What are They?
Varietal wines are typically more expensive and of higher quality
than generic wines. They are named after the single variety of grape
that makes up at least 75% of the wine. Most high-quality wines
are closer to 100%.
Medium-bodied with fruity flavors and strong red color.
Franc (Cab-Air-nay FrahN): Often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon
or Bordeaux to add bouquet.
Sauvignon: (Cab-air-nay So-veen-Yo): Most popular red wine grape
used in many American and "foreign" red blends, or as
a 100% varietal. Its high tannin content makes it ideal for aging,
to produce great reds. Medium- to full-bodied with deep red color.
Plum, black pepper and berry-like aromas and flavors.
(Shar-BOE-noe): Simple, robust red wine.
Boe-zho-lay): Light, fruity and slightly sweet wine. It should
be consumed within one or two years of its harvest. The French drink
(Grey-NAHSH): Used in red blends. Often used to produce rose
Used in red blends. Full-bodied, smooth and mellow with spice, plum
and cherry flavors.
(Nay-BYOH-low): Intense aromas and flavors of black fruit.
(Pee-noe moe-Nyah): Often used in Champangne. Infrequently seen as a varietal alone.
(Pee-noe-Nwahr): Cherry red color, complex, light, to medium-bodied
with light tannin. Velvety texture, cherry flavors.
(Peh-tee See-rah): Rich, dark color, aromatic, high in tannin.
(Sahn-joe-VAY-zeh): Hearty, dry, with flavors of black cherry.
Also known as Syrah (see below).
Rich, dark color, aromatic, high in tannin. Age-worthy wine.
(Vahl-poe-lee-CHEL-ah): Light-bodied, robust, ranges from sweet
(Veht-DEEY-yo): Tart and suffused with an appealing bitter-almond
(Zin-fahn-DELL: Semi-sweet to sweet. Fruity, floral, spicy in
aroma and taste. Made into a "Blush" or "Rose"
from the Zinfandel grape, but fermented without the red skins.
(Zin-fahn-DELL): Medium- to full-bodied. Fruity and spicy, flavors
and scents of black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, currant and cinnamon.
Most popular and well-known white wine grape, with its origin in
Burgundy, produces a dry, complex wine, medium- to full-bodied,
and varies from green apple to pineapple and tropical aromas and
flavors. When aged in oak, it may produce typical flavors of vanilla
(Shey-naN BlaN): Light-bodied wine, ranging from dry to semi-sweet,
with flavors of honeydew and melon.
(Cole-um-bar): Inexpensive, slightly sweet wine. Should be drunk
(Foo-may-BlahN): Dry Sauvignon Blanc like white wine, invented
by Robert Mondavi in the 1970s.
(Geh-VERTZ-trah-mee-nur): Floral aroma. Ranges from semi-sweet
to dry, with some spice (Gewuerz). Alsace-grown shows more characteristics
of Gewuerztraminer than grown in any other wine region.
(Mew-lehr Toor-gow): Slightly lighter than Riesling. Aromatic,
semi-sweet to dry.
(Moos-cah-day): Light, dry white with cantaloup aromas.
Sweet, fruity. Musky and grapefruit aromas.
(Pee-noe-BlahN): Slightly fruity, medium-bodied.
(Pee-noe Gree): Dry, crisp and acidic with musky aroma. (French
name for Pinot Grigio - see below).
(Pee-noe Gree-joe): Italian name for Pinot Gris (see above).
(REESE-ling): Slightly sweet and acidic. Floral aroma and flavor
Blanc (So-veen-yawn Blahn): Light-bodied, medium dry, fragrant,
crisp, fruity and grassy in aroma and flavor.
(SHOY-ray-beh): Cross between Sylvaner and Riesling.
(Say-mee-yoN): Medium-bodied, grassy, ranging from dry to sweet,
sometimes slightly musky.
(Vee-ohn-yay): Light with floral scent. Enjoy when young.
(reese-ling): Also known as Johannesburg Riesling (see Riesling