Types of Red Wines & White Wines

Types of Red Wines & White Wines

The type of grape used in the making of wines determines its varietals. Below is a helpful guide to the classic grape varieties:


Barbarossa is a type of red wine found mostly in Italy, France, as well as, surrounding Balkan areas. This is also called Barbaroux, Malaga Rose and Grec Rouge. Barbarossa features wines that are robust and utterly aromatic with adequate aging potential.


Mostly grown in warm coastal regions like Piedmont and northern Italy, the Barbera wines feature lively cherry flavor and excellent acidity. It has been imported into the United States. Barbera is renowned for its deep intense ruby color, high acidity, marginal tannins level. It has also been utilized in California as “backbone” for the “jug” wines. Much older vines of Barbera still exist in some regional vineyards, producing wines that are long-aging, intense, and supple with greater tannic content.


Cabernet Franc is considered the parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon. This grape is usually seen in places featuring cool and damp climatic conditions. The Loire region of southwest France is one of the places with Cabernet Franc. In some cases too, Bordeaux wines are combined to Cabernet. Cabernet Franc wines are known for their deep purple color, smooth texture, distinctive aroma and rich flavor.


Cabernet Sauvignon belongs to the cohort of the “noblest” grape alongside Merlot, Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes can be planted anywhere. They are blended with other varieties to produce the famous French Bordeaux region wines. In the United States, Long Island and northern California achieved successful production of this wine. Depending on the climate of the particular area, Cabernet Sauvignon may feature high acidity levels or sugar contents, even lower optimum acid levels.


Originally found in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, France, the Carmenere features intense deep red wines of more subtle tannins and medium body. Other famous vineyard that produces such variety is in Santiago region in Chile, South America.


Chardonnay is popular for its fruity flavors and clean structure. Its origin is in the Burgundy and Chablis regions. Chardonnay is also celebrated for its mid-seasoning ripening and versatility. It can be paired with just about any cuisine or dishes in the menu. In France, Chardonnay is recognized for being the sole vine responsible for the delightful white Burgundy.


Chenin Blanc, Steen or Pineau de la Loire, as other people would regard it is a white-wine producing variety that is used in making sparkling wines and dessert wines. Chenin Blanc originated in the Anjou region of France. It is an acidic grape that can be made into fine sweet wines.


Freisa is a grape varietal that grows in the Piedrmont region of Italy. Freisa creates wines that are both dry and sweet.


Gamay may pertain to Gamay Noir, Gamay Beaujolais and Napa Gamay. Some of these varieties were thought to be the true Pinot Noir of Burgundy up until they were finally determined to be clones of grapes.


Gamay Beaujolias is a California grape variety of early-ripening clone. They grow remarkably well in temperate climates of northwest United States.


Alternate name for the Grenache grape in Spain.


Gewürztraminer is an excellent wine grape variety that is also referred to as Traminer Rot. This grape is renowned for its strong floral aroma and lychee flavor. It is comparable to the Johannesburg Riesling. Gewurz can also be made into “botrytized” late harvest dessert wines. Gewurz fairs remarkable well in cooler coastal areas of United States, Australia and New Zealand.


Regarded to be synonymous to Alicante of south of France and Guarnaccia of Ischia DOC, Campania, Italy, Grenache is widely planted in Spain. Grenache is used in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, along with Mourvedre, Cinsuat, among others. This grape variety features crisp acidity, high alcohol content and earthy overtones.


Also known as White Riesling in New York state (USA), Ontario and British Columbia (Canada), Riesling in Germany, Rheinriesling in Austria, Riesling Renano in Italy and Rhine Riesling in Australia. This is a highly undervalued varietal which can produce wines of flowery, fruit dry quality to semi-dry with residual sugar. Riesling can be found in Germany, Finger Lakes region of New York, Niagara region of Ontario,


Malbec has its origins in the Bordeaux region of France. It has also been recognized as Médoc Noir, Côt or Pressac and Auxerrois. Malbec is also available in the cooler regions of California and Argentina. It features such appreciative intensity and depth. It is blended with Merlot and cabernet Sauvignon to create the French Bordeaux “claret” blend.


Originally grown in the Bordeaux region of France, and possess queer resemblance to Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot matures earlier than Cabernet. It is a popular varietal and is also used as constituent of red wine similar to Bordeaux claret called Meritage. Washington and Long Island are able to produce Merlot successfully. Other countries like Chile, Argentina and New Zealand are also conducive places for Merlot.


Muscat is another clone vine that features red and white variety. It possesses strong aromatic character. The Muscat family includes Muscat Blanc, Muscadel and Moscato di Canelli. Muscat is often made into medium-sweet and dessert table wines,


The grape varietal that can be accounted for the excellent wines of Piedmont region Italy. It also includes vinified “Barolo”, “Gattinara”, “Barbaresco” and “Ghemme”. These wines take several decades to deepen.


Petite Sirah is a genetic cross between Syrah and Peloursin. It produces wines of dark red, strong tannic character. Laced with savory blackberry fruit flavor. It is often used as backbone for Central Valley “jug” wines.


