Types of Wine
From the acclaimed reference work, Anthony Dias Blue's Pocket Guide to Wine 2006, we are pleased to offer the world's most popular types of wine and corresponding grapes at-a-glance. (Click on any link to review current wine types in the Hinsdale Cellars inventory):
Barbera: A highly adaptable type of grape grown mostly in Italy's Piedmont region; Barbera wines have a lively cherry flavor and good acidity. The grape grows particularly well in warm climates.
Cabernet Franc: A predecessor of Cabernet Sauvignon and a well-known component of the red wines of Bordeaux. On its own, produces a dark, rich wine ... and a smooth texture.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Arguably the best known grape in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon has taken the wine industry by storm. The grape (can be) grown almost anywhere and still produce a fairly consistent and recognizable flavor. ... Look to stock your cellar with long-lived Cabernet-based Bordeaux or varietal Cabernet Sauvignons from Australia and California.
Chardonnay: Most popular of all the white grapes, responsible for both the gorgeous, minerally white wines of Burgundy and the rich, tropical fruit flavors of California Chardonnay.
Grenache: Planted exhaustively in Spain (especially in Priorat) under the name Garnacha Tinta, this heat-loving grape is also used in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Interesting to note, of all the types of wine, this one in particular is extremely high in alcohol and rich in spicy flavors of pepper, gingerbread and coffee.
Malbec: Rooted in southwestern France but now associated with Argentina, where it is used to produce rich, deep purple wines with lush fruit and great structure.
Merlot: Originally grown in Bordeaux and often used to soften the character of Cabernet Sauvignon in red blends, Merlot has taken center stage in the United States as a smooth, soft, drinkable red wine low in tannins. The best French examples can be found in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion.
Mourvedre: Known in Spain as Monastrell but is more prominent in southern France, where it is blended with Grenache.
Nebbiolo: The better wines can last several decades and only deepen with time. Both Barbaresco and Barolo are 100% Nebbiolo.
Petite Sirah: A genetic cross between Syrah and Peloursin, this grape originates in France, and is now widely grown in California. It produces a savory blackberry fruit flavor and rich-colored wine that mixes especially well with Zinfandel.
Pinot Noir: grown as early as the first century. This grape produces some of the world's most magnificent wine. The gold standard for this varietal is wines from Burgundy's Cote d'Or. The best New World locations are Oregon, California's Russian River Valley and Santa Barbara regions.
Riesling: A highly undervalued varietal capable of producing stunning white wine of amazing intensity, depth, and finesse.
Sangiovese: The mainstay grape of Chianti ... is often blended with other local varieties, or with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce Super Tuscans. The large-berried Sangiovese Grosso clone is the basis of the celebrated Brunello di Montalcino wines.
Sauvignon Blanc: A staple in France's Loire Valley, where it excels in appellations such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. ... Although a late bloomer, New Zealand in recent years has become a major producer of quality wine from this variety.
Syrah: This huge, juicy, powerful grape grown in the Rhone Valley has become one of today's most popular international varieties. Enjoys great success in Australia (where it is known as Shiraz), is undergoing an explosion of planting in California, and is becoming important in many other regions as well.
Tempranillo: The workhorse of Spain's Rioja and Ribera de Duero, Tempranillo makes juicy wine that is terrific when young, and becomes deep and rich with a few years of age.
Viognier: Planted originally in the Rhone region of France ... Viognier is now grown with great success in Australia, California and Italy. The best wines made with this type of varietal are lushly floral and filled with apricot fruit.
Zinfandel: Generally associated with California, Zinfandel's origins have been traced ... to Croatia. The Primitivo of Italy is genetically identical. Zinfandel is also being grown with success in Australia's Margaret River region.
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