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GRAPE DESCRIPTIONS

Red Varietals:

Alicante Bouschet is a cross of Grenache and Petit Bouschet; offers a dark red color and is used for blending with light red wines 

Barbera produces a deep red, full bodied dry wine; while young, offers an intense aroma of fresh red and black berries; oaking provides increased complexity with hints of vanilla

Black Malvasia is used primarily as a blending grape with Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese; valued for its dark color and aromatic qualities; adds a richness and hints of chocolate

Cabernet Franc blends well with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, yet stands well enough on its own; a lighter bodied wine offering rich notes of raspberries, black currants, and violets; less tannins than Cab Sav tending to produce a smoother mouthfeel.

Cabernet Sauvignon known for its deep flavor and aroma, full-bodied, bolder than Merlot; high tannins provide structure and ability to age well; stands well alone offering black cherry, cassis, pepper, oak; blends nicely with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec 

Carignane predominately used in blending with Grenache, Syrah, Cab Sav, Cab Franc, Mourvedre and Merlot; noted for high alcohol, high tannins, and deep purple color

Carmenere has become Chile's signature grape; prized for its intense color, meaty plumpness and complexity; rich in berry fruits and spice with smooth well rounded tannins; stands well alone and blends nicely with Cab Sav, Cab Franc and Merlot

Grenache used to make rosé wines and blends with Syrah and Carignane; spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate; high sugar levels, low acid and tannin; used in fortified wines such as Port

Malbec has become the star of Argentina; deep color, ample tannin for aging well, juicy plum-like flavor; stands alone or adds complexity to Cabs, Merlot, Gamay, Meritage

Merlot medium to dark red in color, fruity complexity highlighting cherry, plum and black currant flavors; low tannins; stands nicely alone yet blends well with Cab Sav, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot 

Mourvedre is used to make both strong, dark red wine as well as rosés; produces tannic wines that can be high in alcohol; taste varies greatly according to area but often is described as wild, gamey or earthy flavor with soft red fruit flavor; pairs especially well with the Grenache grape

Nebbiolo is one of the most important varieties in the Piedmont region and is used in Barolo and Barbaresco; strong tannin and high acidity; aromas of tar, camphor, roses with flavors of mint, plum and licorice

Petite Sirah produces a deep colored robust and peppery wine; plenty of tannin offers good aging; compared to Syrah, this wine is noticable more dark purple

Petit Verdot primarily added in small amounts to add tannin, color and flavor in blends

Pinotage produces deep red wines with smoky, earthy flavors and at times offers banana and tropical fruit; is often blended or made into sparkling or fortified wines

Pinot Noir is medium in color and light in body; rich, velvety and full of cherries, raspberries and strawberry flavors and aroma

Ruby Cabernet a cross between Cab Sav and Carignane; used in blending offering good color extraction and a pleasant cherry flavor

Sangiovese is the main component of Chianti; Brunello is a clone of Sangio ~ fresh fruity flavors of strawberry with a little spiciness; readily takes on oaky flavors when aged in barrels

Syrah (Shiraz) offers a more intense, full bodied wine with deep, nearly black color, rich and chewy, tends to be more spicy than fruity; is the only grape used to make Rhône wines; blends well with Cab Sav, Merlot, Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier

Tempranillo  produces a full bodied red wine that can be enjoyed young; aged in oak barrels this grape offers aroomas and flavors of berries, plum, tobacco, leather and vanilla; native to Spain, this is the main grape used in Rioja

Valdepena is a thick skinned grape offering deep red color and aromas of leather, tobacco, vanilla; used in blending or standing alone as a table wine

Zinfandel  produces a robust, high alcohol red wine with light spicy flavor and berry-like aroma

 

White Varietals:

Albarino is noted for its distinctive aroma suggesting apricot and peach; unusually light and generally high in acidity with alcohol levels of 11.5 ~ 12.5%

Chardonnay versatile; creates full-bodied, moderately acidic dry still wines, sparkling crystal wines, as well as sweet late harvest wines; malolactic fermentation converts the harder malic acid into the softer, butteryness associated with Chardonnay; barrel aging offers smoke, vanilla and caramel

Chenin Blanc offers flavors of quince and apples; adds acidity in blends

French Colombard provides backbone to white blends; produces a crisp, dry, spicy wine

Gewurztraminer has high natural sugar and a flamboyant bouquet of lychees, roses, passion fruit and floral notes

Muscat Alexandria tend to be sweet with an earthy taste; not particularly aromatic; grown as table grapes and raisins but is used in wine making

Muscat Canelli produces outstanding sweet dessert wines and is the basis of Asti Spumante

Muscat Orange used in dessert wines; offers aroma of orange blossom and apricot

Pink Muscat generally sweet and floral with flavors of coriander, peach and orange

Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) varies in color from light shades of pink to copper to a deep golden yellow depending on climate; matures early with high sugar levels offering high alcohol levels

Riesling offers high sugar content, high acid, a range of flavors; can be used for "ice" wines as well as non-dessert wines from dry to sweet; excellent in extended aging

Sauvignon Blanc light to medium-bodied, crisp and refreshing; displays a unique range of flavors from herbal to veggie, grassy to citrusy, best when chilled; component of Sauterne and Barsac dessert wines; barrel aging offers rounder melon notes

Thompson Seedless thogh primarily grown for raisin production; these grapes make a sweet table wine

Viognier medium-bodied, high acid, bright color, rich texture, highly aromatic, flavors of peach and apricot, best when young; aging allows the fruit and aromatic strength to fade

White Malvasia is used in table wine, dessert wines, fortified wines and blends well with others; as a dry wine this grape offers peach with aromas of musk and almonds and good acidity; a nutty character comes across in a sweet version