularly susceptible to mildew, they are also very low-yielding, making the variety unpopular among vine growers – particularly those paid by the kilogram. In the 20th Century many Rioja wineries uprooted their Graciano vines, in favor of more fashionable grapes such as Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Happily, the variety is now steadily returning to importance, especially within warm, arid climates. 

Food pairings for Graciano include:
•    Chorizo and lentil stew with Morcilla (Spanish blood sausage),
•    Lamb-stuffed bell peppers
•    Seared kangaroo with raspberry glaze

Grenache (a.k.a. Grenache noir; Garnacha; Garnacha tinta; Garnatxa negre; Cannonau)
Grenache or Garnacha is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape most likely originated. At its core, Grenache appeals to many people with its intense fruity and herbal notes. Berries that shine through are strawberries, black cherries, and raspberries, with hints of cinnamon and anise, as well. The flavor profile of Grenache as a whole can be likened to the taste of a fruit roll-up

Grenache blanc (a.k.a. Garnacha blanca) Grenache blanc is a variety of white wine grape that is related to the red grape Grenache. It is mostly found in Rhône wine blends and in northeast Spain. 

GrignolinoGrignolino is a red Italian wine grape variety commonly grown in the Piedmont region. It makes light colored wines and rosés with very fruity aromas, strong acidity and tannins. The name Grignolino derives from the word grignole which means "many pips" in the local Piedmontese dialect of the Asti region. Grignolino is a red Italian wine grape variety commonly grown in the Piedmont region. It makes light colored wines and rosés with very fruity aromas, strong acidity and tannins. The name Grignolino derives from the word grignole which means "many pips" in the local Piedmontese dialect of the Asti region. Grignolino is a wine named after the grape that is native to the Monferrato hills in the Piedmont region of Italy. Light in body and color, with hues ranging from deep pink tourmaline to high-grade ruby, Grignolino is clean and stimulating, packing in aromas and flavours of berry, herbs and spice. Its bright acidity and freshness make it remarkably food-friendly. It derives its name from the Piedmontese word grignolè, which means seeds. The word also refers to a grimacing expression, which would likely result from biting into something acidic or tannic. These are fair associations since Grignolino has remarkable tannins and carries more pips in each small berry than most other grape varieties. One can imagine that the resulting wine might cause a grimace – but more likely a smile – because Grignolino wines offer undeniable charm and energy. Grignolino is like a summertime version of Nebbiolo, with bright aromas of rose, sage, and white peppercorn but often more wild strawberry than dark, sour cherry, and is be enjoyed slightly chilled.
A versatile wine, Grignolino works well with many regional dishes of Piedmont, such as steak tartare and poached rabbit.
‘On the international table, it makes a wonderful match for duck, lighter pork dishes, and all manner of charcuterie,’ says Peterson.

Grüner Veltliner - (Groo-ner Velt-lee-ner) Grüner Veltliner has arguably done more to put Austrian wines on the map than any other grape variety, yet its true range remains relatively under-appreciated. Grüner Veltliner made its first big splash on the American wine market a decade or so ago, when inexpensive, crisp, citrus-zipped white wines made from the grape variety began popping up on wine lists and retail shelves. Its combination of refreshing, mouthwatering acidity, bright lemon-lime flavors, and hint of herbs made it appealing to fans of Sauvignon Blanc, yet it was different enough to set it apart. Combine that with a brilliant marketing campaign from the industry overall — some producers adopted tongue-in-cheek labels, many replete with eye-catching graphics — and prices that made even well-crafted ones remarkably affordable, and the stage was set for Grüner Veltliner to make a serious splash. Grüner Veltliner is an Austrian white wine grape. It is likely indigenous to Austria, where it is the country’s most planted grape variety.

Gutedel - (a.k.a. Chasselas; Fendant) Known as Chasselas in France and Fendant in Switzerland, this ancient white variety is both a popular table grape and a wine grape.
It ripens fairly early and makes a rather neutral wine, low in acidity, that is best enjoyed while it is still young. Fruity, fresh, palatable wines that are easy to drink can be produced from the Gutedel grape. Chasselas is mostly vinified to be a full, dry and fruity white wine. It is also suitable as a table grape, grown widely for this purpose in Turkey and Hungary. 

Huxelrebe – Gutedel (a.k.a. Chasselas) x Courtiller Musqué (a.k.a. Muscat Précoce de Saumur) Huxelrebe is a white grape used for wine. Huxelrebe is primarily found in Germany, where the cultivated area covered 396 hectares in 2019, with a decreasing trend. It is primarily found in the German wine regions Rheinhessen, Palatinate and Nahe. Small plantations are also found in England. Huxelrebe, a crossing of Gutedel and Courtillier Musqué, was bred by Georg Scheu in Rheinhessen in 1927.
If left on its own, this white variety can achive record-breaking yields however, if yields are controlled, the Huxelrebe can produce Auslese and dessert wines even in an average year. Fully ripened Huxelrebe has a rich bouquet and flavor and, as its heritage implies, a refined Muscat tone. The fresh and mild acidity of the grape variety harmonises perfectly with these fruit notes. The wines of the Huxelrebe are often served with sweet desserts or as an aperitif and are a delicious companion for spicy poultry and fish dishes as well as sweet and sour dishes.


Kanzler - Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) x Silvaner - Kanzler (or Kanzlerrebe in German) is a relatively rare, white German grape variety bred in 1927 by crossing Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner. It is primarily grown in the Rheinhessen region. Kanzler can achieve good must weights in the right conditions. The wines tend to be straightforward and roundly fruity.

Kerner - Trollinger x Riesling - Kerner is a crossing of Trollinger and Riesling, bred in 1969 in Württemberg and named after a local poet, Justinius Kerner. Compared with Riesling, it can grow in sites with less favorable conditions and guarantees a higher yield. 
It ripens later than Müller-Thurgau but earlier than Riesling. The wines are fresh, racy and fruity — not unlike Riesling — yet milder in acidity, with a more pronounced bouquet, often with a Muscat tone.


Macabeo - (a.k.a. Viura) Macabeo in much of its homeland Spain, and Viura in Rioja, where it is by far the most planted white wine grape. It has the unusual virtue of being capable of making dry white wines, often blends, with real nerve and character that improve with age. There are few universal truths about how Macabeo tastes; the wines can be fresh, floral and aromatic when harvested sufficiently early and aged in stainless steel, but weighty, honeyed and nutty when aged in oak and harvested slightly later.

Malbec(a.k.a. Auxerrois) Known for its plump, dark fruit flavors and smoky finish, Malbec wine offers a great alternative to higher priced Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. However, there’s more to Malbec than just value. Learn the secrets of Malbec wine, some great Malbec food pairing tips, and 4 amazing facts that will change the way you think about this ‘lowly’ wine grape. 
Malbec Wine Characteristics
FRUIT: anilla, Dill, Coconut, Chocolate, Mocha
ACID: Medium
TANNIN: Medium

MarsanneMarsanne can produce both dry white wine and sweet white wine. When Marsanne is used to produce sweet wine. When sweet wine is produced, more often than not, it is made using the Vin de Paille method. this labor intensive wine making process is also known as a straw wine. Straw wines take their name due to the process that requires the grapes to be dried on straw mats in the sun, before the extremely concentrated, sweet, raisined juice is pressed and fermented. Marsanne is a food friendly white wine grape. Marsanne pairs best with all types of seafood and shellfish, especially the richer varieties like lobster, crab, shrimp, seabass, clams and mussels. However, Marsanne also pairs perfectly with chicken, veal, pork dishes, spicy flavors and Asian cuisine. Marsanne works well with cream sauces and with a diverse array of cheese, both hard and soft.

Marzemino -  Fresh on the palate with bright red fruit and cherry notes, Marzemino has its home in northern Italy but has travelled as far as New Zealand and Australia. Marzemino has grassy, herbal elements and a sour-cherry tang in its organoleptic makeup, but has a greater balance in terms of acid and sugar levels. Given a sufficiently sunny site (most likely on the southwest-facing slopes of the Adige valley or in the hills around Conegliano), Marzemino can produce refreshing, berry-scented wines.
Outside of Italy, a handful of producers have been producing varietal Marzemino wines, namely in Australia's King Valley, New Zealand's Hawke's Bay and Lodi in California.

Mencía  - (“Men-thee-ah”) is a medium-bodied red wine grape that produces high quality wines with floral and red fruit flavors. If you've never heard of it, it's not surprising, Mencía only grows in Spain and Portugal on the Iberian peninsula. A red variety from the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) that’s quickly developing a following. It’s loved for its heady aromatics and potential to age. Due to it’s acidity and structure (tannin), you’ll want to lean towards richer white meats such as turkey and pork, or peppery meats (pastrami!) to balance intensities.

MerlotMerlot is one of the world's most popular red wines, and America's second favorite after Cabernet Sauvignon. Known for its soft, sensual texture and approachable style, it's made from red-skinned grapes that can adapt to a variety of climates to produce food-friendly wines in many price points. Merlot is loved for it’s boisterous black cherry flavors, supple tannins, and chocolatey finish. On the high end, it’s often mistaken with Cabernet Sauvignon and commonly blended with it.

Mission - (a.k.a. Listan Prieto) Mission grapes are a variety of Vitis vinifera introduced from Spain to the western coasts of North and South America by Catholic New World missionaries for use in making sacramental, table, and fortified wines. With the propensity for producing softly tannic, tart, chillable, low-alcohol wines, it’s easy to see how Mission has become a favorite of the easy-drinking glou-glou set. But the beauty of Mission is that while the light red packs fruit, it also has the savory, spicy traits of bigger reds, making it a do-it-all food wine too.

Montepulciano - (“mon-ta-pull-channo”) is a medium-bodied red wine grape that is supposed to have originated in central Italy. Montepulciano is a red Italian wine grape variety that is most noted for being the primary grape behind the DOCG wines Offida Rosso, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane, Rosso Conero and the DOC wine Rosso Piceno Superiore.  Montepulciano is a classic, Italian wine grape and one of the most wide widely planted grapes in the country. The grape makes deeply red wines and is adaptable to traditional or modern winemaking styles. Montepulciano makes the famous wine Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, the rustic, medium-bodied red wine of central Italy.
Medium-bodied red wines like Montepulciano generally pair with a wide variety of foods due to natural elevated acidity. However, with Montepulciano, the robust herbal and tobacco-like flavors with grippy tannin often call for richer and more savory foods. Montepulciano will cut through some of the meatiest meats (like beef brisket) and pair nicely alongside rich, roasted winter vegetables. If you learn only one tip about pairing with Montepulciano, it is to match it with something with substance (fat).

