Red Wine Grape Varieties

red wine with loaf of bread

Alicante: A good blending grape. This is one of the few red grape varieties that has red pulp as well as a red skin, they make intense, dark purplish wines that may be rather neutral in flavor and low in acid. Use it to add color to short term wines.

Barbera: This is a deep purple grape that often has high acidity; especially good when young or blended.

Cabernet Franc: A blending grape (with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) for traditional red Bordeaux. They are similar to Cabernet Sauvignon but lighter in color and body, slightly more herbaceous and have lower tannin levels. They also have hints of raspberries, violets and pencil shavings.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Great cabs have bouquets with traces of cassis, blackberry, cedar , butterscotch, green peppers, chocolate, cocoa, leather with deep, plummy richness.

Carignane: Good grapey, juicy fruit with medium tannin. Blend with grenache to make a red table wine.

Grenache: Cherry in color, aroma and flavor; can make a wonderful rose.

Lemberger: Deep rich flavors and colors with hints of spiciness and earthiness.

Merlot: Produces supple and richly colored wines with a nutmeg spiciness and plummy fruitiness. Blends well with Cabernet Sauvignon and is ideal for early drinking.

Mission: Primarily a blending grape because of its high concentration of sugar, light color and low acidity. Use it to make a light red wine.

Pinot Noir: Very tough to describe, has aroma of raspberries or strawberries; can be full- bodied but is never heavy like Cabernet. It’s an elegant grape that takes a lifetime to make well.

Petite Sirah: This grape is not related to Syrah or Shiraz. It’s deep, dark color with jamminess and good acidity.

Ruby Cabernet: Deep-colored and pleasant. Best enjoyed young.

Syrah: Known as Shiraz in Australia. Deep, dark, opaque, burnt purple color. Aroma that's intensely spicy with overtones of tar and fresh jam. A flavor that is peppery-rich.

Valdepenas: Light color, low acid, rather neutral flavor. It blends well with Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon to make a Spanish red. Best drunk young.

Zinfandel: Deep red-purple color, warm (can have high sugars), berry-like, jammy-intense, spicy characteristic.

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Wine Making

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