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Copyright www.petespintpot.co.uk 2008. First published 17 October 2008, last updated 27 June 2017.
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A FEW GRAPE & WINE TYPES
ou may have to be very patient with this page as there are lots of foreign words, some may mean the same, most are unpronounceable & there are far too many French wine producing areas/towns. Ideal for the pretentious wine snobs, if you can be bothered to read it I only hope you can make sense of it, I can’t! I can’t claim all this page is original.
The Aglianico ("Ah-LYAH-nee-koe") grape originates from Greece smoky & mineral with a distinctive vinous bouquet with strong blackberry & fruit overtones, a good, dry, body with nice tannins that become velvety with age.
From northeast Spain, it has medium-body with good acidity, fairly high alcohol & rich, dry, zesty, peachy fruit. In many ways, it's like a tangier, steely version of Viognier, but with the advantage of higher acidity. The Albariño grape is known in Portugal as ALVARINHO (sometimes CAINHO BRANCO) & often used as a component of Vinho Verde
Burgundy's “other” white grape, sharper & leaner than Chardonnay.
Possibly the best dry wine from the Valpolicella zone in the province of Verona, Italy, east of Lake Garda. Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara grapes are mostly used giving rich, strong, dried-cherry flavours. Around 15-16% ABV.
From the Loire Valley in France. The Rosé & reds use Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon & Grolleau grapes which can give red/black fruit flavours & aromas. Whites use Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon & Chardonnay & can be floral with apricot
APPELLATION See French Wine Control Systems
For our purposes this French term refers to the name of an exact geographic area/region where wine grapes are grown.
ASTI & MOSCATO D'ASTI (W)
Italy's famously sweet, low-alcohol sparkling wines made from the Moscato Bianco grape of the Muscat family.
A German Riesling wine, unless it also specifies Trocken (dry) or Halbtrocken (half-dry). The Austrian Auslese is usually sweeter.
Full-bodied & often tannic Portuguese red made from the Baga grape & has a pronounced berry fruit flavour.
An expensive Italian red from Piedmont uses the Nebbiolo grape, powerful, but not quite as full-bodied as Barolo.
BARBERA (R) - Sour cherry.
Italy's second most planted red grape. Its high acid & low tannin, with a cherry & damson flavour. Softer & jammier reds come from Argentina & California.
Crisp, light-coloured, light-bodied north Italian red or rose (the latter usually called Chiaretto). Blended from Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara grapes & up to 15% include Rossignola, Barbera, Sangiovese & Garganega.
Majestic Italian red from the Nebbiolo grape, a slightly bigger version of Barbaresco.
BARSAC See Sauternes.
Because of some French AOC rules Barsac wines could also be Sauternes wines but Sauternes wines cannot have Barsac on their label. Made from Sauvignon, Sémillon & Muscadelle grapes, it may be a little bit less liquorous & fruitier than Sauternes.
Young, fruity red from the Gamay grape. Very few whites (1%) are made using Chardonnay grapes.
The light fruity (raspberry) reds from the Burgundy region have a good warm bouquet. The white flowery, grapefruity wines are straw-yellow, robust, thick & smooth, very dry. Pinot Noir & Chardonnay grapes are used
Very sweet, rich German white form the Riesling grape, sweet & fuller-bodied Austrian white.
Bordeaux-style, medium-bodied & aromatic reds uses the noble grapes Cabernet, Sauvignon & Merlot with more traditional grapes Côt (Malbec), Fer & Mérille. The rosé wine is fresh & fruity & primarily from Cabernet grape. The white Bergerac is dry & crisp from Sémillon, Sauvignon & Muscadelle grapes.
BIANCO DI CUSTOZA (W)
Light, dry, inexpensive Italian white wines are made from a blend of Garganega, Trebbiano Toscana & Friulano with a minimum dry extract of 16.5 grams/litre (20g/l for those labelled ‘Superiore’). The wines should be light-bodied with fresh, stony, citrus fruit.
Top Chateaux reds are typically 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc & 15% Merlot. White Bordeaux are predominantly (exclusively in the case of the sweet Sauternes) made from Sémillon, Typical blends are usually 80% Sémillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc.
Basic red & white wines from Burgundy. Red wines use Pinot Noir, whites use Chardonnay
Along with its neighbour, St. Nicolas de Bourgueil, a versatile medium-bodied Loire red from the Cabernet Franc grape.
