Chablis is made with Chardonnay, a grape that grows well in the north Burgundy region of France. Chablis wine is brisk and fruity, very dry and has a refreshing acidity. In the nose, there are flavors of green apple and lemon. In the mouth, Chablis delivers aromas of vanilla, lemon and linden. When Chablis is older, it has a golden color and is spicy.
Chablis is recommended with grilled fish, but is also a good companion with white meat and even curry.
Chardonnay is a green skinned grape, believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France. The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the elegant, "flinty" wines of Chablis to rich, buttery Meursaults and New World wines with tropical fruit flavors. Chardonnay takes oak well and is typically fermented and/or aged in oak barrels. When Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, it may pick up vanilla overtones in it’s aroma and flavor. Wines made from Chardonnay grapes are usually served chilled.
Chardonnay wine matches well with chicken and with dishes that are served with a lot of butter or a cream sauce. Most Chardonnay’s lack the acid to match well with seafood.
Chenin Blanc is a white grape that is commonly grown in the Loire Valley of France, South Africa, and California in the United States. This grape produces wines that are fragrant and high in acid. Chenin Blanc can make wines that range in style from dry to very sweet depending on decisions made by the winemaker. Due to the high acidity in wines made from Chenin Blanc grapes, they tend to age very well. The taste of the wine is fruity and well balanced due to its high acidity.
This wine compliments dessert dishes wonderfully.
Columbard buds early and is possibly the offspring of Gouais Blanc and Chenin Blanc. This grape is used extensively in blending. It produces a crisp, moderately dry, spicy wine that goes well with lightly seasoned dishes.This wine should be drunk young (roughly under 4 years) and should always be served chilled.
This wine tastes excellent with some light fish or poultry.
Gewurztraminer is one of Germany’s best known varieties its name translates to “spice.” It is naturally high in sugar and well balanced in acidity. Typically off-dry with aromas of roses, passion fruit and floral notes.
This wine pairs well with spicy Asian and Caribbean entrees, roast pork, Muenster and Roquefort cheese.
Malvasia, one of Italy’s most widely planted grapes, has its origins in ancient Greece. Malvasia Bianca, a white grape, is the most common variety, though there is red Malvasia as well. White Malvasia grapes make smooth and lightly viscous wines, aromatic and with notes of tropical fruits, that can be dry or sweet. In central Italy, Malvasia Bianca has traditionally been added to both white and red wine blends to boost body and flavor.
Pairs well with fried snacks and entrees, salads with fruits and nuts, fresh summer fruits, and Chèvre.
This color of grape ranges from white to near black. The breadth and number of varieties of Muscat suggest that it is perhaps the oldest domesticated grape variety, and there are theories that most families within the Vitis vinifera grape family are descended from the Muscat family. This family of grapes makes wines that are generally sweet and very floral. This is the grape used to produce Asti Spumante, which is a sweet sparkling wine from Italy.
This grape produces a fantastic wine that compliments a variety of desserts.
Palomino is a white grape widely grown in Spain and South Africa, and best known for its use in the manufacture of sherry. The wine-must has tendency to oxidize quickly, a characteristic that can be ignored when used for sherry production. The Palomino grape produces a wine of very bland and neutral characteristics. This neutrality is actually what makes Palomino an ideal grape because it is so easily enhanced by the Sherry winemaking style.
This wine compliments light fish and seafood appetizers.
High-quality German Riesling, Alsace Riesling and Riesling wines from select U.S. regions are some of the world’s great wines. Because Riesling is rarely made with oak or blended with other grapes, its dry wines showcase the varietal’s pure green apple, citrus and peach flavors with bright and refreshing acidity; sweeter versions offer unique flavors of tropical fruit, honey, spice, smoke and sometimes even a hint of petrol.
In Germany, where the variety originates, Riesling wine labels indicate five different sweetness categories: Kabinett (dry to off-dry), Spätlese (sweet), Auslese (sweeter), Beerenauslese (very sweet) and Trockenbeerenauslese (super sweet). Winemakers in nearby Alsace, France, are known more for their dry Riesling wines.The Riesling grape also performs quite well in parts of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, California and New York. Washington, too, has distinguished itself with top-quality Rieslings that show a superb balance of ripeness and acidity, producing all styles, from crisp, dry versions to rich, sweet late-harvest wines. Late-harvest Riesling wines can be gloriously rich and complex, with the ability to age in the bottle and develop nutty, honeyed qualities. German, Austrian and Canadian ice wines are made with grapes left to freeze on the vine so that sugars are concentrated and water, in the form of ice crystals, separates out when the grapes are pressed. The result is a syrupy, yet pure and refreshing wine with citrus, peach and apricot flavors. German and Alsace winemakers also make Riesling dessert wines using grapes that dry on the vine with Botrytis fungus, making deliciously complex creations with apricot, citrus, tropical fruit, honey and almond flavors.