Morio Muscat - Silvaner x Pinot blanc - Morio Muscat (also known as Morio-Muskat) is a white wine grape that was created by viticulturalist Peter Morio at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding in the Palatinate in 1928. He claimed to have crossed the varieties Silvaner and Pinot Blanc, but based on the variety's properties it has been speculated that he actually crossed Silvaner and Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. But so far this speculation has yet to be conclusively proven. The grape is highly aromatic with a "grapey" characteristic reminiscent of Muscat grape varieties. Morio-Muscat is a speciality with an intense flavour of muscat. The wine’s acidity is smooth and pleasantly mild. Its sweetness is gentle and its content of alcohol is moderate.

Moscato Giallo - (a.k.a. Yellow Muscat) Moscato Giallo is one of the more obscure members of the Muscat family of grapes, found most commonly in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northeastern Italy. It shares the grapey, musky flavor that is characteristic of most Muscat varieties, and is used most commonly to make sweet wines in the air-dried passito style. There is some debate as to the origin of Moscato Giallo. Many wine historians believe that it was brought to northern Italy from the Middle East by the famous Venetian merchants of the Middle Ages. However, a probable close genetic relationship with Moscato Bianco contradicts this theory, and it is now thought that Moscato Giallo is actually native to northeastern Italy. Moscato Giallo does best in hilly, limestone-dominant terroirs, and as such thrives in the Italian Alps. Moscato Giallo's thick skins and high levels of sugar make it a good candidate for air-drying, concentrating the sugars and leading to a lusciously sweet style of wine. These typically display more flavors of baked apples and light citrus than the more-heavily perfumed Moscato Bianco.

Mourvèdre - (a.k.a. Mataró; Monastrell) If you love flavor-packed red wines, it's a sure bet you'll like mourvèdre. This tiny, tannic variety, also sometimes referred to as mataro or monastrell, packs a serious punch. And if you're a frequent full-bodied red blend drinker, then you may have already consumed more of it than you think—it's frequently found in blends alongside grenache and syrah.
What Is Mourvèdre? Mourvèdre is a dark-skinned red grape variety that is grown in many viticultural areas around the world. The grape is commonly used in red blends since it is known for creating tannic wines with high levels of alcohol, though it is also vinified monovarietally. The grape buds and ripens late, and tends to perform best in very hot and dry climates. On the vine, mourvèdre berries are small and compact, and generally grow in cone-shaped clusters.

MüllerThurgau - Riesling x Madeleine Royale - Müller-Thurgau is a white wine grape variety used predominantly in Germany. A crossing of Riesling and Madeleine Royale, it was created in 1882 by Dr. Herman Müller (of Thurgau, Switzerland), after whom it is named.  Müller-Thurgau pairswell with light dishes, vegetable dishes (asparagus), and salads. The weight of the wine, and the Off-Dry nature, also pairs well Spicy Food.

Muscat Canelli - (a.k.a. Muscat blanc; Muscat blanc à Petits Grains) Muscat is often overlooked due to its off-dry nature. We’re here to tell you to forget what you’ve heard. This wine should be your go to for any dinner party, picnic at the park, charcuterie night, or take-out Thai food. Muscat Canelli is perhaps one of the most delicious grapes to snack on in the entire Vitis Vinifera species. The only grape I’ve ever had that tastes exactly as the wine does, floral, and bursting with sweet perfume. This fun little grape is also very ancient, one of the grapes that most others can trace their lineage back to. Muscat is a grape variety with many variants of itself as well. Muscat Canelli in particular is a grape named after the town of Canelli (Città di Canelli) in North-East Italy in the larger winemaking region of Piedmont and this grape also can grow in a cooler region than some of the other Muscats. 


Nebbiolo(“Nebby-oh-low”) Nebbiolo is the name of the red grape variety that is used to produce the great bottlings of Barolo and Barbaresco, both of which are required by law to be crafted entirely from it. If you like your wines big, bold, and red, Nebbiolo needs to be on your radar. Hailing from Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, this grape is known for producing powerful, full-bodied, and mercilessly tannic wines—all while looking as pale as Pinot Noir! Most famously, it’s the grape that goes into Barolo and Barbaresco, two of the world’s most revered (and more expensive) wines. Though as you’ll soon find out, Nebbiolo is also in a number of more affordable, entry-level styles of wine from Italy and beyond.
So, whether it’s your first time trying it or you’re looking for a little more information on a wine that’s got you hooked, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about Nebbiolo. Let’s get started!
1.    Nebbiolo is an old, old grape, first being referenced as far back as the 13th Century!
2.    The name Nebbiolo derives from nebbia, the Italian word for “fog.” This is likely from the white, powder-like natural bloom on the grapes that appears during harvest season. 
3.    Even though Nebbiolo only makes up ~8% of all the grapes grown in Piedmont, more of this grape is grown here than anywhere else in the world.
4.    Despite being an essential part of two of the country’s premier wines, Nebbiolo is rarely grown anywhere else in Italy.
5.    Much like Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo is an incredibly fussy variety to grow. It flowers early, ripens late, and can struggle to ripen fully. 
6.    Also like Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo is considered to be a “terroir-expressive” variety, in that it picks up more of the earth, soil, and climate characteristics.

Nero d’Avola(Nero-dAvola) Nero d’Avola is a renowned red grape from Italy, where it is still grown today in its indigenous region of Sicily.
The grape takes its name from both its color as well as the town of Avola in Sicily. The literal translation of Nero d’Avola is, in fact, “Black of Avola”, which is a reference to the grape's dark-colored skin. As a varietal, the grape is both culturally and historically significant to Sicily, where it has been produced for hundreds of years. Its first documentation actually dates back to the 17th century! Today, it accounts for roughly 16% of all grapes grown in vineyards on Sicily, and it is grown with much success across the entire island, not just its namesake town of Avola. Nero d’Avola is a strong, full-bodied, fruity wine that takes on notes of black cherry, prune, black plum, and licorice. It often exudes an herbal and cherry aroma that matches its fruity nature. Younger d’Avola’s typically have a juicy plum taste. That said, the grape's overall makeup allows the wine to age very well, and most varietal wines are aged in oak barrels. During this process, it is not uncommon for the wine to pick up more complexities, such as raspberry and even chocolate notes, with a much stronger depth of flavor.

Noblessa - Madeleine Angevine (Circe x Madeleine Royale) x Silvaner
A blending variety, Noblessa produces commendable base wine that can be used to improve other wines. It ripens very early, making it an excellent insurance variety in colder vintages. It is capable of reaching high sugar levels but is, unfortunately, a low-yielding vine – an unfortunate trait for a blending variety.


Optima - (Riesling x Silvaner) x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) Optima is a grape variety first bred in Geilweilerhof, Germany, in 1930 and released to the public in 1970. It is an early-ripening variety, well-suited to cooler climates, and the result of a crossing between Müller-Thurgau and another variety produced from a crossing of Riesling and Silvaner. Traditionally used as a blending agent in Rheinhessen and Mosel, Optima can grow on poor sites and still yield grapes with high sugar content and acceptable must weights. It can produce the pear- and lime-blossom aromas of Riesling, although generally lacks the acidity of this more "noble" variety. Its popularity has been steadily declining since the 1990s when the German wine industry shifted its focus to more quality-orientated wine production. 

Oraniensteiner - Riesling x Silvaner - The white grape variety (also Geisenheim 11-34, Hochkroner) is a new breed between Riesling x Silvaner, which was confirmed by DNA analyses published in 2012. However, this is based on only 20 DNA markers (see molecular genetics). It was named after the castle Oranienstein near Diez an der Lahn in Rhineland-Palatinate. By the way, the varieties Multaner, Osteiner and Rieslaner were created with the same parents. The crossing was made in 1985 at the Geisenheim Research Institute in the Rheingau. The vine produces strong white wines with lemon aroma. However, it has not become established in Germany. In 2016 only 2 hectares were recorded in Canada (Kym Anderson).

Orange MuscatOrange Muscat is a white grape variety best known in California, Oregon and Australia. Though not known for sure, the origin of Orange Muscat is thought to lie in Italy or France. Relatively popular at one time, the grape is not widely planted in either country today. In Italy, Orange Muscat is known as Moscato Fior d’Arancio, meaning “Orange Blossom Muscat” in Italian. Its French name, Muscat Fleur d’Orange, has the same meaning. As its name may hint, Orange Muscat has a distinctive and strong aroma of orange. Its powerful aromatics also include orange blossom, apricot, pear and spicy fruit. It also shares some characteristics typical of the Muscat family of grapes, including a relatively lush mouthfeel. It is produced in dry, off-dry and fully sweet styles.

Ortega – Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) x Siegerrebe (Madeleine Angevine [Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre] x Gewürztraminer) Ortega is a German grape variety developed in 1948 by crossing Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe. It has now spread from its homeland in the Pfalz and Mosel regions to other cool-climate winegrowing areas: namely England and western Canada, particularly Vancouver Island and Okanagan Valley. It is used in both varietal and blended wines and shares organoleptic similarities with Muscat, displaying grapey aromas and overt floral scents allied with a generally low level of acidity. What Ortega lacks in acidity it makes up for in sugar levels, thus making it a good choice for cool-climate regions. 


ParelladaParellada is one of the three principal grape varieties used to make Spain's most famous sparkling wine, Cava. The variety is native to the hills of Catalonia, and is grown almost nowhere else – of Spain's 20,000 acres of Parellada vines, just 5 percent are located outside Catalonia. To the classic Cava blend, Parellada brings aromas of blossom and green apple to the wine. Parellada performs best at higher altitudes, where the growing season is both cooler and longer than in lower-lying areas. The fresher temperatures help to retain the acidity so vital in sparkling wine production, while the longer growing season allows time for full aromatic development. A tiny amount of Parellada is used to make still wines. 

Perle - Gewürztraminer x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) The variety was crossed in 1927 at the Bavarian State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture. It is primarily grown in Franken, Germany, where its late budding is an advantage in the vineyard against spring frosts. However, plantings remain low. It accounts for only 27 hectares (67 acres) across Germany with around 15 hectares (27 acres) of that in Bavaria. Perle is less aromatic than Gewürztraminer and vulnerable to rot, meaning that other, more generous varieties are more attractive to commercial growers. That said, Perle can produce light and attractive floral wines, although these often lack acidity.

