Category Archives: Better Know A Varietal

Taking a riff from Steven Colbert’s series on congressional districts, I will periodically give a history and characteristics of a wine grape variety.

Better Know A Varietal – Merlot

Merlot is a major grape variety though it has been loosing popularity as a single varietal in recent years. It is a large part of the success of the red wines of Bordeaux though often Cabernet Sauvignon gets all the … Continue reading

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Better Know A Varietal – Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc has recently become a favorite white wine varietal. Part of that is boredom with yet another Chardonnay but part of it is the general high quality of inexpensive wines made from the grape. Sauvignon Blanc probably originated in … Continue reading

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Better Know A Varietal – Pinot Noir

This little primer on Pinot Noir is a bit harder for me to write than the others. Pinot Noir is the grape for many of my favorite wines. That said, I am a bit opinionated and keeping my populist hat … Continue reading

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Better Know A Varietal – Syrah/Shiraz

Syrah, AKA Shiraz is a red wine grape most identified with the northern Rhone region of France, and as Shiraz Australia. Legend has it that it was brought to France from the middle-east by a knight returning from one of … Continue reading

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Better Know A Varietal – Pinot Gris/ Pinot Grigio One Grape Two Styles

The highly popular white wine grape most known in the US as Pinot Grigio originated in the French Provence of Alsace where it is known as Pinot Gris. Alsatian Pinot Gris is usually a fairly full bodied wine. While it … Continue reading

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Better Know A Varietal – Cabernet Franc

Cabernet is a red wine grape that probably originated in Bordeaux. It differs from its better known “big brother” Cabernet Sauvignon in that it is less tannic and more aromatic. When you smell a Cabernet Franc wine you frequently smell … Continue reading

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Better Know a Varietal – Barbera

Barbera is a red wine grape from Italy. It used to be the most widely planted grape in Italy but has been supplanted by Sangiovese and recently Montepulciano. In most of Italy it is blended into wines that are not … Continue reading

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Better Know A Varietal: Malbec

Malbec is a red grape that probably originated around Bordeaux and is still a minor variety there. In France it is a major player in Cahors in the south-west of France but it is in Argentina that it found its … Continue reading

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Better Know A Varietal – Zinfandel

Zinfandel is in many ways a quintessential American grape.  Although it did not originate here, no vinus vinafera, (or fine wine grapes) did, it found its home here and has prospered.  There are several competing theories as to where it … Continue reading

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Getting To Know A Varietal – Sangiovese

Sangiovese is a red wine grape that originated in Tuscany.  It is the primary grape in Chianti and Vin Nobile D’ Montipulciano and is also the only grape allowed in Brunello.  It is the most planted grape variety in Italy. … Continue reading

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