BRITISH WINE See English/Scottish/Welsh Wine
This is made by fermenting imported grape concentrate.
BROUILLY - Red fruits, blackcurrant
One of the 10 Beaujolais crus (the best Beaujolais) made from Gamay, white grapes such Chardonnay, Aligoté & Melon are allowed (up to 15%).
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO (R)
An expensive Italian full-bodied, often tannic red wine from Tuscany. The Brunello grape is a Sangiovese clone, also known as Sangiovese Grosso.
A dry sparkling wine.
CABERNET FRANC (R) – Raspberry, herbs.
The World’s third most popular red grape, can be used on its own but often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot in the Bordeaux style.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON (R) - Blackcurrants, cedar, cigar boxes, lead pencils, green pepper, mint, dark chocolate, tobacco, olives.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the name of the grape & the superb wines it produces.
Tannic, dark French red made from a minimum of 70% Malbec &supplemented by up to 30% Merlot & Tannat.
Full, velvety Chilean deep red, the grape is a member of the Cabinet family.
Sparkling wines from Spain, generally considered to be inferior to Champagnes. The grapes traditionally used for white Cava are Macabeo, Xarello, & Parellada which give a light, fruity, perfumed wine; Subirat &Chardonnay can also be used. Reds use red Garnacha (Grenache Noir) & Monastrell.
France's most famous dry white from northern Burgundy, powerful, bone dry & often “flinty” from the Chardonnay grape.
Fine, medium-bodied, perfumed red Burgundy from the Pinot Noir grape.
A sparkling wine produced exclusively in the Champagne region of north-eastern France. Secondary fermentation in the bottle produces the high carbonation. Generally the grapes used must be the white Chardonnay, or the dark-skinned red wine grapes Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier, if the juice spends a lot of time with red grape skins the rose or red wines are produced. Dom Pérignon DID NOT invent Champagne!
CHARDONNAY (W) - Apple, pear, citrus, melon, pineapple, peach, butter, wax, honey, toast, butterscotch, vanilla, mixed spice, wet wool (Burgundy), minerals & flint (Chablis) & a long finish.
Most wines use the Chardonnay grape for the white, red wine is made from the Pinot Noir grape.
CHENIN BLANC (W) - Apples, apricots, nuts, honey, lemon, marzipan, flowers.
A versatile grape & an acidic white from the Loire Valley.
Italy's most renowned red from the Chianti region of Tuscany. The main red grapes are Sangiovese & Canaiolo, the main whites are Trebbiano & Malvasia.
The Chinon area of Loire mainly produce dry, light to medium-bodied reds & a few rosés from the Cabernet Franc grape (see Bourgueil) but up to10% Cabernet Sauvignon grape is allowed. Some dry, soft, light, & clean whites are made, mostly from the Chenin Blanc grape.
A red Bordeaux.
COLOMBARD (W) - Fruit salad, tropical fruit (Australia), lemon, grass, pineapple.
Being light in body & favour make this wine ideal for distilling to make Cognac, the Colombard grape is grown in the Cognac & Armagnac regions of France & in the USA as “French Colombard” & Australia.
CONDRIEU (W) Apricot, pear, almond.
A full-body white wine, rich in alcohol with strong flavours, one of the best whites from the Côtes du Rhône & made solely from the Viognier grape
Big, ripe, spicy, chocolaty red wine from Puglia, south Italy. Made mainly from Negroamaro (70-100%) but it can use Malvasia nera di Lecce, Montepulciano & Sangiovese (15% max.) grapes.
About 80% of the wine from southern France is quite robust reds, the rest is equally split between white & rosé.
Red & Rosé use Grenache, Syrah Carignan, Mourvèdre & Cinsault grapes the whites use Bourboulenc, Maccabeu, Grenache blanc & Marsanne.
CORNAS (R) Red fruits, liquorice, spice.
A rich, powerful red made solely from the Syrah grape on the right bank of the Rhone, facing the city of Valence.
Grand red Burgundy.
The partner of Corton – splendid, rich white Burgundy.
COSTIERES DE NIMES (R)
Full, spicy red from southern France.
A very good red from northern Rhone, more elegant & perfumed than Hermitage.
COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC (R)
Full-bodied, southern French red.
COTEAUX DU LAYON
Sweet white Loires with zingy acidity.
