Grapes

We all know what wine we like when we drink it, but chosing a new wine can be scary. In this section we have covered the key things you need to know about the 18 different noble grapes and touched on some regional differences. This should help you when choosing that next bottle.

Barbera

Known as “the people's wine” in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, Barbera is the third most widely planted red grape variety in Italy. It can take the name of Barbera D’Alba or Barbera D’Asti, Alba and Asti being the two towns in Piedmont around which this varietal is grown .What is particularly interesting about Barbera grape is the amazing diversity of wines it can produce. Each wine has its own unique character based on its place of origin length of ageing and type of barrels used in the ageing process.[(-|-... Read more.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Regarded as possibly one of the world's best-travelled grape varietals, be sure you are well advised when choosing one.... Read more.

Chardonnay

The most widely-planted grape in the world, and possibly the most diverse. It is used in full-on oaked Californian whites to classic mineral Chablis and of course Champagne.... Read more.

Chenin

An approachable and highly versatile grape both in terms of how it’s used in producing wines and when you might drink it. Another classic from the Loire in France but used the world over for straight white wine, dessert wines and quaffable sparkling wines.... Read more.

Gewürztraminer

Difficult to pronounce, but easy to drink it should be pointed out and may surprise you to learn that the grape skins of Gewurztraminer are in fact red as opposed to green, but the wines it makes are typically white in colour.... Read more.

Grenache Noir

One of the unsung heroes of the noble grape varieties and a variety responsible for one of the great red wines of the world, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. With its thick skin it is perfect to withstand hot dry climates.... Read more.

Malbec

Known as Auxerrois in Cahors, Cot in the Loire Valley and Malbec in the rest of the wine regions of the world where it is grown this particular grape variety seems to have undergone a mini renaissance in the last decade, largely fuelled by its success in South America. It was once a staple component of the Bordeaux blend, but never fully recovered from the frosts of 1956 and since then plantings in this region have fallen by seventy five percent.... Read more.

Merlot

The most widely planted grape variety in Bordeaux, it is felt by many that the best of the Merlots hail from the vineyards of Saint Emilion and Pomerol on Bordeaux’s Right Bank. Here the variety is able to withstand the moist clay rich soils at its best producing rich opulent wines with succulent fruitcake like flavours. It is a variety however whose presence in vineyards the world over has increased significantly over the last decade and a half.... Read more.

Nebbiolo

It is noted in various articles written on this particular red grape variety that its name is possibly derived from the word nebbia, which in Italian means fog and refers to the fog that covers the vineyards in Autumn. It is also very often quoted as being Italy’s noblest of grape variety.... Read more.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio is almost universally used to make single varietal wines though Viognier is starting to be added in some areas as an attempt to boost the aromas. Whilst the same grape the two names infer two very different styles of wine.... Read more.

Pinot Noir

One of the oldest grape varieties to be cultivated, one of the most difficult to work with but at same time regarded by many as one of the most charismatic of all grape varieties. It takes its name from a combination of the French word for pine (Pinot) due to its tight, pine cone shaped fruit clusters and the word French word for black (Noir) which refers to the grapes natural dark colour.... Read more.

Riesling

Riesling is a wonderful grape variety. Why? Not only is it exceptionally good at expressing terroir but also it can make wines that age beautifully. If drunk too young the wines produced can often be quite austere but with age they become more layered in depth and complexity and there is a wonderful evolution in texture.... Read more.

Sangiovese

Sangiovese is you could say something of a chameleon. All over Italy different mutations of the grape can be found resulting in very different tasting wines. Ageing potential very much depends on the region too. For example lighter styles of Sangiovese such as a basic Chianti tend to be for drinking within a few years production whereas more ‘serious’ wines such as Brunello di Montalcino and some of the Super Tuscans are capable of developing for upwards of twenty years.... Read more.

Sauvignon Blanc

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny how big a presence this grape has in the Wine Market. This grape originates from Bordeaux in France but can now be found all over the globe.... Read more.

Semillon

A white grape, not often found as a standalone wine but mainly blended with Sauvignon. 

Sauvignon and Semillon have been blended together for a number of years to produce ‘crisp, dry wines’ but also sweet wines, as found in Sauternes. A classic blend started by the French but more recently adopted by the Australian.... Read more.

Syrah

Think big, think Syrah or Shiraz as it is more commonly known in the New World. It is regarded as one of the great noble black grape varieties due to the dark full bodied age worthy wines it produces. How long it has been in existence still remains a mystery. It is possible the Ancient Romans planted it though some historians believe it goes as far back Greek times. Whatever the history it continues to grow in popularity and today is the world's 6th most planted grape.... Read more.

Tempranillo

Temprano means “early” in Spanish and Tempranillo is an early harvest grape.  Medium bodied it expresses great red fruit aromatics and regardless of whether consumed young, slightly aged or highly aged it has the potential to produce exceptionally high quality wines.... Read more.

Viognier

Traditionally from Northern Rhône, although its now doing well in a number of new world countries. No one knows the exact origins of this grape, it is thought to have been passed down from the Romans.... Read more.

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