Food pairings include:
•    Roast pork and sauerkraut
•    Bacon and egg pie
•    Red prawn curry

Petit VerdotPetit Verdot is a variety of red wine grape used in classic Bordeaux blends. It ripens much later than the other varieties in Bordeaux, often too late, so it fell out of favor in its home region. When it does ripen it adds tannin, color and flavor, in small amounts, to the blend.  Petit Verdot is a red grape that was traditionally reserved as a minor blending grape in the world-famous Bordeaux wine blend. However, as the grape has spread to warmer climates, winemakers have realized that Petit Verdot can make intensely bold, fruity-yet-floral, red wines that can and do easily stand on their own. Petit Verdot is a late-ripening grape, and this might be the primary reason why it never really had any sort of resurgence until recently. In France, where it originates, the seasons were too short to fully ripen the tannins found in the seeds and skins. This would lead to a wine with bitter-tasting or “green” flavors and winemakers chose to use it in very small amounts to add color to wines. Most red blends from Bordeaux only use about 1–2% Petit Verdot, if at all. However, as the popularity of the Bordeaux blend spread around the world to places like Spain, California, and Australia, the grape behaved differently! In cooler climates like in France, Petit Verdot usually offers flavors of dried herbs and tart blueberry or unripe blackberry. In warmer climates like in California, Petit Verdot will often have flavors of blueberry sauce, jamminess.

Petite Sirah - Syrah x Peloursin Petite Sirah (“Peh-teet sear-ah”) (aka Durif or Petite Syrah) This wine has a full body and a mouthfeel that is often described as chewy and intense. Petite Sirah offers up flavor notes rich in plums and smoky, dark-berried fruits. It also releases a heady mix of spices, dark chocolate, caramel, licorice and coffee. Petite Sirah was first found growing in France in the mid-1800’s. It’s loved for its extraordinary deep color and full-bodied flavors of blueberry, chocolate, plums and black pepper. Despite its popularity, Petite Sirah is an exceptionally rare grape with less than 10,000 planted acres worldwide, growing mainly in California. Petite Sirah is not just a more “petite” version of Syrah (or Shiraz), it’s a distinct grape variety.

Phoenix –  Phoenix is a white variety of grape of German origin used for wine. It was created at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding in Siebeldingen in 1964, by crossing the Vitis vinifera variety Bacchus with the hybrid grape Villard Blanc.  Originally cultivated for winemaking, this variety is also perfectly suited for producing table grapes. "Phoenix" is a robust and vigorous variety for sunny southeast to west facing walls. Produces an excellent yield every year. Beautiful yellow foliage in autumn.  Phoenix is a white variety of grape of German origin used for wine. 

Pinot blanc (a.k.a. Weissburgunder; Klevner) Pinot Blanc is a versatile white-wine grape variety used in the production of still, sparkling and sweet dessert wines. It is well-traveled, producing delicate white wines in Italy and Alsace to luxurious Trockenbeerenauslese in Austria and ice-wine in Canada.  Although not the most glamorous member of the Pinot family, the variety has proven its worth in various regions, most notably Alsace in northeast France and the Alto Adige region of Italy.
The variety is often compared to Chardonnay as it has a similar medium to full-bodied style of wine with good acidity, and favors oak maturation. Pinot Blanc's characteristics include apple and almond, and sometimes a touch of smokiness, although – like Chardonnay – it is a palette for winemaker intervention, and flavors often depend on style. On the palate they show a range of apple flavors, usually flowery and creamy with light mineral characteristics, however, muted by the oak treatment favored in the region. 

Food pairings
•    Quiche Lorraine
•    Pad Thai noodles
•    Grilled chicken with garlic and tahini sauce

Pinot gris - (a.k.a. Pinot grigio; Grauburgunder; Ruländer)  The Pinot Gris also known as the Pinot Grigio in Italy is an ancient variety grown virtually all over the world. The white to orange colored wine's taste varies greatly, depending on the area grown. Generally, its flavor is a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness with a delicate floral tone and a hinting aroma of pear and apple. The light bodied wine is spritzy and peppery.  Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot Noir variety, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name, but the grapes can have a brownish pink to black and even white appearance. The word pinot could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pinecone-shaped clusters. 
The Alsatian style, often duplicated in New World wine regions such as Marlborough, Tasmania, South Australia, Washington, Oregon, and South Africa tend to have moderate to low acidity, higher alcohol levels and an almost "oily" texture that contributes to the full-bodied nature of the wine. The flavors can range from ripe tropical fruit notes of melon and mango to some botrytis-influenced flavors. 

Pinot Meunier - (a.k.a. Schwarzriesling) Pinot Meunier (a.k.a. Schwarzriesling) Pinot Meunier is a dark-berried grape variety, most famously used in the Champagne blend. Less highly acclaimed than its partners Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier is something of a quiet workhorse in Champagne. The word Meunier is French for "miller” and refers here to the "floury" appearance of the underside of the vines' leaves. Pinot Meunier tends to be planted in areas too cold for the other two. It is widely used as an insurance grape against poor vintages as it buds later, ripens earlier and is more accepting of cooler climates. In Germany, it is grown under its synonyms Schwarzriesling, Müllerrebe and Müller-Traube. Here, red and rosé wines made from the variety are a bit more common. The Carneros AVA is the Californian center for Pinot Meunier, although it can also be found in multiple other AVAs throughout California and other states.

Pinot noir - (a.k.a. Spätburgunder; Blauburgunder) Pinot noir (a.k.a. Spätburgunder; Blauburgunder) Pinot Noir grapes are one of the most ancient varieties of domesticated Vitis vinifera, the vine that makes the world’s most famous wine grapes. Its first known mention of this red wine grape spelled as Pinot (Pineau was another common spelling) in literature dates back to a Burgundian text from 1375. This famous red wine grape previously was called Morillon, Noirien and Auvernat, and there’s a written reference to “Moreillon” that dates back to 1283.
The origin of Pinot Noir’s name also remains a mystery. It may have come from the shape of its grape clusters, which vaguely resemble a pinecone. The French call a pinecone an “apple of the pine”, or pomme de pin. The name could also come from a town or area where the grape used to grow. For example, in the center of France, there is a town called Pignols – referring to pine nuts – and the Pinot Noir grape has been grown there since the Middle Ages. Maybe one day we’ll know the true story. Cistercian monks perfected the growing of the Pinot Noir grape variety in the Middle Ages after becoming fascinated by its ability to very clearly transmit terroir.

A message about clones: don’t panic! A clone does not mean a grape vine comes from genetically modified material or that it has morphed into something harmful. The English word clone is based on a Greek word for twig and refers to the practice of generating a new plant, genetically identical to its parent, by taking and propagating a cutting. Unlike many agricultural crops, vines self-pollinate. The diverse range of Pinot Noir clones available adds to the complexity of the Pinot red wine variety. Moreover, sometimes the clones are vinified and bottled separately; sometimes different clones are blended! Pinot Noir - Treasure Island Wines a wine review.
Pinot Noir is such a dynamic grape that it demands attention from vine to glass. Though it isn’t easy to grow, it responds graciously to tender loving care. 

Pinotage - Pinot noir x Cinsaut Pinotage - Pinot noir x Cinsaut  The name Pinotage is a little bit misleading because it sounds so much like Pinot Noir. It is easy to assume they taste alike. Not true. In fact, the South African grape looks and tastes more like Shiraz even though Pinotage is technically related to Pinot Noir. So why haven’t we heard more about this deliciously dark grape? Pinotage has struggled with a very bad reputation for the last 20 years… fortunately, things are changing!
If you love a bold barbecue-friendly wine, Pinotage wine is definitely worth investigating.
Pinotage is a grape crossing of Cinsaut and Pinot Noir. It was first crossed in South Africa in 1925 in the gardens of scientist Abraham Perold. Perold observed how Pinot Noir struggled in South Africa’s climate, so he crossed them with a very productive species: Cinsaut (called Hermitage). Perold’s goal was to create a wine that was as delicious as Pinot Noir but grew as well as Cinsaut.  The result of the crossing between Cinsaut and Pinot Noir was unexpected. The Pinotage grapes were extremely dark in color and the wine they created was bold and high in tannin . Since Pinotage is such a productive wine grape, producers often made very low-quality commercial wine with it. It didn’t help that Pinotage was such an inky grape, making it possible for wineries to stretch their wine as thin as possible. What the winemakers didn’t realize back in the 1980’s and 1990’s was that Pinotage is a tricky wine to make well. Fortunately, in the last 15 years, several producers have banded together and focused on reducing the crop yields and used careful winemaking techniques to manage this unique grape.  

Piquepoul - (a.k.a. Picpoul blanc) Piquepoul (a.k.a. Picpoul blanc) Picpoul Blanc is a white grape that is one of the oldest domestic grape varieties in the Languedoc. It is used primarily as a blending grape, but it is also made into a single varietal wine. Though its origins are in southern France in the Languedoc and southern Rhône Valley regions, specifically found in Picpoul de Pinet AOC, Picpoul is also grown in Catalonia in Spain, has some plantings in Portugal, and has found a home in the New World in various regions across the U.S. and Australia, including Texas Hill Country, Arizona, Washington State, and California. 

Picpoul translates to “lip stinger,” as it is known for its acidity in the glass. It can be added to a blend to increase acidity, or it can be made into a single varietal wine. Traditional notes on the palate for Picpoul wines include citrus and herbal flavors and strong minerality. The wines produced from this grape in California show more tropical flavors and a richer style with pear, pineapple, and spice. In France, most Picpoul wines are meant to be consumed young, however, in California, the richer style wines can age, developing higher levels of flavor. 

Primitivo - (a.k.a. Zinfandel) Primitivo from Italy is made into full-bodied, moderately tannic red wines that are meant to be drunk within three to four years of the harvest. There are also some sweet dessert wines produced from this grape as well. Sometimes Primitivo is blended with other southern Italian grape varieties, but since zinfandel was discovered, varietal wines have become more popular. Higher quality wines may be made from the grapes of old or ancient vines and these older vines are found in Lodi, Ca or in Amador or Calaveras Counties. 
The main characteristics of Primitivo wines are:
•    Fruit-driven, with notes of cherry, strawberry, blackberry, and raisin
•    Earthy and rustic
•    High in alcohol
•    Sometimes sweet

While Primitivo is only grown in Italy, the same grape, called zinfandel, has made a name for itself in the New World. Zinfandel, grown primarily in the California regions of Lodi, the Napa Valley, and the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, and in parts of New York state, is usually a lighter bodied wine than dense Primitivo. 