COTES DU CASTILLON
One of the most dynamic wines from the lesser Bordeaux districts. Medium-bodied & softly fruity.
COTES DU RHONE (R)
Basic Rhone Valley red.
COTES DU ROUSSILLON (R)
Fairly full, spicy-tasting red from the Mediterranean coast near the Spanish border.
COTES DU VENTOUX
See Cotes du Rhone.
COUNTRY WINE See wine.
Full-bodied, peppery, perfumed northern Rhone.
A French wine term that roughly translates to "growth" or "growth place", it often refers to a vineyard or wine-producing region. Cru can also refer to the grade or class of wine, i. e. Premier Cru or Grand Cru (roughly translated as First Growth or Great Growth).
Confused? Try en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cru_(wine), you will be then!
Dry, dense Portuguese red.
A semi-sweet sparkling wine.
Medium to full-bodied fruity, savoury red from Piedmont.
Some excellent red table wines, full & complex from the port-producing region of Portugal.
A sweet sparkling wine.
ENGLISH/SCOTTISH/WELSH WINE See British Wine
Good wines are now being fermented in the UK from locally grown grapes.
See Bordeaux (white)
Another of the south of France's full-bodied, spicy reds. See Corbieres.
The most popular of Beaujolais' crus & particularly perfumed. See Brouilly.
Light & relatively neutral.
FRENCH WINE CONTROL SYSTEMS
In order to control the quality of wine they produce, the French devised the following regulated wine categories:-
AOC - Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée ("Controlled term of origin" - these are not my translations.)
These are the highest quality wines. Stringent (as opposed to astringent?) rules exist for the permitted grape-varieties, the methods of growing/production, the geographical areas where this takes place, the minimum alcohol content etc. The system & products are monitored by the "Institut National des Appellations d'Origine" (INAO).
AOVDQS - Appellation d'Origine Vin De Qualité Supérieure ("Higher quality wine of origin")
This is the second best grade covering similar rules & again everything is strictly monitored
Vin de Pays ("Country wine")
A Vin de Pays growing/production area is much larger than an AOC. About 25 per cent of French wines are Vin de Pays, they are becoming more popular & are relatively cheap, perfect for most occasions. Again the winemakers must use specific grape varieties but the regulations are less restrictive than for the first two styles. For instance, these wines can list on the label which grape varieties are used while AOC wines cannot (our British Government could have thought this lot up!). All the wines are analysed & tasted before approval & acceptance as "Vin de Pays".
Vin de Table ("Table wine")
This, the lowest classification, covers almost 50% of French wines, those intended for “every day” drinking, consequently they are subjected to the least regulation. The labels do not have to mention the area of origin & the wine can be a blend of several grapes that may originate in different countries within the European Union. Wines from grapes solely grown in France are called "Vin de table Français". Wines using European grapes are called “European table wine” or the French equivalent.
Good-value red Bordeaux, robust & tannic.
GAMAY (R) Strawberry, raspberry, ground white pepper.
Basically a Beaujolais.
Medium-bodied, north Italian white.
One of the bigger, firmer red Burgundies.
GEWŰRTZTRAMINER (W) - Spice (ginger & cinnamon), Nivea cream, lychees, roses.
The pink colouring of a ripe Gewűrztraminer crop makes it easily identifiable, & the wine it makes is instantly recognisable too: golden yellow, low acidity, pungent, spicy, grapy aroma. Grows best in cooler climates where good acidity is assured, Alsace is perfect. Dry wines are usual but the bigger, richer wines may seem sweet.
Full-bodied southern red Rhone; near neighbour to Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
See Margaux or Bordeaux.
GREEK WHITES (W)
Greek white grapes have a distinctive tangy taste.
GRENACHE (R) ripe blackberries, herbs
A grape making strong wine with a velvety texture, bramble fruit & high alcohol but soft red with ripe raspberry & ground-pepper flavours, found mainly in Australia, the south of France and, as Garnacha, in Spain.
GRUNER VELTLINER (W) - Spice, dill, smoke, white pepper.
Austria's leading grape, with much of its output consumed in wine taverns as Heurige (young wine). In structure, the wine is similar to Riesling, but it has a hallmark white pepper character combined with peach & a herbal/mineral seam.
The mostly red, powerful full-bodied wines are produced on the right bank of Rhone river, in the Drôme department. from Syrah grapes with up to 15% Marsanne & Roussane, they have notes of red berries, chocolate & leather.
