Varietal Articles

(233 articles)

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Varietal: White Blend

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Varietal: Chardonnay

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Varietal: Red Rhone Blend

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Read about the different grapes used to produce red and white Rhone wines
On CellarTracker, Red Rhone Blend is the term for a wine consisting of two or more of the traditional 13 Southern Rhone grape varieties. Typically it's the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre or Cinsault grapes, but can also contain the Muscardin, Counoise, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan or Vaccarese grapes.

A 'food' wine. Lacking pretension and intended for local consumption with local cuisine. Lacks the 'high' notes on a Bordeaux, more earthy and sharper so often a better partner to meat dishes with a sauce.

Varietal: Flora

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Varietal: Carignan Blend

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Carignan ?%

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sangiovese, Syrah

Varietal: Sangiovese

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jht-on the contrary, this wine is made up of Brunello (Sangioveso grosso), a clone of Sangiovese that is used to make Chianti. As a matter of fact, much of the vineyard region now used to make Brunellos around Montalcino, now expensive and highly prized, was used to make Chianti years back, and only one house, Biondi-Santi, had pretensions to a fine and expensive and ageworthy wine. The Trebbiano blend referred to makess white in this region.

Varietal: Furmint

Revision 2; edited by monist on 6/10/2018

About Furmint

Furmint is a white Hungarian wine grape variety that is most noted widely grown in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region where it is used to produce single-varietal dry wines as well as being the principal grape in the better known Tokaji dessert wines. It is also grown in the tiny Hungarian wine region of Somló. Furmint plays a similar role in the Slovakian wine region of Tokaj. It is also grown in Austria where it is known as Mosler. Smaller plantings are found in Slovenia where it is known as Šipon. The grape is also planted in Croatia where it is known as Moslavac. It is also found in Romania and in former republics of the Soviet Union.[1] Furmint is a late ripening variety. For dry wines the harvest starts usually in September, however sweet wine specific harvest can start in the second half of October or even later, and is often inflicted with Botrytis.[2]

The name Furmint may have been taken from the word "froment" for the wheat-gold color of the wine it produces. While it is possible that the grape was brought to Hungary in the 13th century during the reign of King Béla IV,[3][4] ampelographers believe that the grape is likely native to the region.[5]

Varietal: Malbec Blend

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Malbec - Cabernet Franc

Varietal: Plavina

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Varietal: Sugar Cane

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Varietal: Viura

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Macabeo, also called Viura or Macabeu is a white variety of wine grape.

It is widely grown in the Rioja region of northeastern Spain, the Cava producing areas south of Barcelona, and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Spanish plantations stood at near 32,000 hectares (79,000 acres) in 2004, and French plantations at 2,800 hectares (6,900 acres) in 2007.

The grape is mostly used to make mildly acidic and young white wines mostly suitable for early consumption or blending with other varieties, both red and white. It is often the main grape of white Rioja and is sometimes blended in small amounts with Tempranillo and red Garnacha, both in unoaked and oaked versions. It was introduced in Rioja after the phylloxera epidemic, where it largely replaced Malvasia and Garnacha blanca, partially because of the ability of its wines to better withstand oxidation. Some producers of white Rioja make superior wines (Reserva and Gran Reserva) subjected to extended ageing that can span decades, resulting in a highly distinctive and aromatic wine.

Macabeo (or Macabeu as it is known in Catalan) is traditionally blended with Xarel·lo and Parellada to make Cava, the best known sparkling wine of Spain. It is also used in the base spirit used to create Obsello Absinthe.

This is the white Riojan grape par excellence and the main grape we grow in Patrocinio. It is also known as Macabeo, particularly in Catalonia, where it forms part of the traditional trio of Cava varieties. In our winery, it produces still, vibrant wines with subtle aromas of herbs and spices. It is the base of our whites that are fermented in the barrel, a traditional technique developed in our region.

Varietal: Zibibbo

Revision 2; edited by sweetstuff on 3/18/2018

Purists will tell you that Zibibbo is a grape variety that can be used to make anything from table wine to grappa. However, the Zibibbo made commercially by several houses is a strong wine similar to Marsala but fermented and then partially distilled naturally, without the addition of spirits. The process differs also in that Zibibbo is actually made from grapes partially fermented in the sun. It is a very old process, and Zibibbo, though not the direct precursor of Marsala, derives from a formula known in the Middle Ages. It is typically slightly lower in alcohol than Marsala (about fifteen percent compared to eighteen or twenty percent) and sometimes more robust. The Zibibbo grape is similar to Moscato, and the wine known as Moscato di Pantelleria Naturale is made mostly from Zibibbo grapes. Suggested by a 3/18/2018 download of Wikipedia: jht

Revision 2; edited by sweetstuff on 3/17/2018

From article 'Muscat' downloaded 3/17/2018 jht

Muscat blanc à Petits Grains is known by many names worldwide, including Muscat Blanc (white Muscat) in France and the United States), Muscat Canelli in the United States, Moscato Bianco (white Moscato) in Italy, Muscat Frontignan in South Africa, Moschato in Greece, Brown Muscat in Australia, Muskateller in Germany and Austria, Muscat de Grano Menudo in Spain, and Muscat de Frontignan and Muscat Lunel in France. While the "petits grains" in the grape's name accurately describes the small, round berries of the vine, some wine experts, such as Oz Clarke, believe that the term "Muscat blanc" is misleading, since the grapevine is notorious for its frequent color mutations siring clusters of berries in nearly every shade possible though most commonly the grape berries are a deep yellow after veraison. In some vineyards, vines of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains are known to produce clusters of berries of different colors that change every vintage.[5]