Primitivo’s ripe fruit and full body make it a great partner with rich, meaty dishes. Try it with:
•    Braised lamb or goat
•    Grilled steak with balsamic glaze
•    Blood sausage
•    Eggplant parmesan

Prinzipal – Geisenheim 323-58 (Siebel 7053 x Riesling) x Ehrenfelser (Riesling x Silvaner) 


Räuschling -  Räuschling is an obscure green-skinned grape variety found mainly in the north of Switzerland (particularly Schaffhausen and Zurich) and occasionally further north in the Baden region of southern Germany. Räuschling is used both for blending and to make fresh, simple, varietal wines, both sparkling and still. Räuschling wines are light with citrus notes and a prominent acidity that are best consumed young.  One of many varieties related to the ancient Gouais Blanc (the matriarch of the Pinot family), Räuschling is technically a cousin to Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all of which are common in the regions in which Räuschling is grown. 

Regent - (Silvaner x Müller-Thurgau) Regent is a dark-skinned hybrid variety developed in Germany . The variety was created in 1967 in Pfalz, with the intention of finding a high-quality grape that could survive in cold climates. Regent produces good yields and is highly resistant to mildew diseases, the variety also has thick skins and an abundance of tannins. Regent wines are slowly starting to appear in the market in varietal form, emerging from its supporting role for other, better-known varieties. The variety is heralded as being one of the best hybrids for vinification, giving wines that are full bodied and densely colored with soft tannins and an abundance of red fruit flavors.

Food pairings:
•    Beef Wellington
•    Braised lamb shanks
•    Vegetarian chili

Ribolla Gialla  - (ree-bohl-lah jahl-lah) An ancient white variety from northern Italy, bordering Slovenia. Rarely seen elsewhere, wines are typically light in body and offer fruity, floral aromas, as well as bright acidity. Ribolla Gialla
•    Baked Apple
•    Tangerine
•    Citrus
•    Beeswax

Rieslaner - (Silvaner x Riesling) Rieslaner is a breed cross of the Silvaner and Riesling grape that was first bred in Veitshöcheim, Franconia, Germany in 1921 by the grape breeder August Ziegler. It is a late ripening grape that is fairly high in acidity. Rieslaner is somewhat of a difficult character in the vineyard – it requires the best sites as it is notoriously reluctant to ripen fully. It has low yields and can have some issues with berry growth, particularly on exposed sites. However, if it is brought to its full potential in the vineyard, it makes very good wines with a balance of sweetness and acidity, showing off strong flavors of berries and currants. While the variety is not nearly as famous as either of its parents it is still regarded as a top quality grape and its wines fetch some high prices. Despite this, its presence in the German vineyard is in decline.

RieslingRiesling is a white wine grape that can produce wines in different styles, from dry to sweet and from light to medium-bodied. It is a highly aromatic variety that often has flavors of citrus, pineapple, stone fruit, and floral notes. Some rieslings may also have a distinctive petrol-like aroma. Riesling is native to Germany and grows along the Rhine River, but it is also found in other regions like Alsace, Australia, and the United States. Riesling wines pair well with spicy food, pork, bacon, and shellfish. Riesling has a tall, slender bottle shape that is easy to recognize.

Rondo – Zarya Severa (Vitis amurensis x Malingre Précoce) x St. Laurent - Also known by the name Geisenheim. Rondo is a dark-skinned grape variety, used for making red wine. It is a hybrid grape created in 1964 by Professor Vilém Kraus in then-Czechoslovakia by crossing the varieties Zarya Severa (a hybrid) and St. Laurent. 
This very early maturing variety possesses high resistance against winter frost and downy mildew. Rondo produces a ruby-red wine which is also used for blending. Rondo is cultivated in many locations in northern Europe where dark-skinned Vitis vinifera varieties are difficult to ripen properly, as it tends to yield good color and aroma even in those locations. Rondo is also found in parts of California’s Central Valley.

Rotberger - Trollinger x Riesling Rotberger is a German red wine grape, It is a crossing of Riesling and Trollinger and is a sibling of the more popular variety Kerner.
The Rotberger variety was bred in the late 1920s by Heinrich Birk, a noted vine breeder of the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute (where he later became both an honorary professor and director). Birk specialized in Riesling, seeking to create earlier-ripening clones of the variety, but also worked on various dark-skinned clones.
Rotberger produces some interesting, light-bodied wines, with bright, lively aromas of red berries. Rotberger shares many character traits with its parent Trollinger, notably the rich fragrance it brings to wines. The grapes are resistance to frost and prove useful trait when grown in cool-climate zones. Rotberger can reach full ripeness even in cool climates.

Food pairings include:
•    Cold roast pork with chutney
•    Lamb burgers with spicy tomato sauce
•    Barbecued eggplant with paprika rub

Roter Traminer - (a.k.a. Savagnin Rose) Supposedly selected from wild vines, Traminer is one of the oldest European grape varieties and is presumed to have been cultivated by the Romans as Vitis aminera. The variety is differentiated by the colors of its berries. Roter Traminer is red, Gewürztraminer is light red/pink, Gelber Traminer is yellow. The grapes also deliver different nuances of spiciness (“Gewürz” in German) influenced by the wine's own terroir. Although grown worldwide, the variety is mainly cultivated in Austria on small vineyards for the production of various specialties. The wines are low in acidity yet rich in extract and aromas (roses, citrus, wild strawberry, raisin and dried fruit). They keep well and have an excellent ageing potential. 

Roter Veltliner - (a.k.a. Roter Muskateller) Roter Veltliner is an old Austrian grape that produces bright white wines with good acidity and exotic fruit notes. Although the name suggests otherwise—roter translates as red—the grape produces white wines, and its name was probably inspired by the pinkish color of their skin. Most plantings are found in Lower Austria. Roter Veltliner is a demanding, late-ripening grape that can produce lighter, medium-bodied wines, but it also has potential for full-bodied, rich, aromatic styles.
The best examples will have stone fruit and citrus notes, with hints of tropical fruit and spice. Ripe wines will have good aging potential, and with age, they tend to develop nutty, almond-like notes. These wines would pair well with fish, including raw fish dishes, charcuterie, and simple pasta dishes. They can also be a good match with spicy Asian dishes.

Rotgipfler - Rotgipfler is a grape variety used to make aromatic white wine. It is almost exclusively found in the Gumpoldskirchen district of the Thermenregion in Austria. It is often blended with Zierfandler (which is also known as Spätrot) to make Spätrot-Rotgipfler. It is also increasingly used for quality wines. 

Food pairings:
Mushrooms in white sauce with dampfnudel (flour dumplings)
•    Ipoh-style roast chicken with aromatic rice (nasi ayam)
•    White asparagus risotto

RoussanneRoussanne is a white-wine grape named after its skin color (when ripe), a reddish-gold pigment that equates to the French word roux (meaning "russet", or reddish-brown). The variety is thought to have originated in the northern Rhône Valley, where the majority of modern day plantings are found. With its traditional blending partner, Marsanne, Roussanne is a key ingredient in the white wine blends of the northern Rhône, notably Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph, and in the sparkling wines of Saint-Péray. Further south in the Rhône Valley, it is used in small quantities in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it is one of the varieties permitted for use in both red and white wines.
In Italy, Roussanne is sometimes used to make Montecarlo Bianco, but rarely appears elsewhere in the country.
In its native France, Roussanne is most commonly found in the south, where it benefits from the warm temperatures and long sunlight hours it needs to achieve full maturity. In cooler climates, the variety can struggle to ripen and has a reputation for being a difficult variety to grow.
It is also susceptible to rot, powdery mildew and wind damage. Fortunately, Roussanne is a much more forgiving variety in the winery where it can be blended and manipulated into complex and prestigious wines. Château Beaucastel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes is perhaps the most notable 100-percent Roussanne wine, although California cult producer, Sine Qua Non, produces the world's most expensive Roussanne wines from its Central Coast base.

The history of Roussanne in California is an interesting one. Until 1998, wines labeled as Roussanne were, as it transpired, Viognier. This was not an intentionally misleading practice, but the result of confusion around the variety of cuttings taken from the Rhône Valley.
DNA testing finally revealed the true identity of Viognier, but the example highlights the similarity between the two grapes. Both have a rich, often oily, texture and can display spiced, apricot flavors. Roussanne on its own is characterized by herbal, tea-like, aromas. On the palate, it typically shows pears and honey with notable intensity.


Sangiovese - (san-jow-vay-zuh) Sangiovese is a red Italian wine grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, "the blood of Jupiter". Though it is the grape of most of central Italy outside of Italy it is most famous as the main component of the blends Chianti, Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano, although it can also be used to make varietal wines. Sangiovese was already well known by the 16th century. At least fourteen Sangiovese clones exist, of which Brunello is one of the best regarded. Young Sangiovese has fresh fruity flavors of strawberry and some spiciness, but it readily takes on oaky flavors when aged in oak. While not as aromatic as other red wine varieties such as Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah, Sangiovese often has a flavor profile of sour red cherries with earthy aromas and tea leaf notes. Wines made from Sangiovese usually have medium-plus tannins along with high acidity. 

Sauvignon blanc - (a.k.a. Sauvignon; Fumé blanc) Zesty, fragrant sauvignon blanc is probably the most popular white wine variety in the world right now. But while tropical-fruit tinged New Zealand sauvignon style graces every wine list in the country, it's worth discovering that there's much more to this aromatic grape variety than Marlborough.
In general, sauvignon blanc is used to make dry wines, distinctive for their fresh acidity and beautiful perfume. In cooler climates the wines often have bright citrus and mineral notes combined with a green nettle character (Loire and Bordeaux). Oak ageing, lees stirring and malolactic fermentation (a chemical process which changes acidic malic acid into soft creamy lactic acid) can also produce sauvignons that are rounded rich and full and when blended with semillon, can be used to create the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac. You'll find those distinctive ripe, exotic fruit and gooseberry flavours in warmer, New World climates (Chile, New Zealand and Australia).

In its homeland of the Loire Valley, France, sauvignon blanc showcases its aromatic character and refreshing acidity at its best in the form of pure, zesty wines.
The other key region in France for top-quality sauvignon blanc is Bordeaux. It is here that the variety finds itself in bed with its most frequent blending partner, semillon, creating arguably the world's finest sweet wines in the form of Sauternes and Barsac, along with good quantities of dry, fresh, white wines.