The full bodied white wines use Roussane & Marsanne grapes & have vanilla, lime & white flowers.
HAUTES-COTES DE BEAUNE/NUITS
IRSAI OLIVER (W)
Light-bodied, aromatic Hungarian white. The grape is a cross between the Pozsony & Pearl of Csaba grape that gives a distinctive Muscat character.
A region of southern Spain that uses Monastrell, Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Tintorera, Cencibel (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah for its reds & Airén, Macabeo, Malvasia & Pedro Ximénez for its white wines
An area to the south west of France producing 75% sweet & dry whites. The main grapes are Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng & Courbu. The dry have hints of honey, the sweet have pineapple & Cinnamon.
KABINETT (W) Green apple, pear, honeysuckle, peach, honey.
A light-bodied German wine of some quality, with gentle sweetness unless described as Trocken (bone-dry) or Halbtrocken (half-dry). The predominant grape is Riesling.
Medium-bodied white from the Lugana area of Northern Italy. It is made from a special variety of Trebbiano of Lugano grapes. These are different from the other Trebbiano varieties in other parts of Italy.
These red & white wines come from the Mâconnais section, the largest & the most southerly in Burgundy.
Fortified Portuguese wines from the Madeira Islands. The styles range from dry wines to sweet dessert wines.
There are four major types of Madeira, named according to the grape variety used. Ranging from the sweetest to the driest style they are: Malvasia (Malmsey or Malvazia), Bual (Boal), Verdelho, & Sercial.
MADIRAN (R) Black fruits, spices, toast.
Dark, tannic, full-bodied red from the centre of a white wine producing region in southwest France, it may be a bit rough when young but after a few years it turns into a sensual & tannic wine. Grapes used are Tannat (at least 40%), Cabernet Franc (Bouchy), Cabernet Sauvignon & Fer Servadou.
MALBEC (R) - Blackberries, blackcurrants, spices.
This grape is used mostly in Argentina to produce full, fruity, spicy reds with the flavour of mulberries & blackberries. In its native Cahors, southwest France, it is better known for leaner wines with dry tannins.
MARGAUX (R) Red fruits, toast, Coffee.
Medium to full-bodied Bordeaux red wines with a delicate bouquet made using Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet, Franc & Petit Verdot grapes.
MARSANNE (W) - Herbs, hazelnuts, jasmine, straw, lime marmalade.
The principal grape of Hermitage & other northern Rhone whites & is often blended with Roussanne. The grape is relatively low acidity with a high sugar content & an affinity for oak.
MALVASIA (Malvazia) (R/W) Pears, spice, fresh fruit.
Malvasia is a family of versatile grapes as several sub-varieties exist. There are white, pink & red versions & different versions of Malvasia are widely grown in Italy, Spain & Portugal.
MÉDOC & HAUT-MEDOC (R) Red fruits, spices, vanilla.
Médoc is a region on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, north of Bordeaux. Médoc is divided in two parts, the Haut-Médoc in the south, near the town, & the north part traditionally called Médoc. The wines are fruity, medium to full-bodied, dry red Bordeaux made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec & Petit Verdot grapes.
The biggest wine area of the Cote Chalonnaise, Burgundy produces medium-bodied reds from Pinot Noir grapes & medium-bodied whites from the Chardonnay.
MERLOT (R) - Plums, berries, toffee, red roses, blackcurrants, spice, rich fruit cake.
Merlot is the most widely planted red grape in France’s Bordeaux region & produces wines similar to cabernet sauvignon but softer.
MEURSAULT (W) Almond, apple, nut.
The white wines from the Meursault section of Burgundy, made with the Chardonnay grape, are among the finest in France, there is a very limited production of reds.
MINERVOIS (R/W) Red: Black currant, cinnamon, violet. White: Flowers, citrus. Rosé: Red fruits.
The village of Minerve is just North of Corbieres, southern France.
Full-bodied red wines use Aspiran, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Lledoner pelut, Mourvèdre, Piquepoul, Syrah & Terret grapes. The dry whites use Bourboulenc, Grenache, Macabeu, Marsanne, Roussanne & Vermentino & the dry, fruity rosés use a mixture of red & white.
MONBAZILLAC Honey, vanilla, apricot, orange.
