Wine is without a doubt one of the oldest forms of alcoholic beverage in the world. Humans have been cultivating wine grapes since the Neolithic era! There are now over 10,000 varieties of wine grape in the world but only a few dozen have climbed to world-renowned fame. Our goal today is to help you identify which grape or varietal is right for your palate.
Let’s start with the red wine grape varietals, shall we?
Cabernet Sauvignon is found in a lot of French wines from Bordeaux and usually comes blended with merlot or cabernet franc. Cabernet Sauvignon can also be found in varietals from America such as Californian Reds. This grape has strong tannin flavors and this means the wine is very full-bodied and can usually have flavors of blackcurrant, cocoa, or spices.
A superb grape varietal, Merlot is now grown throughout the world. It has a beautiful fruity flavour with hints of plum and blueberry and in general, the wine it produces is soft and velvety on the palate. The grape is primarily used as a blending grape in some Bordeaux wines. A great introductory wine for those who want to start experimenting with wine flavours before settling on a favourite.
A red wine grape made famous by the Southern Rhone region in France. It ripens easily with a high alcohol volume but wow does it pack a fruitful bouquet! It is suggested that this wine is served chilled to cut through the high alcohol and also not served with spiced food.
- Pinot Noir
A VIP grape. This particular varietal of grape is very difficult to grow, meaning that usually comes with a higher-than-average price point. It does however offer beautiful flavours of pomegranate and red cherry for those willing to part with the extra few euro. This powerful wine is best served with grilled fish dishes but it can also hold its own with roast chicken or beef.
This is a two-sided grape. It’s known as Syrah in European countries and Shiraz in Australian regions. Due to the higher heat in Australia, the Shiraz ripens quicker and with higher alcohol than the European Syrah, however, both give notes of olives and violet. This grape is one that works well with BBQ meat dishes such as ribs or a rack of lamb.
A beautiful Malbec can usually be found in the South American country of Argentina. The wine this grape produces is a deep purple in color with a lot of dark fruit flavours such as black cherry and subtle chocolate overtones. Most Malbec wines will pair nicely with cheese boards or lean red meat dishes.
A similar grape to Cabernet Sauvignon as it’s part of the Cabernet family, but with a stronger note of green pepper. This grape is herbal and spicy with lots of red fruit aromas and chocolate tones. Best to serve this wine with grilled meats and steak dishes to really make the flavours combine.
And finally the white wine grape varietals:
- Sauvignon Blanc
A crisp and aromatic white wine grape mainly harvested in New Zealand and the Loire Valley in France. Being a light and fresh wine, it is best paired with fish or cheese dishes and can be served slightly chilled to really bring out its fresh and vibrant fruit flavours.
One of the most world-renowned white wine grapes, it has different characteristics depending on the region it’s grown from. In general, it is citrusy and floral and carries a light aroma on its own. It can in some cases also be buttery and rich depending on how it has been prepared by the vineyard.
A white wine grape that is native to Germany but has made some of the world’s age-worthy wines. This grape is high in acidity with a variety of styles from sparkling to dry and sweet. A great wine to serve with Spicy foods such as curries and stir frys.
- Pinot Grigio
A crisp and citrusy dry white wine that is known for its value. The wine itself usually tends to have higher alcohol but additional hints of sweetness to accompany them. This white wine is best paired with Pizzas, freshly cured meats and fresh fruits.