Sauvignon Musqué - (a.k.a. Sauvignon blanc) Riesling x unknown Sauvignon Musqué (a.k.a. Sauvignon blanc) In 1999, Carole Meredith conducted testing on sauvignon musqué and confirmed it is indeed the variety sauvignon blanc.  Thus, sauvignon musqué is now widely accepted empirically to be an aromatic clone (clone 27) of sauvignon blanc. In California, it’s a very desirable clone and today is often blended into the top sauvignon blanc wines.
Sauvignon blanc was first planted in California in the Livermore Valley in the 19th century thanks to newspaper-journalist-turned-winemaker Charles Wetmore who, in the late 1870s, persuaded the California legislature to establish the state viticultural commission. As the commission’s first president and CEO, Wetmore headed straight for the prestigious estates of Europe where he obtained cuttings, including cuttings of sauvignon blanc and sémillon from no less than Bordeaux’s Château d’Yquem.

Scheurebe - (shoi-ray-ba) Sheurebe - Riesling x unknown don’t let the name turn you off. This white wine is incredible sensuous and can function a lot like its close and much more famous sibling, Riesling. Here is something you should know as Scheurebe (shoi-ray-ba) as soon as the bottle is opened and before the wine even hits the glass there is powerful fragrance that this wine is known especially in northern Europe for its intoxicating scent. In the vineyard Scheurebe is high yielding with slightly less acidity than Riesling. The best wines come from vines that have reached full maturity, as Scheurebe picked early can be quite unpleasant.
It is an aromatic variety with good aging potential, and can make very luscious sweet wine, including Eiswein.

Schönburger - Pinot noir x (Chasselas x Muscat Hamburg)  Schönburger is a grape variety of German origin that is now found most notably in the wines of southern England. It is a crossing of Pinot Noir and Pirovano. Since then, it has been producing light, grapey wines with delicate floral aromas with a touch of residual sweetness.
The pink-skinned grape was, like many German crossings, created to provide winemakers with a disease-resistant, cold-hardy variety that would prosper in Germany's cold climate. The result, Schönburger, is a thick-skinned variety with relatively low acidity – qualities that are a virtue in cooler climates like England and some  Schönburger can be found in California’s Central  valley i.e., Lodi, CA.

Sémillon - Sémillon wine is loved for its full body, like Chardonnay, but with flavors closer to Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. It’s an important blending component in White Bordeaux and is also planted throughout Australia. In the US, Sémillon wines are usually a great price for their quality. Despite how cheap it is, Sémillon has the pedigree to be alongside the most popular white wines in the world. Find out all about Sémillon wine; how way it tastes, where it grows and what you’ll enjoy eating with it. The primary fruit flavors in Sémillon wine are lemon, apple, pear and green papaya. There’s something very waxy about the taste of Sémillon which wine writers often describe as lanolin. Depending on where Sémillon is grown it can range from being a zesty, palate-cleansing wine like Sauvignon Blanc to a rich, creamy, lemon-flavored wine like oaked Chardonnay.
Hot Climate Sémillon More ripe fruits, including mango, yellow peach and papaya, can be found in warm climate Sémillon. It’s not uncommon to find wines from these regions using moderate oak-aging to add buttery notes to the flavor. Warm climate regions include California, South Africa, Argentina and South Australia. Wines will have slightly higher alcohol around 12-14% ABV.
Cool Climate Sémillon When winemakers pick Sémillon less ripe, the wines have a lot more acidity and often resemble their popular cousin, Sauvignon Blanc. Citrus flavors of lemon, lime zest and grapefruit are accentuated in this style when winemakers don’t oak-age their Sémillon. A cooler climate Sémillon will also have more flower aromas. Cooler climate style Sémillon wines include Bordeaux, Hunter Valley Australia (a unique microclimate!), Western Australia and Washington State. In these areas, wines will have about 10-12% ABV
Food Pairing: Think spiced. Because Sémillon wine has a moderate body, with a fresh zippy flavor, it holds up to bolder aromatic dishes. Try Indian & Asian spices, even brown woodsy spices like cinnamon and star anise.  This White Bordeaux has a reputation as a sushi lover’s wine. No doubt this reputation is due to how Sémillon balances raw fish and pickled ginger. A classic dish with Sémillon dessert wines (like Sauternes) is Foie Gras. Also try sipping along with dark chocolate with salted caramel .

Siegerrebe - Madeleine Angevine (Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre) x Gewürztraminer  Madeleine Angevine (Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre) x Gewürztraminer - Siegerrebe is a pink/red-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wines, often with extraordinary must weights. Literally translated from its native German, Siegerrebe means "champion vine" or "victory vine". The name is a reference to Siegerrebe's ability to produce record-breaking yields, though the resulting wines are generally better suited to the record books than the dinner table.
The variety was created in Rheinhessen in 1929 from a crossing of Gewürztraminer and Madeleine Angevine. It was not officially released until 1958 and was almost immediately used to beef up Rieslings from poor vineyards.
Since the start of the new millennium, Siegerrebe cultivation has fallen in Germany and the variety is now largely confined to Canada and England. The variety is typically produced as an off-dry to lusciously sweet wine, though its lack of acidity means it seldom achieves greatness.

Food pairing: 
Honey-glazed ham
Lightly spiced coconut curry

Silvaner -(a.k.a. Sylvaner)Madeleine Angevine (Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre) x Gewürztraminer - Silvaner is an underrated, neutral-scented, white-wine grape used widely in western Germany, and just across the Rhine in Alsace where it is spelled Sylvaner. Tiny quantities can also be found in Alto Adige, northern Italy, where it is a specialty of the Isarco Valley. 
One of the world's less-revered wine grapes as its reputation falls far behind that of other Germanic varieties such as Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, Silvaner is something of a quiet achiever. It has its devotees in various countries outside of Germany including Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, Austria, and the United States.  
In 2018, Silvaner vines covered a mere 4.6 percent of vineyards in Germany, ranking it in the top five of the country's white-wine varieties. However, Riesling outnumbers Sylvaner and remains unchallenged as Germany's icon wine grape. 

While Silvaner lacks Riesling's aromatic intensity and bracing acidity once vinified, the variety offers several advantages while still in the vineyard. Silvaner vines ripen earlier than Riesling, reducing the risk of the grapes being damaged by early frosts. The grape is also less fussy about vineyard site selection, and will prosper in many environments where Riesling would fail to perform. All of this explains why Silvaner is more popular among winegrowers than wine consumers, and how it became Germany's most widely planted wine grape in the early 20th Century.

Some of the world's finest Silvaner wines come from Germany's Franken region. Franken is the only Germany wine region where Riesling does not figure among the varieties of attention. The clay-limestone soils here give its Silvaner wines substantial structure and body, while the cool climate helps prevent acidity levels from dropping too low.
It has been grown for many years at Rancho Sisquoc Winery in the Santa Maria Valley and some in Lodi of California. Otherwise, Sylvaner has more or less disappeared from California, where it was known as Sylvaner Riesling, Franken Riesling, Monterey Riesling, and Sonoma Riesling. Sylvaner is also a great pairing wine for picnic fare. It pairs well with antipasto, cheese and olives, among many other foods. It also pairs well with meatier seafood like swordfish and scallops.
Silvaner is a dry, earthy, mineral-like and full-bodied white wine with some citrus notes.

Here are a few pairing ideas for best food with Silvaner:
•    Pizza with anchovies
•    Shrimp
•    Alsatian onion tart
•    Grilled asparagus with poached egg
•    Seafood chowder

Sirius - Bacchus ([Silvaner x Riesling] x Müller-Thurgau [Riesling x Madeleine Royale]) x Seyve Villard 12-375 (SEAR-ee-us) The Sirius grape is a hybrid variety, and it  is a white grape with small berries that is well resistant to mildew. The Sirius delivers a delicious aromatic wine with a mouthful aftertaste.

SouzãoSouzão (or Sousão or Vinhão) is Portuguese wine grape that is used in the production of port wine. While originating in the Minho regions, it is used primarily in Australia, California and South Africa. In Portugal, it is also an authorized planting in the Douro, and Dão-Lafões area (Vinho do Dão). The grape is known for the deep color it produces in a wine as well as its coarse and raisiny taste. In Australia Souzao is used to make port style wines and also table wines, often blended with other Portuguese grape varieties. Unlike most red grapes, where practically all the colour comes from the skins, Vinhão also has red flesh and therefore instant red juice, which then darkens further once the blue-black skins have time to macerate. This is an especial advantage in the case of port production, where colour needs to be extracted very quickly. In the Douro Valley it goes by the name of Souzão, and it is currently being quite widely replanted. Vinhão originated in the Vinho Verde/Minho region, and only later migrated to the Douro. Not being entirely a teinturier grape variety, due to the intense concentration of colouring matter in the skin and to the slightly coloured pulp, it is the Portuguese grape variety with greater coloring capacity.

St. Laurent -  is an aromatic black grape variety planted throughout parts of central Europe. It is most commonly found in Austria's key red-wine regions Niederösterreich and Burgenland. It is also the most widely planted red variety in the Czech Republic and is gaining popularity in Germany and other cooler winegrowing nations. Sankt Laurent (St. Laurent) wines tend to be dark purple in color, structured yet silky with a characteristic dark-cherry flavor (similar to Pinot Noir). Blackberries, smoke and spice are also commonly exhibited. The wines are often matured in oak and show good aging ability. Thanks to the success of the variety for producers in Germany's Pfalz region and parts of Austria in terms of wine quality and financial return, Sankt Laurent's reputation is on the rise, as are plantings. While it remains a fairly obscure variety, producers in cooler winegrowing regions in the New World are also beginning to experiment.

Sankt Laurent has long been thought to be related to Pinot Noir, but this finding remains unsubstantiated and debate continues on whether there is a relationship. It is certain, however, that Sankt Laurent is a parent of Zweigelt (the other parent is Blaufränkisch).

Food pairings:

Rheinischer Sauerbraten (baked pickled beef marinated with juniper berries, cloves and nutmeg)
Blackened pork with apple sauce
Barbecued beef ribs with caramelized onions

Saint-MacaireSaint-Macaire is a dark-skinned wine-grape variety once common in France's Sud-Ouest (South-West) region but now rarely seen. It is named after the town of Saint-Macaire (appellation Cotes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire), located on a bend in the Garonne river about 25 miles (40km) south of Bordeaux.
Despite its relative obscurity, Saint-Macaire was included on the list of sanctioned varieties when the official Meritage blend was first drawn up in the 1980s in California. It has also made its way to New South Wales, Australia. There, 10,500 miles (17,000 kilometers) from its homeland, it is made into an oak-aged varietal wine by Calabria Family Wines (formerly Westend Estate) of Griffith, Riverina.