The premier grape of the Burgundy region of France, producing a red wine that is lighter in color than the Bordeaux reds such as the Cabernet's or Merlot. It has proved to be a capriciously acting and difficult grape for N. American wineries, best results being obtained in cool, fog-liable regions such as the Carneros region of northern California. The worlds best "quality" wines are reputed to result from a mixing of suitable clones; a common practice in Burgundy, France. Cherished aromas and flavors often detected in varietal wines include cherry, mint, and raspberry.


This grape has been widely grown and successful in South Africa since its release in 1925. Also currently grown in Brazil, Canada, California (USA), Virginia (USA) and Zimbabwe. Also grown in some quantity on New Zealand's North Island where it is used to produce flavorsome, early-maturing wines that are considerably less concentrated or complex than South African versions.


Synonym name of the Pinot Gris where grown in Italy. Planted extensively in the Venezia and Alto-Adige regions where it can produce crisp, dry wines with good acid "bite".


Mutant clone of Pinot Noir. Have several synonym names in France, eg. Fromentau in the Languedoc, Malvoisie in the Loire or Pinot Beurot in the Burgundy region where it is selectively used in blends because it produces high sugars. In Germany and Austria it is known as the Ruländer or Grauer Burgunder where it is used to make pleasant, young, white wines in the southern regions. Similar aliases are used in the German settled regions of Australia. In northeastern Italy it is known as Pinot Grigio. Versions named Auxerrois Gris and Tokay d'Alsace are also grown in the Alsace where the latter variety is used to make a golden-yellow wine with aromatic, fruity flavors that improves with a couple of years in the bottle - (not to be confused with the Hungarian Furmint grape used to make the famous "Tokaji" sweet wines). Also grown in western coastal regions of the U.S.A. where it ripens earlier than Chardonnay.


Also known as the Weisser Riesling. Premier White wine grape of Germany and Alsace, known as Rheinriesling in Austria and Riesling Renano in Northern Italy. (See (Johannesburg) Riesling above).


The grape popularly grown in Tuscany region of Italy. It was used in the production of various Chianti and Tuscany wines. Other clonal versions of Sangiovese Grosso include the Brunello di Montalcino wine, Sangiovese Piccolo or Sangioveto, and Morellino. It is renowned for its medium-body structure and plum-like aroma and flavors.


Staple white-wine grown in Bordeaux and the eastern regions of France. Have been theorized to have originated from the ancient Fie variety. Other mutations include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Noir, Sauvignon Jaune and Sauvignon Rose. Features a tendency towards grapey, fleshy and herbaceous flavors. It also tends to be zesty and citrusy in warmer regions.


A golden skinned grape that is often grown in the Bordeaux region of France. This wine varietal features distinct fig-like character. It is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc to delimit its strong berry-like flavors. Semillon is also known to be Hunter (River Riesling), Boal/Bual of Madeira, Chevrier, Columbier, Malaga and Blanc Doux.


Grape variety that once have been thought to have originated in Shiraz. It also pertains to the French Syrah. In the past, Shiraz is also known as the pseudo name Hermitage.


Juicy and powerful grape associated with the Rhone valley region of France. Australia and California enjoy success in the growing of this wine varietal. In California, the Syrah that are produced features earthy, complex structure and noteworthy depth.


Fine wine grape used in best quality red wines of Spain. Also known under the alias name of Cencibel in La Mancha and as Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Has over thirty synonym names listed in the Geilweilerhof database (see above). Some other reported versions that exist are the Tinto Fino of the Zamora region, Tinta del Pais of the Ribero del Duero and Tinta de Toro in the Toro region. In Portugal the grape is known as the (Tinta) Roriz and Aragonez. Large acreages are grown in Argentina. Also found in the Central Valley of California where it is known as Valdepeñas and mainly used to make grapejuice much favored by home-winemakers sold under the "Valdepenas" name in N. America.


Still grown in France, where it is better known as Savagnin Blanc, and in California but almost everywhere else has been largely replaced by its much more intense and aromatic offspring Gewürztraminer clonal variety. The subject name is still used in Australia as an alias name for Gewürztraminer and, confusingly, is also known there under the synonym name Savagnin Rose.


Another name for Ugni Blanc grape. Other mutations include Procanico is Tuscany and Umbria, Italy.


Originally planted in the Rhone Valley of France, Viognier features spicy and full flavors reminiscent of the Muscat grape. Viogneir is also a great success in Australia, California and Italy. It possesses luscious floral and apricot-like flavors.


Formerly known as Black St. Peter in the early 19th century California lore, Zinfandel is a popular blush wine. Oldest Zin vines are located in Dry Creak and Amador regions. It is renowned for its fruit-forward, berry-like aroma and prickly taste. The origin of Zinfandel is still a subject of great debate. It is though to be associated with the Vranac variety cepage grown in Montenegro; a mutated version of Mali Plavac. The origin of Zinfandel in California is not known, though others consider that it is a corruption of Zirefandler, a white variety grown in the Balkan region of Europe.



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