When it comes to wines, we often think of what cheeses are best to pair it with. Rarely do we think of where the wine originates. Many things go into what makes a wine a specific wine. One of the most important things that makes a wine a wine is the grape. Below is a review on what types of grapes make which wines.
The Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most renowned grape varieties, primarily for its contribution to Bordeaux and Meritage wines. The grape owes its existence to a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 1600s in France. The most commonly noted flavors are blackcurrants and cedar, but the grape has earned a reputation for its affinity for oak, a wood that contributes a flavor profile of vanilla and spice.
The Merlot grape, which is so richly blue that it appears black, has earned its popularity thanks to its vast flexibility. It is famous for its use in Bordeaux wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. The Merlot ripens early, and gives off a deep flavor of plum, cherry, and blackberry.
This Spanish grape is one of the most popular white wine grapes in the world (620,000 acres worth) and represents over 30% of the grapes grown in all of Spain. Thanks to its super-high sugar content, the Airen grape is actually used a great deal in producing brandy. But Spain’s decreasing popularity in white wines has meant decreasing production levels for the sugary Airen.
Another Spanish grape, the Tempranillo is a black grape that ripens earlier than most other red grapes in Spain. It has a full-bodied berry profile that has made it a critical component of flavorful Rioja blends. At the same time, it’s neutral profile makes it an ideal blending grape for wines like Grenache, Carignan, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
This classic green-skinned grape holds a third of the responsibility for Champagne production in France and is also well-known for its contribution to Pinot noir and Pinot blanc. Interestingly, the Chardonnay grape has become so popular for white wine production that there are now over 30 clonal varieties that vineyard owners plant based on the specific characteristics they seek in their vintage.