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  • Cabernet Franc

    Cabernet Franc (Red) [cab-er-NAY FRANK] Increasingly popular as both stand-alone varietal and blending grape, Cabernet Franc is used primarily for blending in Bordeaux, although it can rise to great heights in quality, as seen in the grand wine Cheval-Blanc. In France's Loire Valley it's also made into a lighter wine called Chinon. It is well established in Italy, particularly the northeast, where it is sometimes called Cabernet Frank or Bordo. California has grown it for more than 30 years, and Argentina, Long Island, Washington state and New Zealand are picking it up.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    Cabernet Sauvignon (Red) [cab-er-NAY SO-vin-yon] An internationally planted black grape, increasing in popularity in small increments. Long-lasting wine with fine results. Frequently blended with a wide range of other varieties. Along with Chardonnay, it is one of the most widely-planted of the world's grape varieties. The principal grape in many Bordeaux wines, it is grown in most of the world's wine regions, although it requires a long growing season to ripen properly and gives low yields. Many of the red wines regarded as among the world's greatest, such as Red Bordeaux, are predominantly made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. World-class examples can improve for decades, and remain drinkable for a century.

  • Grenache Noir

    Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, where the grape most likely originated. It is also grown in Sardinia, the south of France, Australia, and California's San Joaquin Valley.

    It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate and produces wine with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best results. Characteristic flavor profiles on Grenache include red fruit flavors (raspberry and strawberry) with a subtle, white pepper spice note. Grenache wines are highly prone to oxidation with even young examples having the potential to show browning (or "bricking") coloration that can be noticed around the rim when evaluating the wine at an angle in the glass. As Grenache ages the wines tend to take on more leather and tar flavors. Wines made from Grenache tend to lack acid, tannin and color, and it is often blended with other varieties such as Syrah, Carignan, Tempranillo and Cinsaut.

    Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where it is typically over 80% of the blend. In Spain, there are monovarietal wines made of Garnacha tinta (red Grenache), notably in the southern Aragon wine regions of Calatayud, Carinena and Campo de Borja, but it is also used in blends, as in some Rioja wines with tempranillo. In Australia it is typically blended in "GSM" blends with Syrah (commonly known as Shiraz in that country) and Mourvèdre with old vine examples in McLaren Vale. In Italy, the Sardinian D.O.C. wine Cannonau di Sardegna is by law 99% local Grenache (Cannonau). Grenache is also used to make rosé wines in France and Spain, notably those of the Tavel district in the Côtes du Rhône and those of the Navarra region. And the high sugar levels of Grenache have led to extensive use in fortified wines, including the red vins doux naturels of Roussillon such as Banyuls, and as the basis of most Australian fortified wine.

  • Malbec

    Malbec (Red) [MAHL-beck] Once important in Bordeaux and the Loire in various blends, this not-very-hardy grape has been steadily replaced by Merlot and the two Cabernets. However, Argentina is markedly successful with this varietal. In the United States Malbec is a blending grape only, and an insignificant one at that, but a few wineries use it, the most obvious reason being that it's considered part of the Bordeaux-blend recipe.

  • Merlot

    Merlot (Red) [mur-LO] Merlot is a red wine grape that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry, plum, and currant. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot an ideal grape to blend with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is produced primarily in France (where it is the third most planted red grape), Italy (where it is the country's 5th most planted grape) and California, Romania and on a lesser scale in Australia, Argentina, Canada's Niagara Peninsula, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, and other parts of the United States such as Washington State and Long Island. It grows in many regions that also grow Cabernet Sauvignon but tends to be cultivated in the cooler portions of those areas. In areas that are too warm, Merlot will ripen too early.

  • Mourvèdre

    Mourvedre (Red) [more-VAY-druh] As long as the weather is warm, Mourvèdre likes a wide variety of soils. It's popular across the south of France, especially in Provence and the Côtes-du-Rhône, and is often used in Châteauneuf-du-Pape; Languedoc makes it as a varietal. Spain uses it in many areas, including Valencia. In the United States it's a minor factor now, pursued by a few wineries that specialize in Rhône-style wines. The wine can be pleasing, with medium-weight, spicy cherry and berry flavors and moderate tannins. It ages well.

  • Petit Verdot

    Petit Verdot Petit verdot is a variety of black grape used in the production of red wine, principally in blends with Cabernet Sauvignon. The fact that it ripens much later than most of the other varieties of grape means that it cannot successfully be grown in many of the French regions, and is only found in any quantity in the Médoc region of Bordeaux. Its main use is to add aroma, colour, acid and tannin to many of the regions' great red wines by adding quantities of up to 10%. Recently it has been grown in Chile, California, Colorado, Washington, Virginia, Australia, New Zealand, and British Columbia, again being used as a seasoning in cabernet blends. In Australia it is being used increasingly to make varietal wines.