Monbazillac (Montbazillac) in the south west produces some of the best sweet wines in France from Sémillon, Sauvignon & Muscadelle grapes.
One of the five villages in the Côte Chalonnaise in the Burgundy region of France that only produces white wines from the Chardonnay grape.
MONTEPULCIANO d'ABRUZZO (R)
The Abruzzo region lies due east of Rome. This popular fruity, dry wine Italian red with soft tannins varies from medium-light & fruity, to deeper, fuller (and more expensive) wines. Made from the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grape but up to 10% Sangiovese may be added
Crisp, light-bodied, fruity-flowery white Mosel (Moselle) wine is produced in three countries along the river Mosel: France, Luxembourg & Germany. Mainly white, these wines are made in some of the coldest climates used for commercial winemaking. Riesling grapes are largely used; Elbling & Müller-Thurgau can also be used.
The biggest of the Beaujolais crus.
MOURVEDRE (R) - Blackberries, game, leather.
Spain's second most important grape Mourvedre, where it is called Monastrell & Mataro in the New World
MULLER-THRURGAU/RIVANER (W) - Floral scents, privet & flowering currant leaves.
This grape was originally produced in Switzerland as a Riesling/Sylvaner cross & the wine is usually dry to semi-dry & lightly aromatic.
Muscadet is a light bodied, fruity wine that is typically quite acidic with a “musk-like taste”. Muscadet is a region in France near the mouth of the Loire river. The Melon de Bourgogne is the only grape variety permitted & the wines are usually dry but may be sweet. Note that Muscadet is quite separate from Muscat wine.
MUSCAT (W) - Elderflower, fresh grapes, peach, marmalade, rose, raisins (fortified).
This is believed to be the World’s oldest grape & comes in six main varieties that make all styles, from sparkling (Asti) to light, dry to very sweet & strong.
Navarra is a north Spanish region where the vineyards are on the lower slopes of the Pyrenees. Originally known only for it’s rosé wines, but recently it has also been producing reds & whites.
The authorised red grapes are Graciano, Tempranillo & Cabernet Sauvignon but Grenache, Merlot & Mazuelo are also permitted. The only authorised white variety is Viura, but Chardonnay, Grenache Blanca, Malvasia & Moscatel de Gano Menudo are also permitted.
NEBBIOLO (R) - Tar, liquorice, black cherries, tar, truffles, violets, prunes, bitter chocolate, fruitcake.
Nebbiolo or Nebieul is a red wine grape variety predominately associated with the Piedmont region of northwest Italy & is used for Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara & Ghemme wines.
NEGROAMARO (R) AKA Nero Amaro * Abbruzzese - Blackberries, black currants, clove, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper.
Indigenous to Puglia, Italy.
Orvieto is an Italian region north of Rome that produces fresh, medium-bodied, lightly nutty whites mainly from
Grechetto & Trebbiano grapes with a blend of Malvasia, Drupeggio, Verdello & Canaiolo Bianco grapes.
Produces some of the finest, most long-lived red Bordeaux. & Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape.
PETIT SIRAH (R) Plum, raspberry, blackberries, black pepper.
Despite its name this grape is different from the Sirah/Shiraz grape. Of French origin it is quite popular in California & is now regarded as a main grape, not just for blending, it can however be used to improve the Zinfandels.
PINOTAGE (R) - Bramble jelly, plums, soot, tar, smoke, bananas.
South Africa's own red variety, a 1925 cross between Pinot Noir & Cinsaut. The deep red wines vary from light & juicy with a bubblegum-banana flavour to bigger, more serious, tannic & oaky reds with plumy, slightly marshmallow-like fruit.
PINOT BLANC (W) - Apple, butter, sap.
This white grape is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir.
PINOT GRIS (W) Pinot Blanc - peach, stony /Pinot Gris - spice.
Again this white grape is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir & has an Italian clown known as Pinot Grigio or Pinot Bianco.
PINOT GRIS/GRIGIO (W) - Spice, honey, nuts, nougat, smoke.
Pinot Gris is a mutation of Pinot Noir with more character than Pinot Blanc. In Alsace, it produces rich, perfumed whites, with a nutty, smoky, spicy, at times honeyed character; these can be dry, sweet or botrytised. Such wines are not the stuff that drinkers familiar with pinot Grigio will know, however. Italian Pinot Grigio – that from Collio excepted – is mostly crisp, light & neutral. Pinot Gris is gaining ground in California, Australia & New Zealand.
