Wine Grape Descriptions

 

In order to select, pair, understand and appreciate wine, it’s essential that one becomes familiar with the different characteristics each grape varietal has to offer. The characteristics have been defined based on our experience, and from some of the most highly regarded wine reference texts in print.

 

Below are a few charts the nosnob.com editors have created to assist in your everyday enjoyment of wine.

 

Reds
Grape Grape Characteristics
Baco Noir
( BAK-oh NWAR )
character earthy, plum, cherry
body medium
food pizza, bbq
color inky purple
Cabernet Franc
( ka-behr-NAY FRAHNK )
character dark cherry,violet, tobacco
body medium body
food herb rubbed chicken or pork
color garnet
Cabernet Sauvignon
( ka-behr-NAY soh-vihn-YOHN )
character
(cool climate)
cassis, blackberry, cedar, tobacco
character
(warm climate)
ripe blackcurrant, eucalyptus, plum
body full body
food steak, bbq, pasta with red sauce or oil
color dark purple
Gamay
( ga-MAY )
character strawberry, cherry, banana
body light body
food roasted vegetables, blue cheese
color pale purple
Grenache / Gamacha
( GREN-osh )
character black cherries, raspberries, spice
body medium body
food grilled sausage, lamb
color brick
Malbec
( MAL-beck )
character plum, anise, earth
body medium body
food grilled meat
color deep garnet
Merlot
( mur-LO )
character
(cool climate)
plum, vanilla, cherry
character
(warm climate)
cherry, plum, chocolate, mint
body medium body
food pasta, grilled meat, chicken
color ruby
Pinot Noir
( PEE-no NWAR )
character strawberry, cherry, rose, raspberry
body light body
food cheese, fish, vegetables
color light garnet
Sangiovese
( SAN-gee-oh-VAY-SEE )
character sour cherry, raspberry, spice, anise
body medium-full body
food pasta with tomato sauce, pizza
color dense purple
Syrah / Shiraz
( Cer-rah / SHER-azz )
character
(cool climate)
blueberry, prune, coffee, leather, pepper
character
(warm climate)
raspberry, blackberry, pepper, chocolate
body full body
food burgers, bbq
color dark purple
Tempranillo
( temp-PRAH-nil-oh )
character cherry, plums, mint
body light-medium body
food lamb, duck, chorizo
color light brick
Zinfandel
( ZIN-fan-DEL )
character raspberry, cherry, spice
body fully body
food red meats, firm cheese, roast chicken
color dark ruby
Reds by Weight
(Light to Heavy)
Beaujolais
Gamay
Pinot Noir
Valpolicella
Sangiovese (Chianti)
Baco Noir
Malbec
Merlot
Cabernet Franc
Zinfandel
Shiraz
Cabernet Sauvignon
Whites
Grape Characteristics
Chardonnay
( CHAR-donn-ay )
character
(cool climate)
citrus, apple, mineral, vanilla
character
(warm climate)
peach, pineapple, butter, vanilla
body full body
food seafood, shrimp, roast pork, chicken
color golden
Gewurztraminer
( geh-VERTS-trah-miner )
character tropical fruit, lychee, spice
body full body
food spicy asian
color golden
Muscat
( mus-KAT )
character honeysuckle, orange blossom, musk
body medium body
food fruit dessert
color light gold
Pinot Grigio / Gris
( PEE-no GREE-gee-oh )
character pear, melon, citrus, mineral
body light-medium body
food light fish, salad, cream sauce
color pale straw
Riesling
( REES-ling )
character
(cool climate)
green apple, citrus, mineral, floral
character
(warm climate)
peach, honey, melon
body medium body
food asian, thai, turkey
color golden straw
Sauvignon Blanc
( soh-vihn-YOHN BLAHNK )
character
(cool climate)
gooseberry, citrus, grass
character
(warm climate)
citrus, melon, asparagus, gooseberry
body medium body
food pork, shellfish, goat cheese
color pale straw
Viognier
( vee-on-NYAY )
character peach, apricot, honey, floral
body light-medium body
food scallops, lobster, cream sauce
color golden
Whites by Weight
(Light to Heavy)
Sauvignon Blanc
Muscat
Viognier
Pinot Grigio / Gris
Gewurztraminer
Riesling
Chardonnay