Saint-Macaire is a super-obscure red grape, believed to have originated somewhere in the area around Bordeaux. It was once-upon-a-time grown in small amounts on Bordeaux’s Right Bank and known for producing soft, fruity wines with a good snap of acidity and a deep red color. However, the grape was not widely re-planted in Bordeaux in the years following phylloxera and eventually, it was nearly forgotten. Official statistics tell us that these days, only about 1 hectare of Saint-Macaire remains planted in all of France. It is not approved for use in any of the modern AOCs of Bordeaux—including its namesake, the Côtes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire AOC—but it may end up in the wines of the Atlantique IGP or a Vin de France. Outside of France, there are a few estates in California that grow Saint-Macaire—these include O’Shaunessy Estate Winery in Napa’s Howell Mountain AVA and Sonoma’s Hanna Winery. Due to its historic stature as a lost grape of Bordeaux, Saint-Macaire is included in the list of grapes approved to be used in Meritage—as defined by the Meritage Alliance—and once in a great while, I’ll find it listed on a Meritage label.

The few tasting notes of Saint-Macaire wines that exist refer to a "mouth-puckering palate" with notes of blackberries and plums and pronounced tannins.

Food pairings:
•    Roast lamb with sage, rosemary and thyme
•    Vintage cheeses 
•    Porterhouse steak with mushroom sauce

Sultana - (a.k.a. Thompson Seedless) Sultana is one of the world's most planted light-skinned grape varieties. The vast majority of Sultana vineyards are for table grape or dried grape production, the number of wines produced from this Vitis Vinifera seedless grape variety is very small. White wines made from Sultana are usually characterized as being rather sweet and lacking in complexity in comparison to more noble varieties. The best examples have aromas of tropical fruits and is fresh and simple on the palate with a rounded finish.  In the USA and Australia the grape variety is known as Thomson Seedless. As in many other countries, the term "sultana" or its derivatives gets applied to raisin fruit from other seedless varieties. In California there were 126,000 acres (51,000ha) of vines recorded in 2019, making it the most planted grape variety, though almost all production here is for raisins. In both the above countries the Sultana grape / Thomson Seedless has only been used for wine in times of shortages of other white wine grape varieties. In fact in a major fraud uncovered in 2003 by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation it was discovered that the grape juice was being sold as Chardonnay. In the USA it has been used as the base of generic blends known as "chablis".

In California, the variety is used as a workhorse. Thomson Seedless grown in non-organic vineyards, have often been treated with the plant growth hormone gibberellin. Gibberellins are released naturally by grape seeds in other varieties and works to increase the flesh to skin and seed ratio to create higher volumes of grape juice. 
Sultaniye is the name given to the grape in Turkey. Here, it is also used for table grapes, dried grapes and wine. Varietal Sultaniye is common, as well as blends of the variety with Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon, but only a minority of Sultaniye is dedicated to wine. Sultaniye is mainly grown at Denizli and Manisa in the Aegean region of the country as well as the Marmara region to the north. Sultana is also grown in nearby Armenia, Cyprus and Greece. The grape variety takes its name from the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. It has been grown in countless locations around the world, under a range of names, and its origins are obscure, with suggestions including Turkey (at least in part due to the name), Greece, Iran and even South Africa. In Afghanistan, where the variety is known as Kishmish ("grape for drying" in the Pashtun language), red and black color mutations have been found, which suggests a long history in the region.

The Sultana grapevine is very vigorous but shows poor fertility in anything other than its preferred warm mesoclimates. It is prone to most fungal diseases, especially when grown in cooler, wetter parts of Western Europe but grows abundantly in the Central Valley of California. 

Food pairings for Sultana wines include:
•    Crispy chicken thighs with slaw
•    Hard, cow's milk cheeses
•    Garden salad with vinaigrette

Additional thoughts on the grape-
•    The Sultana grape is most often used as a grape to make raisins and used as sweet snacks, in baking, cakes and desserts and also as a decorative element in several dishes.
•    A commonly used dry fruits in food items and desserts of the Middle East, near east, including Central Asia, India and some even in Europe.
•    The Sultana grape is also, but in very limited amounts, used as a winemaking grape in Turkey, where its wines are called the Sultaniye wine.
•    These wines are mostly dry and semi-light and light bodied, meaning they are mildly sweet with some nice fragrances to it, making these a good locally consumed wine.
•    The grape is historically old, although its exact dating cannot be yet established. 

Symphony - Muscat of Alexandria x Grenache gris - Symphony is mostly used in white-wine blends, where it contributes to the aromatic profile of the final product. A few varietal examples of Symphony are made in California, typically produced as off-dry or late-harvest with aromas of honeysuckle and gardenias. It is a wine best consumed young and fresh. Symphony is a Californian crossing of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris developed in 1948 (but not commercially released until 1982) by the late Harold Olmo, professor of viticulture at the University of California, Davis. As its pedigree suggests, it is an aromatic variety with slightly spicy flavors.

Wine With Symphony Grapes
Symphony grape is one of them and is becoming a popular wine grape around California. Olmo grapes are basically all crossings of existing grapes. One of the most notable varieties in this family – the Ruby Cabernet, was first developed in 1936 by Dr Harold Olmo through crossing Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan. This variety is now widely planted in Californian vineyards and produce a harvest yields of 6 to 9 tons an acre. However, the initial release was just the starting point, and the grape would never yet release for commercial purposes till 1982 when it was finally authorized to get commercial licenses and was awarded several recognizable appellations in the US. Since then, the grape hasn’t yet caught a wildfire in terms of popularity, like its fellow members Ruby Cabernet and Emerald Riesling have caught, but is still a promising grape variety and might witness an upward surge in its economic trends.

The variety was originally intended as a grape suitable for the hot Central Valley but there, and elsewhere in California, growers enjoyed only limited success with it. It is now cultivated mainly in the inland Lodi and Sierra Foothills regions. Learn more about this wine in this wine review

Food pairings:

  • Smoked salmon terrine with dill and lemon
  • Corn fritters with salsa verde
  • Buffalo chicken wings

Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz) – (Sih-RAH) Syrah has proved successful in multiple viticultural areas around the world; wines are produced in many styles and display myriad of dark-fruit flavors. The varietal Syrah can be quite floral in its youth, developing white and black pepper aromas and herbaceous notes as it ages. Some examples show tanned leather and smoky scents, while the fruit in these wines tends towards the very dark flavors of blackcurrant and licorice.
Old World styles of Syrah are generally produced in a more earthy and savoury style in comparison to the New World where fruit-foward notes are more common. Syrah is an extremely useful blending grape. The thick-skins of the grape create a high tannin content and contribute a deep ruby-red color to the blend with an intense purple hue. 
In the southern Rhône it is common for Syrah to be blended with any combination of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault, among others.

One of Syrah's most valued assets is its ability to produce wines capable of aging and improving over many decades. The most valued appellation in this regard is the hill of Hermitage; its name is so respected that for many years it was used as a synonym for Syrah in Australia. A well-built Hermitage requires 10 years or more to relax into its plummy, spicy fullness, and will reward cellaring for a further decade at least.
Several hundred miles up the Rhône Valley from Hermitage, near the river's origins at the Rhône Glacier, Syrah has found a happy home in the Valais, in warm, sheltered sloping vineyards where it can produce remarkably full, complex wines.

Syrah has a cult following in California, Washington and Oregon. In the particularly warm climates such as that of Napa Valley, it is blended more often than it is produced as a varietal wine. In Washington, it is the AVAs of Naches Heights and Walla Walla that the variety is popular. While it has not seen the runaway success enjoyed by Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, nor the feverish worship of Pinot Noir, a dedicated band of American winemakers has been devotedly working with Syrah since the 1970s. Known as the Rhône Rangers, these men and women have proven that the variety can produce complex, rich wines in all three of the above states.

Food Pairing:
The robust tannins and intense flavors of Syrah require a food pairing that will hold its own. Red meats, game birds and goat based dishes work well with the medium to high tannin profile. Vegetarian options include grilled mushrooms, eggplant lasagne and lentil-based burgers. 
Lighter, fruit-forward styles of Syrah work well with the creamy components of soft and strong flavored cheeses such as Muenster or Chevre. Refrain from pairing Syrah with delicate cheeses as well as any seafood or light vegetable based dishes. 


Tannat - Tannat is a very old grape variety. It is believed to have originated in the Basque region of northwest Spain, but also has a centuries old association with Madiran in southwest France. In the late 19th century it was brought to Uruguay by Basque immigrants, where it flourished, and has since become the national red grape variety of the country. It is a very easy grape to grow and, unlike many red varietals, it produces relatively low yields and therefore requires less vineyard management. Another positive attribute is the fact that it has good disease resistant properties. Tannat berries are small, giving the grapes a high skin-to-pulp ratio, which adds significant levels of tannin to the finished wine. The fact that Tannat grapes contain 5 seeds (pips) compared to 2 or 3 for most other varieties also adds to tannin levels. These tannins give the wines structure and aging potential. Tannat makes big, masculine wines that, as the name suggests, are very high in tannin. Acidity and alcohol are also high and the body is very full. These robust wines display red and black fruit flavors of raspberry, plum and blackberry, combined with smoky and spicy notes. With age they can develop additional flavors of chocolate, coffee, tobacco and vanilla. The impact of the high tannin has been reduced in recent years through a process known as “micro-oxygenation” which allows oxygen into the wine during fermentation. Oak aging also helps in this regard, as well as adding complexity and a vanilla flavor.

There are subtle differences between Tannat wines from France and those from Uruguay. Generally, those from Uruguay are softer in structure with less harsh tannins and deeper black fruit flavors. It is an interesting exercise to compare and contrast the characteristics for the wines from these two countries to fully appreciate their differences.
Tannat is a grape of admirable quality and is attracting increasing interest amongst wine lovers and winemakers alike. Outside of France and Uruguay, there are a small but growing number of plantings in California, led by the progressive Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles. Idle Hour Wines Tannat review. 

Tempranillo - (a.k.a. Tinta Roriz; Tinta de Toro; Tinta Fino; Valdepeñas) Tempranillo (tehm - prah - NEE – yoh) Tempranillo is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. Tempranillo is at the heart of Rioja, Spain. Rioja wines are traditionally a blend that’s built on the base of Tempranillo and blended with Garnacha and occasionally Mazuelo. In Portugal, it’s known as Tinta Roriz and can often be found in Port as well as the dry wines of the Douro Valley and Dāo regions. In Spanish, “temprano” means early, and it’s the linguistic root of the name Tempranillo.

