It was thought to be one of the six original red grapes of Bordeaux. But today, Carmenere is one of the best and brightest wine grapes of Chile. Read about it and then taste and see!
Rosé wines are the perfect wines for spring and summer and they're a hot pick among wine drinkers this year. Ranging from sweet to dry and from pale pink to eye-catching strawberry, there's almost invariably something for everyone from this set of wines. Read more about it before picking up a bottle at the wine shop. Did we mention it's perfect for a summer day?
Break out of the sweet Riesling box after you read today’s article about the grape. You’ll learn about terroir, enjoy a new range of flavors and, no doubt, it’s another reason to order take-out Chinese. (Who doesn’t love an excuse to order take-out!!)
Torrontes is a very confusing grape. There are more than five different varieties of the grape that are grown in Spain, Argentina, Portugal that are referred to as Torrontes.
: Introducing the most famous white grape you’ve probably never heard of. This is a workhorse grape among grapes, often providing balance to softer wines, rarely taking the spotlight on its own. Our grape of the week this week: Trebbiano.
Alvarinho is a robust and fertile grape that ripens fairly early and produces in quantity. Its thick green skins protect the grape from heat and humidity, though its presence, along with large pips or seeds can cause bitterness in the final product if not carefully screened. It produces well, but often needs to be trellised to support the vines and to allow for better ripening.
Rhone is a southern French wine region that is centered on the Rhine River. It is usually split into north and south sub-regions that differ both geographically and stylistically in the manner of making wine.
Gewürztraminer is one of the most famous clonal mutations of one of the oldest known grapes, Sauvignon. Sauvignon, which means “wild,” is an ancient French varietal whose origin is a mystery. It may have actually been one of the first wild grapes ever cultivated. Siblings to Gewürztraminer are Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Rosé. A clonal mutation is an offshoot that has spontaneously and naturally changed from its parent vine and developed consistent and ongoing characteristics that carry through future generations.
Verdejo is little-known in the United States, even though we are one of the very few places outside of Spain that actually has a planting of this aromatic white wine grape. Named after the green color of the grape, Verdejo likely originated in North Africa and travelled to Spain with the Moors. Traditionally used to make fortified wines, known as Palido and Dorado, Verdejo has gained new life and a fresher more lively style thanks to Spanish vintner Marques de Riscal who saw the potential for dry white wines from the Rueda.
Barbera is thought to have originated in the Piedmont hills of Monferrato and is rumored to have been named for Vinum berberis, a bitter, red fermented drink from the middle ages.The name refers to its color and the tendency of the vines to overproduce produce grapes that can be acidic and sharp. When managed, those characteristics can be controlled to create a softer more balanced wine which can be blended or drunk as a single varietal.
Burgundy, named for the ancient Burgundians who settled in this area during the early Middle Ages, is one of 27 regions in France and one of its major wine producing regions. Wines are produced labeled and marketed from this region under the constraints of the appellation system, which can be confusing in a wine shop. As one of the most terroir-driven regions in France, the information highlighted on a bottle of wine from Burgundy is based primarily on geography, which can be a great indicator, not only of varietal and style, but also can tell you what to expect for flavor profile, expected price and quality.
Chardonnay is arguably the world’s most popular white wine. Originally thought to be a domesticated wild vinifera plant from France, it has also been suggested that the grape was broght back to France from the Middle East by the Crusaders.
Semillon is a white wine grape from the Bordeaux region in France. Semillon is a close relation to Sauvignon Blanc, but its parentage and origin are still shrouded in mystery. It is a mid-ripening, easy to grow grape that produces high yields and is fairly resistant to most diseases. The vines produce large thin-skinned grapes that range from yellow to gold when ripe.
Viognier is a white wine grape primarily from the northern Rhone in France. An early-budding, low-yielding grape that is difficult to grow, Viognier is susceptible to spring frosts, coulure and even wind damage. It does well in acidic, well-watered soils and produces a juice high in sugar and low in acid. Wines made from Viognier grapes are known for pale colors, crisp flavors and often powerful floral and fruit aromas.
Beaujolais is a well-known department or district inside of the regional appellation of Burgundy. Burgundy, as a region, is known most frequently as a source for single varietal wines using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, which benefit from the cooler climate in the north-central part of France. The internal district of Beaujolais, which is located north of Loire and situated between the Burgundy and Rhone regions, is, on the contrary, known primarily for a single red grape, Gamay.
Syrah or Shiraz is the same grape grown in different regions. There have been many legends and stories that have this grape originating in places as varied as Greece, Albania, Persia or Syria, but thanks to recent DNA testing, we now know that this is a French grape coming from the marriage of two minor French vines, Monduese Blanche and Dureza. The record is still confused on how ancient the grape is; it matches many of the characteristics of grapes such as Allobrogica from the writings in the 1st century AD by Pliny the elder, but the first documented use of the name Syrah was not until 1781. The name Syrah likely comes from the Latin term serus meaning late-ripening. The first use of the name “Shiraz” dates back to the 1830s and was likely just an anglicized version of the original name. Today it comes down to preference and regional tradition.
Tempranillo, “the noble grape of Spain,” is the dominant grape of Rioja wines. It produces a wine with characteristic flavors of strawberry, plum and cherry, with a touch of tobacco and spice as well as earthiness in the finish. A medium to full-bodied red wine with higher tannins, less acid and more fruitiness than many other reds, Tempranillo is used as a varietal and as an often-informing blending grape balanced with more acidic and sugary reds. Its most common blending partners are Garnacha or Grenache, Monastrell (which is known elsewhere as Mouvedre), and Cariñena (known in other countries as Carignan). (As you can see, Spanish grapes tend to carry differing names for the same grapes found in other countries.)
Malbec is one of the six grapes allowed in the production of Bordeaux red wines. Its dark inky color and robust tannins are balanced by dark fruit flavors and herbal aromas. In its home country of France, Malbec has recently been used more as a blending grape, although with the success of the varietal in Argentina and elsewhere, it is coming back into its own.
Because of so much variation in the landscape, grape types and other regional distinctions, regions are very specifically indicated. Here’s an example of how they break down.
Over time, as specific regions have become synonymous with certain flavors and styles of winemaking, those identifying factors have been recognized and reinforced by legal decisions and naming conventions. The appellation system is the current codification of these profiles. Appellation systems such as the AOC in France or the AVA system in the United States have set the names and expectations of quality, process or composition into treaty and law that identify the regional origin of the grapes in the wine you drink.