Often called Tokay-Pinot Gris in Alsace, where it's perfumed, full-bodied & dry. In Italy it's Pinot Grigio, mostly light in body & flavour.
PINOT MEUNIER (R)
One of the three "noble" varieties used in the Champagnes where it adds fruitiness & freshness. Similar characteristics are found in Pinot Noir.
PINOT NOIR (R) - Raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, roses, violets, game, compost/farmyard, incense & spice.
The name of a grape & of a wine that is made predominantly from that grape. It is cool climate variety that makes medium to light wines sometimes of great complexity.
Bordeaux's most silky, supple, Merlot-based red.
A Boudreaux area that produces tannic full-body red wines from Pinot Noir grapes.
Usually a sweet, fortified Portuguese red wine but it also comes in dry, semi-dry & white varieties.
More than one hundred grape varieties are permitted for Port production, but Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão & Tempranillo are mostly used. White ports are produced the same way as red ports using the white grapes Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Malvasia, Rabigato, Verdelho, & Viosinho. Port wine (for example) is fortified halfway through its fermentation, which stops the process so that not all of the sugar is turned into alcohol.
Along with St-Veran, the best white Burgundy of the Macon area, they are rich & dry.
The Loire's pungent, crisp, dry sauvignon white wine.
PRIMITIVO See ZINFANDEL (R/W)
A popular dry sparkling wine, normally made from the white Glera grape the wines name is derived from a north-west Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste, where the grape is thought to have originated
Recioto della Valpolicella, (Recioto) is made in the Venitian region of Italy. These wines are made with the black Corvina Veronese, Rondinella & Molinara grapes. The two main types are Recioto, which is a sweet dessert wine, & Amarone, which is a dry red with a good body.
Traditional German Riesling region, making light wines from dry to sweet. Go by the quality/sweetness classification (Kabinett, Auslese etc). See also Mosel
RIBERA DEL DUERO (R)
This region, towards north Spain only grow the white Albillo grape for local consumption. The grapes are mostly(95%) the red Tempranillo (Tinto Fino). Small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Garnacha, Malbec & Merlot are also grown, but are mostly for blending
RIESLING (W) - Honeysuckle, green apples, spiced baked apples, quince, apricot, orange, lime (Australia), passion fruit (Australia), honey (sweet wines), minerals (Mosel), petrol (Germany), toast (Australia).
This German white grape from the Rhine region is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet & sparkling white wines with flowery, almost perfumed, aromas & high acidity.
Rioja is a region in northern Spain & is mostly known for its red wines which are typically made from around 60% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha Tinta & the rest made up with Graciano & Mazuelo grapes.
Rosé Rioja is made predominantly from the Garnacha grape & White Rioja (Rioja Blanca) is made primarily with the Viura.
Rueda lies north-west of Madrid, Spain & the most popular white grape varieties are Verdejo, Viura & Sauvignon Blanc, while the authorised red varieties are Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Grenache.
“Experimental” Chardonnay (white), Tempranillo & Cabernet Sauvignon (red) grapes are also grown.
Rueda white wine contains a minimum 50% Verdejo; the rest may be made up from Viura &/or Palomino grapes.
Rueda (Verdejo) Superior must contain a minimum 85% Verdejo & carry a vintage date.
Rueda Sauvignon may be 100% of the named variety.
Rueda Espumoso (Cava) must contain at least 85% Verdejo & carry a vintage date.
Middle-rank red & white Burgundies from the same stretch as Montagny & Mercurey.
ST AUBIN (R/W)
Saint Aubin is situated between Meursault & Puligy-Montrachet in the Burgundy region. Two-thirds of the output is in red wines from the Pinot Noir grape, the rest are whites made from Chardonnay.
ST EMMILION (R)
The oldest wine area of the Bordeaux region produces the most robust wines, made from Merlot & Cabernet Franc grapes.
ST ESTEPHE (R) Black currant. red fruits, toast.
A northern neighbour of Pauillac, these Bordeaux tannic full-body red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Carmenère & Malbec are all grown in this region.
ST JULIEN (R) Black currant, cocoa, cedar.
Southern neighbour of Pauillac in the Bordeaux region produce powerful red wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc are the main grapes grown.