Tempranillo is capable of greatness both on its own and alongside other grape varieties. Its brambly berry and spice notes work well alone and lend serious depth to blends. It can be produced into dry wines with the ability to age for decades, and contributes complexity to the sweet, fortified wines of Port. A good 20 Year Old Tawny Port is terrific. It gushes with sweet spice, caramel bubbling on the stove, pralines, honey roasted almonds, walnut brittle, dried figs, and white raisins, yet decadent and balanced at the same time. Tempranillo’s notes of brambly berries, cherries, and, in warmer climates and vintages, plums, find counterpoints in sweet and occasionally woodsy spice and hints of cigar tobacco. Its tannic structure allows it to age for a relatively long time, depending on how it’s been grown and vinified. As it ages, Tempranillo tends to take on more savory characteristics, like leather, cigar humidor, and earth. If it’s been aged in new oak, the classic spice notes of that wood vessel tend to grow more assertive.

Tempranillo should be served at slightly higher than cellar temperature (55°F to 57°F /(12°C to 14°C), as warm Tempranillo-based wines can taste stewed or even prune-like. They are best enjoyed with a Cabernet Sauvignon-style or universal red wine glasses. Also, decanting often opens them up and allows the underlying fruit and spice to shine through especially a younger wine. And the best of them tend to maintain a sense of acidity, which allows them to remain fresh and also to cut through richer foods.

TeroldegoTeroldego is a deeply colored red wine grape grown mostly in the mountainous. This variety produces deeply pigmented red wines with an intensely fruity character, a style that has become something of an icon for Trentino's wine industry. It is soft and needs very little aging, usually being drunk within three years of bottling, though it can cellar well for up to 10 years. In blends, it adds color, and is planted in Tuscany, Sicily and the Veneto mainly for this purpose, though some experimental varietal wines are also bottled. There is also a small amount grown in Australia, California, (primarily in the Central Valley) and Brazil.

Teroldego is an ancient grape variety, and has been cultivated in Italy for hundreds of years. Several theories abound about the variety's name, including that it is derived from Tiroldola, another historic variety. It has also been suggested that the name is the Italian form of "golden Tyrol", based on the status its wines achieved throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Food pairings:

Broth with bacon and dumplings
Corned beef hash
Beef couscous with raisins

Tinta Amarela - (a.k.a. Trincadeira Preta) Tinta Amarela (also known as Trincadeira) is a purple-skinned grape used in the production of Port and various other Portuguese red wines. Although Tinta Amarela is the variety's official name, it is more popularly known as "Trincadeira", the name under which it is marketed in numerous varietal dry red wines. It is grown principally in the Douro, Dão and Alentejo wine regions. In the vineyard, Tinta Amarela is notoriously tricky to grow. Its berries are highly susceptible to rot; this is of particular significance on Portugal's Atlantic coast, which gets broadsided by cold, wet ocean winds as soon as autumn arrives. If picked too early and the crop is lean and under-flavored. Pick too late and the result is an overripe harvest of cooked, over-jammy berries lacking in acidity. Consequently, Tinta Amarela is on the decline in Portugal’s vineyards, as viticulturists look to less labor-intensive varieties. Despite the obvious challenges it presents in the vineyard, Tinta Amarela can be a highly rewarding vine to grow. In the right conditions it provides good yields of deeply colored, richly flavored fruit.

In their youth, Tinta Amarela wines offer herbaceous aromas often complemented by darker notes akin to black tea. With a little age, tangy blackberry flavors emerge. The variety has ample tannins that improve with some years in bottle.

Food pairings:
Rosemary and lemon pork stew
Citrus-rubbed veal chops and mango salsa
Traditional Cornish pasty

Tinta Cão Tinta Cão is a red Portuguese wine grape variety that has been grown primarily in the Douro region since the sixteenth century. The vine produces very low yields which has led it close to extinction despite the high quality of wine that it can produce. Despite the dark hue of Tinto Cão grapes, the wines they produce are not as deeply colored as those made from the Douro's other principal grape varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. Despite only making up a tiny fraction of vineyard area in the Douro Tinto Cão is an important player in the area as a blending component.

Tinto Cão is also planted in Dao, where it can achieve quality results in a blended or varietal dry red wine. A few vines are planted in California where they are used in the production of Port-style wines. The name Tinto Cão means "red dog", although there is little convincing evidence to explain how the name fits in the language of wine. The variety is an old one, documented in northern Portugal since the 1600s. A 2003 study suggested it could be related to the white grape Viosinho and to Tinta Francisca. Tinto Cão was crossed with Alicante Ganzin to breed the variety Rubired, which is prized for its color.

Food pairing:

Think of foods that have fat content. A few suggestions are below to consider. Have fun pairing this wine with your favorites.

  • Braised pork chops with crispy sage (dry)
  • Chocolate and cherry tart (fortified)
  • Stilton cheese (fortified)

Tinta Roriz – Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca are three of the key grape varieties used in the Douro and Dao wine regions of northern Portugal, where they are used to make both dry table wines and fortified wines (Port). Further south, where Tinta Roriz has long been known as Aragonez and the Tourigas are relative newcomers, the varieties are used exclusively in dry table wines. Aragonez (Tinta Roriz) and Touriga Nacional provide the foundations of this blend, with their deep color, solid acid structure and pronounced tannins. On top of this, the slightly lighter, more fragrant Touriga Franca brings layers of bright fruit aromas and sweet spice. When well cared for in the vineyard and judiciously blended in the winery, this combination of grape varieties produces Portugal's finest dry red wines.

Food pairings:

  • Beef Wellington
  • Lamb, spiced orange and thyme tagine
  • Cornish pasties

Tokay - (a.k.a. Flame Tokay; Ahmer Bou'Amer) - So let’s talk more about Lodi’s once and future grape:  Tokay, also known as Flame Tokay.  Although a member of the European family of classic wine grapes, Vitis vinifera, these hefty, plump berried, beautifully pinkish red grapes were originally cultivated as either ornamentals or for eating as table grapes – not so much for wine production. Plant Flame Tokay a little further north towards Galt or Sacramento, a little further east towards Amador County, or a little further south near Stockton or Modesto, and the skins of the grape simply do not ripen into its dazzling pink color, nor does its pulp retain its sweet, juicy  taste.  Tokay, it almost seems, was destined to be grown closer to the banks of Lodi's Mokelumne River, and in that part of the world. That having been said, the grape evolved into Lodi's most widely planted grape between the 1890s and 1980s – until the arrival of the hybridized Flame Seedless grape, which proved to be far more easily grown, for much lower cost, further south in warmer districts of California's Central Valley.  

Towards the very end, during the 1970s and early 1980s, some of the region's giant co-op wineries specializing in brandies and sweet fortified wines continued to utilize Tokay in the production of spirits; but once the majority of American consumers developed a taste primarily for table wines, Tokay was no longer a viable grape crop. According to Lodi old-timer and businessman, Leonard Cicerello, the fiery fall of Flame Tokay came during a period of fortuitous change.  “At the start of the 1980s Lodi went from tens of thousands acres of Tokay grapes to over 100,000 acres of fine wine grapes practically overnight.”  The children of grape growers were coming back from the collages that specializing in agriculture and telling their parents that they ought to quit growing Tokay and plant more wine grapes. In a short time Chenin Blanc and French Colombard, then later Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vines were planted.  Within one generation Lodi changed from a sleepy agricultural community to an internationally known wine region.

At the vineyard estate of Jessie’s Grove Winery, the head trained Tokay vines behind the home Joseph Spenker originally built for his family are some of the oldest plantings on the ranch, dating back to 1888.  There are about 30 of these huge, majestic looking plants rising up beside the house, and another 35 or so of them inter-planted among the Zinfandel, Carignan and Mission grapes in Jessie’s Grove’s Royal Tee Vineyard just a hundred yards away, and all dry farmed since the day they were planted, on their own natural rootstocks.

TorrontésTorrontés is a key player in the white wine production of Argentina. However the name does not represent a single grape variety, but several.The most significant of these varieties are Torrontés Sanjuanino, Torrontés Mendocino and Torrontés Riojano. The latter of the three is the most widely planted, and typically produces the better-quality wines.Torrontés wines range in style from light and fresh to heady and intensely perfumed, often expressing spicy, soapy characters and aromas of white flowers. There can be some similarities with the Muscat family. Blending Torrontés with Chardonnay is popular in Argentina.

There is some uncertainty surrounding Torrontés' origins – which is hardly surprising, given the fact that the name is used by several entirely distinct varieties. Some suggest the Riojano strain was introduced from Spain - although it takes its name from the Argentinian region of La Rioja where it was once widely planted. (See Spanish Torrontés below.)

The alternate opinion is that this and the Mendocino and Sanjuanino variants (from Mendoza and San Juan, respectively) are indigenous Vitis vinifera crossings. All involve the Muscat of Alexandria grape variety.

Torrontés Riojano: known to be Muscat of Alexandria x Criolla Chica - a version of Pais (Mission)
Torrontés Sanjuanino: distinct crossing of the same two varieties
Torrontés Mendocino: Muscat of Alexandria x unknown variety

Food pairings for Torrontés
Thai green curry
Grilled scallops or white fish
Goats' cheese on fruit toast, drizzled with honey

Touriga Francesa - (a.k.a. Touriga Franca) Touriga Franca is an important dark-skinned grape variety used in the production of Port and dry red wines from Portugal's Douro wine region. Even though it is much more widely planted than Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca is the less prestigious of the two grapes. Touriga Franca is more aromatic and lighter bodied than Touriga Nacional, though lacking sufficient intensity and concentration to make it a blockbuster variety as a varietal. Occasoinally, Touriga Franca is produced as a fortified wine. Its origins are unclear and its name misleading, for Touriga Franca is not a French grape. It seems most likely that Touriga Franca is either a mutation, or a crossing of Touriga Nacional and an unknown parent, possibly Mourisco Tinto (Marufo). Either way, Touriga Franca's plentiful yields have made it a favored and integral component of Douro wines. In California, this variety is often referred to as simply Touriga.

Food pairings:
Portuguese-style beef stew (dry)
Ham hock and black-eyed peas (dry)
Dark chocolate (fortified)

Touriga NacionalTouriga Nacional is a dark-skinned grape variety that is widely believed to produce the finest red wines of Portugal. Extensively planted in the Portugal's northern Dao and Douro wine regions, the variety is a key ingredient in both dry red wines and the fortified wines of Oporto (Port).

In many ways, Touriga Nacional is Portugal's answer to France's Cabernet Sauvignon. Both these varieties display bold dark-fruit flavors, often with hints of spice, leather and violet. Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional has firm tannins, is expressive as a varietal wine and shows great aging potential. 