  • Pinot Noir

    Pinot Noir (Red) [PEE-no NWA] A slightly more expensive grape varietal due to its difficulty to succeed and its small production. Usually matured in wood and now producing some excelllent results. Pinot Noir is the classic grape of Burgundy and also of Champagne, where it is pressed immediately after picking in order to yield white juice. It is just about the only red grown in Alsace. In California, it excelled in the late 1980s and early 1990s and seems poised for further progress. Once producers stopped vinifying it as if it were Cabernet, planted vineyards in cooler climates and paid closer attention to tonnage, quality increased substantially. It's fair to say that California and Oregon have a legitimate claim to producing world-class Pinot Noir.

  • Pinotage

    Pinotage Pinotage is a wine grape that is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (called Hermitage in South Africa and parts of Europe, hence the portmanteau name of this grape variety). A variety that is decreasing in vineyard area. A cross between pinot and cinsaut ('hermitage'). Made in a range of styles from fruity to well-oaked. Pinotage is a controversial grape variety that was created in South Africa in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, a professor at Stellenbosch University but not used commercially until 1959. Perold was attempting to combine the best qualities of Pinot Noir, a grape that can be difficult to grow but with excellent wine-making properties, with the Cinsault, which is very prolific and sturdy. For over forty years after its introduction (when it was very poorly received by a team of visiting British Masters of Wine - who said it was reminiscent of "rusty nails" and described the nose as "hot and horrible", "reeking of nail varnish" and "acetone") - Pinotage was relatively unknown outside South Africa. However, after the apartheid system fell, international boycotts were lifted, and Pinotage began to spread commercially. Although it is still best known in South Africa, it is now also grown in New Zealand where there are 94 hectares, Zimbabwe, Brazil, California, Canada, Israel, and Virginia. Pinotage is a viticultural cross, not a hybrid. In viticulture, a cross is a cultivar which is the result of crossing two or more cultivars within the same species, while a hybrid is a cultivar bred from members of different species. Both of Pinotage's ancestors are vitis vinifera.

  • Red Blends

    By definition, blending wine simply means you are combining two or more wines to create a new one. There are several reasons why a winemaker might want to blend wines: To enhance aroma, To improve the colour, To add or minimize flavors and tastes, To adjust the pH of a wine, To lower or raise acidity To raise or lower alcohol levels, To adjust the sweetness of a wine, To correct a wine with too much oak flavour, To raise or lower levels of tannin.

  • Sangiovese

    Sangiovese (Red) [san-geeo-VEHS-eh] Sangiovese is best known for providing the backbone for many superb Italian red wines from Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, as well as the so-called super-Tuscan blends. Sangiovese is distinctive for its supple texture and medium-to full-bodied spice, raspberry, cherry and anise flavors. When blended with a grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese gives the resulting wine a smoother texture and lightens up the tannins.

  • Shiraz

    Syrah or Shiraz (Red) [sih-RAH or shih-RAHZ] Shiraz or Syrah is a variety of grape used in wine. The names are interchangeable. It is called Syrah in France, and most often in the United States, South Africa, Australia, and Canada it is known as Shiraz. In Australia it used to be called Hermitage up to the late 1980s. It should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a synonym for Durif, which is a different type of grape. Its name stems from Shiraz—the city of flowers, wine and poetry in Iran—in the heart of an ancient winemaking region. The grape also has many other synonyms that are used in various parts of the world including Antourenein Noir, Balsamina, Candive, Entournerein, Hignin Noir, Marsanne Noir, Schiras, Sirac, Syra, Syrac, Serine, and Sereine. Shiraz is a grape variety widely used to make a dry red table wine. Shiraz is often vinified on its own, but is also frequently blended with other grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier. It is grown in many wine producing regions around the world.

  • Syrah

    Syrah or Shiraz (Red) [sih-RAH or shih-RAHZ] Shiraz or Syrah is a variety of grape used in wine. The names are interchangeable. It is called Syrah in France, and most often in the United States, South Africa, Australia, and Canada it is known as Shiraz. In Australia it used to be called Hermitage up to the late 1980s. It should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a synonym for Durif, which is a different type of grape. Its name stems from Shiraz—the city of flowers, wine and poetry in Iran—in the heart of an ancient winemaking region. The grape also has many other synonyms that are used in various parts of the world including Antourenein Noir, Balsamina, Candive, Entournerein, Hignin Noir, Marsanne Noir, Schiras, Sirac, Syra, Syrac, Serine, and Sereine. Shiraz is a grape variety widely used to make a dry red table wine. Shiraz is often vinified on its own, but is also frequently blended with other grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier. It is grown in many wine producing regions around the world.

  • Novello

    Vino novello, Italian for 'young wine', is a light, fruity, red wine produced throughout Italy. Novello is similar to its French cousin Beaujolais nouveau in taste, body and color, but is produced using several grape varieties with a more liberal fermentation process. While historically released for sale on November 6, Novello is since 2012 available on 30 October.