Wine Varietals Descriptions
Wine Varietal Descriptions
Wine Glossary and Varietal Descriptions.pdf
Cabernets can be mellow and mild, hearty and rich. It has a deep red color, with the primary taste being black currant. Other overtones can include blackberry and mint. Traditionally aged in oak, the wine also takes on an oaky, vanilla flavor. Higher quality cabs age extremely well (although a bit slowly), developing a sprinkling of five or six tastes within it. Cabernet goes well with beef, lamb and goose, especially when cooked with herbs. It also is a great match for brie, cheddar cheese and chocolate.
Depending on where it's grown and how it's fermented, Chardonnay can taste semi-sweet or sour, heady or light. Typical flavors are apple, tangerine, lemon, lime, melon, and oak. Chardonnay is usually dry, and goes best with poultry or seafood, like lobster or scallops. It can even go well with a light red meat dish. Good cheeses for Chardonnay include Gruyere, Provolone and Brie.
Chenin Blanc tends to taste of apples, pears, tropical fruits. It tends to be dry to semi-dry, and goes well with chicken, seafood, and fish. The wine ends up a golden color, or a deep, rich amber. It has a very fruity (sometimes sweet) taste. The flavor is a combination of apricot, peach, mango, melon or other sweet fruits. There is often a nutty smell to it as well.
Malbec is popular in Argentina and Chile. This black grape creates a rustic, mid-bodied wine, but is most often used in blending with other wines. This wine is great with pork, veal and spicy foods.
Merlot has less tannin than a Cabernet. It is mellow but still complex, a bit chewy. Merlot is known for the flavors of plums, black cherry, violets, and orange. It is a perfect match for beef and other medium-heavy dishes. Try some with a rich, red pasta dish, or even a heavy chicken dish. Merlot is also an excellent compliment to chocolate.
Pinot Noir is a "light red" wine. A Pinot Noir's color can be any of a range of colors - from cherry red to puple-red and even brown as the wine ages. Typical flavors include earth, leather, vanilla (from the oak), and jam ... the fruity flavors of the jam often taste like raspberry, strawberry, and plum. Pinot Noirs go well with pasta with red sauce, or lighter beef dishes. Also, any local game you might have, or even goose would do well.
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually the same white grape, with two different names. In Italy and California it's known as Grigio, while in Oregon and France it's known as Gris. Other countries use the terms interchangeably. These wines are more fruity and flowery, though they still have that mineral aroma. Flavors can range from peach to grapefruit to melon. Great with spicy foods, fish and chicken.
Rose’ very similar to White Zinfandel but less sweet. This medium dry wine has many of the berry flavors and works well with pasta, fish and pork.
Sauvignon Blanc has pronounced flavors of a herbal variety, plus olive and a soft, smoky flavor. They can be anything from sweet to dry, but are typically very light. Also good with fish, chicken and spicy foods.
Shiraz and Syrah are names for the same grape. The grape creates a heavy red wine. Shiraz is known for its spicy blackberry, plum, and peppery flavors. Often there are additional notes of licorice, bitter chocolate and mocha. Shiraz goes very well with beef and other hearty foods. It also goes well with Indian, Mexican, and other spicy foods.
Viognier is becoming a favored white wine, as its depth of character and complexity is greater than the current white favorite, Chardonnay. Viognier is noted for spice, floral, citrus, apricot, apple and peach flavors. It typically produces medium bodied wines with relatively high acids and fruit. Great with all meats and spicy foods.
The color of a Zin is deep red, bordering on black. Zinfandel is a spicy, peppery wine, with a hint of fruity flavor - berries or dark cherries are often the taste range. Zinfandel goes well with "typical American" food - pizza, burgers, etc. It's hearty enough to match up with thick red sauces.
White Zinfandel is a pale-rose wine that's very sweet. White Zinfandel is delicious with cream-based-sauce with pasta, with fish, pork, and other "lighter" meals. It tends to have citrusy and light flavors - orange, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, cherry.
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