Most would consider the wine-making regions of France to be the epitome of modern day wine. For that, we have to thank the Roman Empire for making wine their staple for every meal, planting vines anywhere there was a garrison town. Ave, Julius Caesar!
Now let us learn about the grapes from which fermented goodness is made!
Here are some better known grape varieties and a brief note about them!
flowers, cherry, meaty, raspberry, cabbage
Mainly associated with Burgundy where it strives and is known to express the terroir* distinctly, it is grown all around the world although it is not easy to cultivate and turn into wine. Even then, its expressiveness of flavors is very attractive and thus became a well-known varietal. Taste!
aromatic, honey, bouquet, expressive
Considered a noble grape in Germany, this white grape is known for the sweet wines it produces although there is a range from dry to sweet. This old variety goes back to the 15th century! When aged enough, it is known to have notes of petroleum. Taste!
peppery, dark chocolate, tannic, blackberry
Hailing from Rhône region of Southeastern France, this lovable varietal is grown all over and is called Shiraz in Australia and New Zealand. It is thought to have originated from a Persian city named Shiraz which produced the Shirazi wine. One of the most famous Syrah is Hermitage from Rhone valley. Taste! (Note: This is the grape I am currently growing.)
Blackcurrant, dense, tannic, cedar
Blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this grape gave the famous Bordeaux wines their name. It is easily cultivated with thick skin and sturdy vines making it prominent every where it reaches. Strongly influenced by the climate it is grown in, it can have a green bell pepper taste when underripe due to pyrazines. Taste!
buttery or creamy, vanilla, oak, tropical fruit (warm)
This highly vigorous varietal requires aggressive pruning but nonetheless is a prominent grape in the world of wine. Used to make sparkling Champagne, this grape can express itself as light and crisp from Chablis to having flavors of tropical fruits and honey in others. As the main grape used to make a white Burgundy, one might find it very different from the Californian Chardonnays. Taste!
jammy, plum, berries, cedar
Fruity and soft, it go hand in hand with Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux wines. The name is thought to have come from the old french word for young blackbird, reflecting the color of its fruit. It is cultivated in areas where Cabernet Sauvignon is grown, in the cooler area as it tend to ripen early in warmer climate.
For more grapes, check out the Quest list!