ST JOSEPH (R)
Full-bodied, northern Rhone red, in this area Syrah is generally the only red grape allowed but it is allowed to add up to 10% white grapes of the Marsanne & Roussanne varieties.
ST VÉRAN (W)
From the Maconnais area of Burgundy comes this white wine made from the Chardonnay Grape.
STE CROIX du MONT (W)
Typically made from 85-95% Semillon & 15-5% Sauvignon grapes these wines from the Bordeaux area are often considered to be a sweet Sauternes understudy at about half the price.
SALICE SALENTINO (R)
Salice Salentino is a community around the “heel” of Italy that produces red & rosé wines with the same name. The Negro Amaro is the main grape supplemented by Malvasia Nera di Brindisi & Malvasia Nera di Lecce.
The Sancerre region of France is located in the eastern part if the Loire valley, here they make red, white, & rosé wines that are all light & easy-drinking.
White Sancerre, from the Sauvignon Blanc grape, is, fresh, fruity white with grapefruit, citrus & floral flavours. The rosé & reds, made from Pinot Noir, are typically light & fruity with violet & cherry flavours.
SANGIOVESE (R) - Black cherry, raspberry, plum, almond, tobacco, spices, herbs. black berry, violets.
There are at least 14 distinct clones of the red Sangiovese grape & it is the main grape of Tuscany, northern Italy. It produces wines that are spicy, with good acid levels, smooth texture & medium body such as Chianti & Brunello di Montalcino as well as the lesser Montalcino, Vino Mobile di Montepulciano & Carmignano wines.
The region of the French Loire valley is noted for making sparkling wines & for red wines made primarily from Cabernet Franc. The main variety in the white wines is Chenin Blanc.
SAUTERNES See Barsac (W)
Sauternes is a dessert wine from the Sauternes region of the Graves section in Bordeaux & made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, & Muscadelle grapes, a luscious, sweet white Bordeaux.
SAUVIGNON BLANC (W) - Gooseberries, fresh cut grass, nettles, tropical fruits (New Zealand), blackcurrant leaves, flowering currant leaves, cat's pee (not a fault), tinned asparagus or green beans (generally undesirable), stony or flinty (Upper Loire), best when young.
The white distinctive Sauvignon Blanc grape originates from the Bordeaux region of France & is now planted in most of the world's wine producing regions, to give crisp, dry, refreshing white wines.
Savennières is a commune in the Maine-et-Loire department near the Loire River in western France that produces good quality whites, mostly from the Chenin blanc grape.
A sweet sparkling wine.
SEMMILON (W) - Grass, citrus, lemon curd, lanolin, apricots, peach, honey, wax, toast.
The main white grape of the Bordeaux region makes superb wines from dry to sweet & can be found in most white wine producing countries.
A wine made from white grapes that are grown around the town of Jerez, Spain, it is then a fortified with brandy. Sherry can be sub-divided into several main categories, some are shown below:
Fino (fine) is pale & dry.
Manzanilla, a variety of Fino from around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Amontillado darker than Fino but lighter than Oloroso.
Oloroso (scented) is the strongest sherry (18-20%), long maturation & oxidization gives a darker, richer wine.
Sweet Sherry (Jerez Dulce), a dry sherry is sweetened with Pedro Ximénez or Moscatel wine.
Cream sherry a sweet sherry made from Oloroso.
Pale cream sherry (made from Fino).
Medium sherry (made from amontillado).
SYRAH/SHIRAZ (R) Spicy, blackberry, plum, raspberry, pepper, liquorice, tar, herbs, bitter chocolate & mocha.
Both names are for the same fine, red grape but NOT the same as Petit Sirah, a completely different red wine grape grown mostly in California.
One of Italy’s top selling whites is produced in the Venice area from Garganega & Trebbiano di Soave (Ungi Blanc) grapes. A light- to medium-bodied, easygoing dry wine.
Medium-dry to medium-sweet, light-bodied German wines (unless Trocken – dry) & fuller-bodied Austrian ones. Mostly made from the Riesling grape. See also German wines, & Gruner Veltliner
TANNAT Plum, spice, tobacco, smoke, raspberry.
A red grape, historically grown in the Madiran AOC, South West France but now it is one of the main Uruguayan grapes. It is also grown in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Italy & the USA.
TEMPRANILLO (TINTO FINO) (R) - Strawberries, cherries, spices, soft buttery toffee.