Riesling pairs well with poached chicken, roast pork, ham, duck, seafood salad, and fruit salad.
The Sauvignon Blanc grape produces wines of distinction in most of the areas where it is grown. It originates from the Bordeaux region of France and it can tolerate greater heat than many varieties. These grapes are higher in acid and often exhibit melon in the nose and tastes. Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with small amounts of Semillion in order to 'round-out' the taste of the wine. Depending on the climate, the flavor can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. Wine experts have used the phrase "crisp, elegant, and fresh" as a favorable description of Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blanc is especially delightful when served with Seafood.
Semillion ripens earlier in the season than most grapes and is less likely to be damaged by rains or frosts. It produces wines that are full flavored, rich, and aromatic. Semillion is most often blended with other varieties (Sauvignon Blanc) to take advantage of the strengths of each variety. Whether in the sweet wines or in the dryer wines, Semillion has the ability to age for a very long time.
Semillion is recommended to be served with a white fish with light seasoning.
Thompson Seedless is the United States name for this grape, however this grape is originally known as Sultana originating from a mix of Greek and Turkish. These raisins have a delicate and unique flavor and are especially noted for their sweetness and golden color.
Thompson Seedless compliments rich and heavy desserts.
This grape is a cross of Grenache and Petit Bouschet. This grape has red flesh. Its deep color makes it useful for blending with light red wine. Alicante’s thick skin made it resistant to rot during the transportation process. However, the grapes acidity can be problematic because its acidity is too high in cooler regions, but too low in warmer regions. This grape is primarily used as a blending grape where color and tannin are needed.
This wine is recommended with light poultry.
This is a red wine grape with a high acid level. This wine includes light tannin levels, deep garnet colors and medium to full body. When served young, this wine offers a very intense aroma of fresh red and blackberries. When grown in warmer areas, it develops high sugar levels and because of this the alcohol levels in the wine can get too high. Its primary use around the world is as a blending agent to bring increased acidity to the final wine.
Barbera wine is recommended with poultry.
Originated from the Burgundy region of France, the reds of Burgundy are primarily made from Pinot Noir grapes.
Burgundy wine compliments pork and spicy food.
This grape is grown for blending Cabernet Sauvignon. However this wine is much lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, leaving the Franc a pale red color and contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes.
Cabernet Franc goes well with pork, lamb, poultry and spicy foods.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the premier wine grape of the world. This grape produces distinctive wines that are tannic and can have long aging potential. The average using potential for Cabernet Sauvignon is between 5 to 10 years in order to achieve peak flavor. It is usually blended with other varieties to make wines with increased complexity.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a small dark thick skinned grape that gives average yields. It needs slightly warmer growing conditions in order to achieve maturity. DNA testing shows that it is descended from Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc.
A variety of food balances well with this wine.
Carignane is a red wine grape that is used as a component of blended wines. It is a late budding grape which requires a warm climate to achieve full ripeness. In winemaking, the grape is often used as a deep coloring component in blends. However, this grape is difficult for winemakers due to it being high in acidity, tannins, and astringency.
This wine goes well with most poultry.
Carmenère wine is the signature red of Chile. The Carmenère grape flourishes in Chilean valley vineyards tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains. Chile’s Carmenère vines came from their native Bordeaux, where they would be wiped out by the phylloxera root louse in the late 1800s. Chilean winemakers originally assumed the vines were Merlot; it was not until 1994 that scientists proved many of them were in fact Carmenère, alive and well in Chile. Chilean winemakers produce Carmenère wines that are fruity, spicy and low in tannins. When aged in oak, Carmenère adopts some earthy, smoky qualities. Though Carmenère is now made most often as a varietal wine, some winemakers are looking to the grape’s French history and using it once more in Bordeaux-style red wine blends.
Carmenere wines go well with braised beef, lamb, sausages, chicken, game, sweet potatoes, and corn.
The Carnelian grape variety was created by the University of California in 1972 to create a grape for hot climates that still possessed some of the characteristics of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. It is a cross between the Carignane and the Cabernet Sauvignon that was then further crossed with the Grenache.
Carnelian wine compliments pork and lamb.
This is a very sweet grape. It produces wines that in their youth, are fruity, full in flavor, and have overtones of spice. Wines made from these grapes are usually light in color and are often made of blends with other grape varieties. The Grenache grape resists heat and can tolerate limited rainfall.
Grenache makes an excellent dish with roast lamb.