Modern clones of Touriga Nacional, which number in the hundreds, are more generous with their yields, and improved viticultural techniques have helped to increase the variety's commercial viability without compromising its character.
Food matches for Touriga Nacional

  • Grass-fed sirloin steak (dry)
  • North African goat tagine (dry)
  • Chocolate or custard tart (fortified)

Traminer - (a.k.a. Savagnin) TRAMINER is a white wine variety that shares the genetic makeup of numerous popular varieties, and significantly for Austria, is the parent variety of ubiquitous Grüner Veltliner. Nowadays, the three Traminer varieties, Roter Traminer, Gelber Traminer and Gewürztraminer. Supposedly selected from wild vines, Traminer is one of the oldest European grape varieties and is presumed to have been cultivated by the Romans as Vitis aminera. The variety is differentiated by the colours of its berries. Roter Traminer is red, Gewürztraminer is light red/pink, Gelber Traminer is yellow. The grapes also deliver different nuances of spiciness (“Gewürz” in German) influenced by the wine's own terroir.
The wines are low in acidity yet rich in extract and aromas (roses, citrus, wild strawberry, raisin and dried fruit). They keep well and have an excellent ageing potential.

Trollinger (a.k.a. Schiava) Trollinger is a grape that ripens very late and it yields fragrant, fruity, light, palatable wines with a pronounced acidity. Once found in German wine country (primarily as a table grape), today it is planted almost exclusively in Württemberg, where it is the quaffing wine of choice,


Verdejo - Verdejo is the aromatic grape variety behind the crisp white wines of Rueda in central Spain. It is by far the most planted variety in this part of the country, and is produced both varietally and as a component of a blend with either Viura or Sauvignon Blanc. Full-bodied Verdejo wines are held in high regard, displaying herbaceous, nutty characters with balanced acidity and some cellaring potential. 

Food pairings for Verdejo

  • Red peppers stuffed with goats' cheese
  • Vietnamese pancakes with pork and prawn
  • Smoked salmon parfait

Verdelho - Verdelho is associated with the stenciled bottles of Madeira, Verdelho is one of the Atlantic island's iconic grape varieties. Outside of fortified wines, the variety is found throughout Portugal and the Azores, and has been succesfully cultivated in the southern hemisphere.
he variety is most famous for its role in the production of the fortified wines of Madeira, where it is one of the drier and fresher (higher acid) of the four standard, varietally labeled, Madeira wines. Sercial often has more acidity and less residual sugar while Bual and Malvasia, in that order, generally having less acidity and greater sweetness.
The aromatic profile of Verdelho is crisp, sometimes with leafy or spicy accents. It produces a vibrant, lemon, citrus and pear notes on the nose with a light, powdery phenolic texture on the back-palate (aftertaste), often making it a match for various light dishes. It typically makes a rich wine in the Old World, with ripe apricot and stonefruit aromas, while in Australia it is more reminiscent of citrus and tropical fruits.

Food pairings for Verdelho wines

  • Fish tacos with cilantro 
  • Seared prawns with chili 
  • Smoked ham 

Vermentino - (a.k.a. Rolle; Pigato; Favorita)  (“vur-men-teeno”) Vermentino is a light-bodied white wine that grows mostly in Italy on the island of Sardinia. What’s exciting about Vermentino is it can be deliciously complex in taste in similar style to Sauvignon Blanc. Because Vermentino is so unknown, you can find high quality wines for a great value. Let’s delve into the details of Vermentino wine and what to look for and from where. A glass of classic Sardinia Vermentino will offer up lively aromas of pear, white peach, lime and pink grapefruit with subtle notes of crushed rocks and citrus zest. On the palate, Vermentino is almost always dry and somewhat oily with flavors of grapefruit and citrus, with a crushed rocky minerality and saltiness. On the finish, it can be a bit snappy with bitterness similar to the taste of grapefruit pith or, if it’s on the riper side, fresh almond.

Vermentino with its somewhat oily character, salinity and phenolic bitterness is a wonderful wine to match with medium-weight dishes that play with rich herbs and spices. Due to its bolder intensity, you can easily match this wine with richer fish such as halibut or even meats as bold as fennel-spiced pork sausages. One key thing to pay attention to when pairing with Vermentino is the acidity level in a dish. Vermentino often doesn’t have enough spritzy acidity needed to match against tart pickled dishes (although it will easy match with chicken tacos with a squeeze of lime). Vermentino also is a great wine to pair with garlicky dishes like Pesto.
Food Pairing:
Chicken tacos, Fish Tacos, Halibut, planked Salmon, Crab Cakes, Grilled Octopus, Langoustines with garlic and herbs, Roasted Trout with Garlic and Rosemary, Fried Mussels, Fennel-spiced Pork Sausages, Proscuitto-wrapped melons, Clams and freshly made spaghetti, Roasted Quail over mashed parsnip
Ricotta, Buffalo Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, Pecorino, Feta
Herbs de Provence, Oregano, Garlic, Thyme, Tarragon, Shallot, Ginger, Cilantro, Marjoram, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Basil, Lemon Zest
Spinach and Artichoke Calzone, Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli, Green beans, Arugula Salad, Spinach Quiche, Mashed Parsnips, Roasted Zucchini with garlic and herbs, Creamy Leek soup, Pea Shoots, Roasted Asparagus, Sunchokes, Fresh cut corn, Tabbouleh Salad, Falafel, Hummus, White Beans, Yellow Rice, Cauliflower Steaks, Pine nuts, Cashew, Almond, Tangerine

Viognier - Viognier also leads a dual life and is also found blended with Syrah in red wines both at home and abroad. On its own, Viognier produces golden-colored, aromatic white wines with pronounced stonefruit aromas (apricots and peaches are often cited) alongside a full-bodied and often textural palate. It is susceptible to high alcohol levels and low levels of freshening acidty. Viognier berries are mid-to-late-ripening, often producing wines with a deep golden color. The variety's ability to produce high levels of sugar also regularly lend a viscous quality to its wines alongside correspondingly high alcohol levels. Viognier is primarily known for its heady aroma, often compared to apricots and similar stonefruits, including peaches and honeysuckle. Its wines can also be very herbal, with aromas of chamomile, lavender, thyme and even a hint of pine. Given the relatively thick-skinned variety's affinity to producing high levels of sugar, Viognier wines tend to be full-bodied with some texture and relatively high in alcohol. 

Food pairings:

  • Grilled salmon on "dauphinois potatoes or potatoes au gratin
  • Spicy mango and cashew nut salad
  • Glazed apricot tart


Würzer - Gewürztraminer x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) Würzer is a scarcely planted white variety developed in Alzey, Germany, in 1932 by crossing Gewürztraminer with Müller-Thurgau. The variety produces highly aromatic and flavorful wines and is found mostly in Rheinhessen, but also in southern England and New Zealand. Its name, Würzer, is derived from the German word würze, meaning "spice". Würzer gained popularity in Germany in the 1980s, with plantings increasing significantly during this decade. But the variety then experienced a steady decline and, today, fewer than 70 acres (30ha) remain in its homeland. Würzer, like its parent Gewürztraminer, produces wines that are very aromatic in nature, with citrus and white floral notes, such as freesia, elderflower and lime. Würzer is often compared to Muscat. Wine flavors may range from herbaceous and floral to citrus and apple notes or even tropical and stonefruits. As the variety's name would suggest, a sprinkling of spice is often also evident.

Food Pairing:

  • Roasted goose with dried apples and apricots
  • Chicken and quinoa salad with dried apricots and baby spinach
  • Spicy tofu stir fry


Xarel-lo - Xarel-lo is a light-skinned grape from Catalonia, northeastern Spain, and is one of the region's most widely planted varieties. It is used to make various wine styles, but it is best known for its role in sparkling Cava. In the Catalan language, the variety's name is written with an interpunct dot (Xarel·lo), but in other languages this is either replaced with a hyphen (Xarel-lo) or removed entirely (Xarello). Xarel-lo vines buds and ripens neither early nor late in the season, and produces berries of average size. It is not particularly fussy about soil composition, and can tolerate a wide range of climatic conditions, making it as popular with grapegrowers as it is with winemakers.Xarel-lo is valued by winemakers for the acid structure it brings to wines, and stands out as one of Spain's finest white-wine varieties. In terms of Cava production, it is typically blended with two other classic Spanish grapes varieties.Although best known as a sparkling-wine grape, Xarel-lo is also used in dry table wines. These interesting wines are highly regarded for their bracing, lemon-like acidity and stonefruit flavors. The still wines are very textural, often with slightly vegetal characteristics on the palate.

Food pairings for Xarel-lo

  • Snails with garlic butter
  • Parmesan-gratinated scallops
  • Vietnamese summer rolls with prawn


Zinfandel  - Zinfandel (or "Zin", as it is affectionately known in the United States) is a dark-skinned red wine grape variety widely cultivated in California. It arrived in the Americas from Europe in the early years of the 19th Century, and was an immediate success in both Napa and Sonoma counties, which remain its strongholds today. Zinfandel has been used to make various wine styles since it arrived in the USA, including dry and sweet red wines and the famous White Zinfandel blush, created to cater for a white wine-drinking American consumer base of the 1970s. The arrival of this new wine style in the early 1970s led to an explosion of Zinfandel plantings – perhaps ironic given that the style of wine was created to find a use for the swathes of underused Zinfandel vines already in existence. By the 1990s the popularity of dry red Zinfandel had given these plantings a new raison d'etre, although they were still being used to generate many millions of liters of sweet pink blush every year. 

Food Pairing:

  • Puglian spit-roasted lamb
  • East Texas-style barbecue
  • Dark chocolate cake

Zweigelt – (Saint-Laurent X Blaufrankisch)   ( TSVEYE-gəlt )  Zweigelt calls Austria home and produces deep red, spicy wines with excellent aging qualities. Zweigelt is the most widely planted red-wine grape in Austria. A classic Austrian Zweigelt is richly colored with a deep, bright core of spiced cherry and raspberry flavors. The finest examples have the potential to cellar well for a decade or so, but the majority are best consumed within a few years of release. Although varietal Zweigelt wines are very common, the grape is also commonly used in blends. It is often combined with Cabernet and Merlot to create an Austrian twist on the classic Bordeaux Blend. The grape is not just limited to dry styles, Zweigelt is used to produce sweet wines as well. The world's most expensive wines made from Zweigelt are either strohwein made from dried grapes, or ice wine.

Food pairings:
It's relatively robust structure, tannins and freshness mean the variety can stand up to a number of hearty dishes, 
•    grilled sausages with mustard 
•    duck confit.