A black north - central Spanish grape used to make full-bodied ruby-red wines, it is the main grape used in Rioja & Ribera del Duero, Tempranillo wines can be consumed young, but the most expensive ones are aged for several years in oak barrels.
TOKAJI ASZU (W)
Tokaj (pronounced & sometimes spelled "Tokay"), is a hilly, fertile region in north-eastern Hungary, adding the “j” gives the wines their name, which means literally "from Tokaj". The very sweet is wine normally served as a dessert.
Exceptionally sweet wines, light-bodied if German, medium- to full-bodied if Austrian. Riesling grapes said to produce the best wines but Scheurebe, Ortega, Welschriesling, Chardonnay, & Gewürztraminer are also used.
Vacqueyras is located toward the southern end of the string of Rhône villages. The pain wine is full-bodied southern Rhone red that can use any of the 13 grape varieties permitted in that area but it must be at least 50%Grenache with typically 20% each of Syrah & Mourvèdre & 10% Cinsaut. Very small quantities of white & rosé Vacqueyras wines are produced.
This wine region is situated in the province of Ciudad Real in central Spain Red that grows the red Cencibel (Tempranillo), Garnacha & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes plus the white Aíren & Macabeo.
VALPOLICELLA (R) See Amarone.
Valpolicella is a light to medium-bodied Italian red with a light cherry flavour red wine made in the north-eastern Veneto region, with no more than 70% Corvina grapes, Molinara & Rondinella make up the rest.
VENDANGE TARDIVE (W)
Sweet wines, especially from Alsace. Gewurztraminer is the most common grape but Riesling, Pinot Gris, & Muscat are also used.
Verdelho is classified as a noble or classic grape & is Madeira's most widely planted white grape, it is also popular in Australia where it produces full-bodied, zesty, fruity wines.
This white grape grown in the Marche region on the mid-east coast of Italy & its name is given to the good quality, crisp, nutty flavoured wines made from it.
VIN SANTO (Holy wine) (W)
This Italian dessert wine from the Tuscany area is made from Trebbiano & Malvasia grapes.
VINHO VERDE (W)
This is Portugal's largest wine region is the Minho area at the top of the Portuguese coast. The crisp, light white wines are typically 50% Loureiro, 40% Trajadura & 10% Padernã
VINO NOBILE DE MONTEPULCIANO (R) (NOT Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)
This famous Tuscan red, with silky palate & rich cherry fruit, is lighter & cheaper than Brunello & more supple than Chianti is made typically from 70% (min - can be 100%) Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) grape, 10%-20% Canaiolo Nero & the rest made up of local grapes like Mammolo.
VIOGNIER (W) - May/lime blossom, musk, apricots, peaches, spice, citrus, apple.
A rare white grape grown almost exclusively in Condrieu in the northern Rhône region of France. The best are creamy in texture & voluptuously scented with freesias, musk, peaches, apricots & ginger.
VOLNAY (R) Red berry, Raspberry, Violet.
Red Burgundy neighbour of Pommard, but more elegant, from the Pinot Noir grape
VOSNE-ROMANEE (R) Cherry, Strawberry.
This is a commune in the Côte de Nuits area in Burgundy in eastern France. Along with Chambolle-Musigny & Gevrey-Chambertin, it produces the region's best red Burgundies, made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes.
VOUVRAY (W) Lemon, fruit, minerals, apples, pears, honey, caramel, prunes.
White Loire wines from the French commune of Vouvray east of Tours are made in a wide range of different styles but mostly sparkling wines from Chenin Blanc grapes.
WINE See wine.
Winemakers in the Napa Valley, California, who primarily grow Pinot Blanc & Pinot Grigio grapes, have developed a new hybrid grape which also acts as anti-diuretic. This is expected to reduce the bathroom trips that older people have to make during the night. This new wine, to be launched soon, is to be labelled after the grape variety, Pinot More.
ZINFANDEL/PRIMITIVO (R/W) - Ripe cherries, blackberries, cranberries, jam, black pepper, spices, herbs.
The Zinfandel & the Primitivo of southern Italy are the red same grape. The high sugar content of the grape gives high alcohol levels (often 15% or more). California's Zinfandel comes in two styles: the insipid, semi-sweet white (or “Blush” as it has a pinky colour) & the very alcoholic red, with ripe, brambly, almost porty fruit.