Oeno Ventures - Wine Varietals & Descriptions

The Art of Wine Tasting
Before Visiting Wine Country

Wine Varietals & Descriptions
Useful Wine Tasting Terms

Wine Country Weather
Wine Regions & Their Key Varietals
Quick Tips for Serving & Storing Wine

About Wine Glasses
Reading Wine Labels

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Barbera: is a red Italian wine grape variety and is widely planted in California's central valley and
is mainly used for blending mass produced jug wines. Barbera produces good yields and is
known for deep color, low tannins and high levels of acid. Some characteristics of Barbera:
cherries, raspberries and blueberries and with notes of blackberry and black cherries

Cabernet Franc:
is one of the major red grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone. Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine and contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on growing region and style of wine aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, cassis & violets.

Cabernet Sauvignon: is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. One
of the most noted traits of Cabernet Sauvignon is its affinity for oak, either during fermentation or
in barrel aging. There are a couple of noted Cabernet Sauvignon flavors that are intimately tied to viticultural and climate influences. The most widely recognized is the herbaceous or green bell pepper flavor caused by pyrazines. Two other well known Cabernet Sauvignon flavors are mint
and eucalyptus.

Champagne: is not a varietal but a wine style produced by inducing secondary fermentation to
create a carbonation effect. The term "Champagne is exclusive to the Champagne region of
France. When this technique is used in other parts of the world, the finished product is referred
to & labeled as sparkling wine instead of Champagne. Primary grapes used in producing Champagne are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier.

Charbono: A rare red wine grape which can be found in California but more commonly found in Argentina. The wine made from Charbono tends to be dark, full flavored with medium to high tannins and acidity with a long finish. Charbono exhibits a distinctive aroma of Damson plums accented by nuances of tar, black pepper and old leather.

Chardonnay: is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. Chardonnays boast an impressive range of flavors from the expected buttered, oak overtones to the fresh, fruit flavors of apple, pear, tropical, citrus and melon, leaving a lasting palate impression.

Chenin Blanc:
is a white wine grape variety from the Loire valley of France. Its high acidity means
it can be used to make everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines. The aromas and flavor notes of Chenin blanc often include the descriptors of minerally, greengage, angelica and honey.

Cinsaut or Cinsault:
is most often used as a blending grape most notably found in France. Wine made from cinsaut grapes can have great perfume and supple texture. Fairly low in tannin it is
often made into rosé by itself or blended. Typical flavor and smell descriptors include: sweet
wood, vanilla, oak, smoke, toast, tar, musk & meat.

is a black wine grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy and can be found throughout California. Dolcetto wines are known for black cherry and licorice flavors with some prunes and a characteristically bitter finish reminiscent of almonds. While the name implies sweetness, the wines are normally dry & tannic in nature.

French Colombard:
One of California's top two white-wine grapes, French Colombard is used extensively in blending as well as for a varietal wine. It produces a crisp, fruity, moderately dry,
spicy wine that goes well with lightly seasoned dishes.
This grape is mainly grown in California
to provide backbone, due to its natural acidic character, for white "jug wine" blends.

Fume Blanc:
The term Fume Blanc, was invented by winemaker Robert Mondavi as part of a campaign to sell more Sauvignon Blanc wine in California. Fume Blanc is legally accepted as
a synonym for wines made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. (For wine description see Sauvignon Blanc)

A purple-colored grape variety used to make fruity, highly popular red wines of Beaujolais, France. Gamay has been often cultivated because it makes for abundant production; however, it
can produce wines of distinction when planted on acidic soils, which help to soften the grape's naturally high acidity.This grape is most notably grown in the Loire region of France.

An aromatic white wine grape which flourishes in cooler climates. Gewûrz
means "spicy" in German which is the main characteristic of Gewurztraminer. This wine is fruity
with a strong perfumed and flowery bouquet and pairs well with spicy Asian dishes.

is a spicy, berry-flavored grape varietal producing wine that is soft on the palate with
a relatively high alcohol content.
Grenache tends to lack acid, tannin and color, and is usually
blended with other varieties such as Syrah, Carignan and Cinsaut.

is a wine style that is slightly sweet, easy to drink red or white wine with a slight fizz.

This purple wine grape produces red wines of complexity exhibiting robust tannins and
a particular plum-like flavor. Malbec is long known as one of the six grapes permitted in the blend
of red Bordeaux wine.

is a large family of grapes including both white and red varieties. These grapes are
used to produce white (and occasionally red) table wines, dessert wines, and fortified wines of
the same name and are sometimes used as part of a blend of grapes.

is a white Rhone grape producing wine with a rich, nutty character. Although Marsanne
is mostly made into a dry wine, some producers have also experimented with making a dessert-style straw (or raisin) wine.


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