Malbec makes a dry spicy wine. Powerful character with blackberry, plum, red pepper, sweet cherry, spice licorice, and deep bittersweet notes, almost like unsweetened chocolate or espresso.
Malbec pairs nicely with a roast, braised or grilled beef; pizza and pastas with tomato sauce.
Merlot grapes are lower in tannins and makes wines that mature faster and are softer in texture. Merlot is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon in order to soften the blend. Merlot develops a wine that is dry, rich in flavor and smooth as it finishes in your throat. Merlot should be served slightly below room temperature.
Merlot makes a nice drink with veal, lamb, and sausage.
These are dark skinned grapes that prefer warm climates and these grapes make a very light color red wine. The Mission grape has high sugar levels and very little acidity. Mission grapes tend to make bland table wines.
This wine compliments most poultry dishes.
This grape is deeply colored, rich and concentrated with flavors of zesty cherry, clove, wild blackberry, raspberry and spice. This wine is most enjoyable while it’s young, fresh and sweet.
Primitivo wine taste delightful with pasta dishes and poultry.
This is actually a Durif grape that’s a cross between Syrah and Peloursin. This grape grows in very tight bunches and is suspect-able to rotting. The Petit Syrah wine is rich, strong and colored with aromas of pepper and violet.
Red meat compliments Petit Syrah to tame the tannins in the wine.
The red Petit Verdot grape makes rich, concentrated wine with deep color, high tannins, violet aromas and spicy flavors. These Petit Verdot characteristics make the grape a useful accent to many wine blends, particularly in the variety’s native Bordeaux.
In the New World, many winemakers, including some in California, also use Petit Verdot to enrich Bordeaux-style blends. But others, as far away as Australia and as close to home as Virginia, are exploring the potential of Petit Verdot to make elegant and rich varietal wines.
These wines pair nicely with beef, lamb, pork, game, sausages, and hard cheeses.
Pinot Noir is the primary red grape in France’s Burgundy region, and it makes some of the world’s most sought-after and age-worthy wines – particularly those from the limestone soils of the Côte d’Or. Each village there claims to produce wines with unique characteristics related to its particular terroir.
But great Pinot Noir wine is made in many locations. There are excellent examples from California’s Carneros and Russian River Valley regions, as well as Oregon’s Willamette Valley and New Zealand.
The best Pinot Noir boasts delicate, sometimes sour, cherry and strawberry flavors with some spice, presenting medium to low acidity and relatively light tannins. Oaked versions may also have smoke, vanilla and toast flavors, which develop with age. Winemakers rarely blend it, though Pinot Noir grapes are a key component in Champagne and other sparkling wines, where they add body and flavor, and color for rosé versions.
Pinot Noir, vulnerable to extreme cold, extreme heat, rot and vineyard pests, is relatively difficult to grow. The grapes’ thin skins demand exceptionally gentle handing to prevent damage to the final wine. The grape is so prone to mutation that it has even spawned entirely new varieties, including Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier. As a result, farmers must select from dozens of Pinot clones when planting (the best known is the Pommard clone, named for the fabled Burgundy appellation). But farmers and winemakers endure these challenges because the final result, as you’ll see, is often very rewarding.
Pinot Noir pairs well with lean roast beef, roast chicken, duck, salmon, lamb and mushroom dishes.
This is a red wine grape that is valued for its drought resistance. It is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignane. This grape can produce wines with excellent color and a pleasant cherry flavor, but it is mostly blended into bulk wines.
A variety of food matches excellently with this wine, such as meat dishes, pasts dishes, pizza, and cheese.
This is the primary grape used to make Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. This grape produces wines that are spicy, with good acid levels, smooth texture and medium body. In the right climates and with controlled yields, Sangiovese can be made into a very structured full bodied wine. Sangiovese is usually blended with other grapes for best results.
This wine compliments well with Italian foods. Lots of pasta, chicken, cheese and bread.
This dark skinned grape produces full, rich wines of intense color and flavor. In warm climates the grape is ripper and sweeter, but in cooler climates the grape has more pepper and spice.Syrah usually becomes drinkable usually after 2 years.
Red meats and spicy foods taste wonderfully with Syrah.
The Valdepena grape is native to Spain and is prized for the smooth, ripe wines it produces. The grape is thick skinned and deep red in color with generous amounts of natural acid. These grapes produce juice which tends to be medium to deep red in color.
Valdepena serves well with pasta or meat dishes.
These think-skinned grapes grow in tight bunches. The Zinfandel grape can make solid red wines with good fruit structure. The grapes high sugar content can be fermented into levels of alcohol exceeding 15%. The taste however depends on the ripeness of the grape.
This is a summer favorite with barbecues and cheese.