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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The International Grape Varieties.

In the picture: Ripe Cabernet Sauvignon grape on the vine.

"International Grape Varieties", is a loose term used for those grapes which have an international reputation for their varietal wines. These grape varieties are planted in almost every major wine region in which they stand a chance of ripening. All these varieties have originally been grown and cultivated in Europe mainly France, although various wines from Italy are now making it to this category as well as maybe one variety from Spain. These countries form the "Old World" of wine, and these varieties have been grown from cloned rootstock in the "New World" of wine countries such as the USA mainly California; Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand are the main growers, but there are many other countries who also grow these grapes for winemaking.

I am listing here the recognised international varieties and giving also the region and/or country of origin:

The Red Wine Varietals:
Cabernet Sauvignon - Bordeaux, France.
Merlot - Bordeaux.
Pinot Noir - Burgandy, France.
Syrah - Rhone Valley, France.
Nebbiolo - Piedmont, Italy.
Sangiovese - Tuscany, Italy.
Tempranillo - Spain.

The White Wine Varietals.
Chardonnay - Burgandy, France.
Sauvignon Blanc - Bordeaux; The Loire Valley, France.
Riesling - Alsace, France.
Rheingau, Rhine and Mosel, Germany.
Muscat - France (anywhere).
Gewurztraminer - Alsace, France.
Semillon - Bordeaux, France.
Viognier - Languedoc, France.
Pinot Blanc - Alsace, France.
Pinot Gris - Burgandy, France.

Other French grape varieties that are also grown internationally, but to a lesser extent are:
Cabernet Franc; Cinsault; Gamay; Greanche; Mourvedre'; Carignan; Malbec and Carmenere for the red grape varietals;
Chenin Blanc; Clairette; Muscadelle; Ugni Blanc and Malmsey for the white grape varietals.

Of these the following are considered to be Nobel Grapes, that is, once pressed to make wine, they do not require the addition of sugar to increase the alcoholic content as the natural sugar in the grape itself is more than sufficient:
The Nobel Grape Varietals:
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon; Nebbiolo; Merlot; Pinot Noir; Sangiovese.
White: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc; Gewurztraminer; Malmsey; Muscat; Riesling; Sauvignon Blanc; Semillon and Sercial.

The above grape varieties together with the topic on the Italian Wine Grapes in the topic prior to this, gives the wine lover a thorough insight into which grapes make the finest wines, and a better knowledge of varieties and different tastes. I shall be giving you here, a series of different wine choices produced by these grape varieties from different producers as well as from different countries, taste-tests and ratings, as well as pairing with food.