The precise origins of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains are not known, though Greece and Italy can both make compelling cases due to the proliferation of clones, mutations and offspring.[3] Today, the grape is found throughout the wine-producing world, making a wide range of wine, from light, sweet sparkling and semi-sparkling Asti and Moscato d'Asti wine in the Piedmont wine region of Italy and Clairette de Die region of France, fortified vin doux naturels (VdN) in southern France in AOC regions such as Muscat de Beaume de Venise, Muscat de Saint-Jean de Minervois and Muscat de Frontignan, fortified Liqueur Muscat in the Victoria wine region of Rutherglen in Australia, to dry wines in the Wachau wine of Austria and Südsteiermark.[5]

Nearly all the most notable sweet Muscats of Greece, particularly those from the island of Samos and the city of Patras on the Peloponnese are made from Muscat blanc à Petits Grains. In the history of South African wine, the famous dessert wine of Constantia was made from this variety of Muscat and while today Muscat of Alexandria is more widely planted in South Africa, producers around Constantia are trying to reclaim some of the region's viticultural acclaim by replanting more Muscat blanc à Petits Grains and making wines in the style of the original Constantia.[3]


Muscat of Alexandria

The berries of Muscat of Alexandria clusters are larger and more oval-shaped than those of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains

While the grape's name harkens to the city of Alexandria and suggest an ancient Egyptian origin, DNA analysis has shown that Muscat of Alexandria is the result of a natural crossing between Muscat blanc à Petits Grains and the Greek wine grape Axina de Tres Bias. Though as Axina de Tres Bias has also been historically grown in Sardinia and Malta, the precise location and origins of Muscat of Alexandria cannot be determined. Compared to Muscat blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat of Alexandria tends to produce large, moderately loose clusters of large oval-shaped berries that are distinctive from the much smaller, round berries of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains.[5]

Like most Muscat varieties, Muscat of Alexandria is notable for being a desirable raisin and table grape. This is due in part to the grape's high tolerance of heat and drought conditions. While it is used in wine production (most notably on the island of Pantelleria between Sicily and Tunisia, where it makes a passito style dessert wine under the name of "Zibibbo"), the grape lags far behind the reputation of Muscat blanc à Petits Grains. This is partly because Muscat of Alexandria is very vigorous and prone to produce high yields that can be easily overcropped as well as a more assertive aroma profile due to a higher concentration of the monoterpene geraniol, which produces a geranium scent, and lower concentration of nerol which a more fresh, sweet rose aroma.[5]

In France, Muscat of Alexandria is most prominent as a blending component (with Muscat blanc à Petits Grains) in the VdN wines of Muscat de Rivesaltes AOC in the Roussillon wine region. The grape is the primary Muscat variety in Spain, where it is known as Moscatel, though the majority of the country's plantings are used for table grapes and raisins, rather than for wine production. Likewise, in Chile, most of the Moscatel in that country is used to produce the distilled drink "pisco".[5]

In South Africa, Muscat of Alexandria is known as "Hanepoot" and was the fourth-most widely planted white wine grape variety in the country until the early 2000s. While some of the plantings were used for wine production, particularly for fortified wine, many plantings were used for the production of grape concentrate and raisins.[4] In California, there is still more plantings of Muscat of Alexandria than any other Muscat variety, with most of these grapes going into anonymous jug wines from the Central Valley.[5] As in many other places in the world, the grape had a long history of use in the United States as a raisin variety, though in the 1920s, plantings of Muscat of Alexandria began to decline as producers turned to more popular seedless grape varieties.[3]

Varietal: Braucol

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On the Gaillac terroir, the variety Fer Servadou is known as Braucol.

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The variety Red Bordeaux Blend implies any blend using any two or more of the six traditional Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenère. Other associated terms describing wines fashioned in this manner include: Proprietor’s Blends, “Meritage”TM, etc. Outside of France, Red Bordeaux Blends are typically well-crafted wines. Within France and Italy, Applelation laws strictly dictate the protocols and use of more than one varietal in a wine, and with the exception of some Super-Tuscans, Red Bordeaux Blend wines are considered inferior to Classified (Bordeaux) wines. Note: Burgundy and Rhône-terroir wines are similarly distinguished from Blends using Gamay, Pinot and Syrafèfh, etc grapes except in Australia, where these grape varietals are crafted into wines of varying quality.

Varietal: Agave

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Varietal: Godello

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Varietal: Malt

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Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

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Varietal: Pinot Noir

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Varietal character (Appellation America) | Varietal article (Wikipedia)
Pinot Noir is the Noble red grape of Burgundy, capable of ripening in a cooler climate, which Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will not reliably do. It is unpredictable and difficult both to grow and to vinify, but results in some of the finest reds in the world. It is believed to have been selected from wild vines two thousand years ago. It is also used in the production of champagne. In fact, more Pinot Noir goes into Champagne than is used in all of the Cote d'Or! It is also grown in Alsace, Jura, Germany, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Austria, and so forth, with varying degrees of success.

Varietal: Valdiguié

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Varietal character (Appellation America)

Varietal: Rieslaner

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Varietal: Pinot Gris

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From Pinot Gris Wikipedia entry:
Wines made from the Pinot gris vary greatly and are dependent on the region and wine making style they are from. Alsatian Pinot gris are medium to full bodied wines with a rich, somewhat floral bouquet. They tend to be spicy in comparisons with other Pinot gris. While most Pinot gris are meant to be consumed early, Alsatian Pinot gris can age well. German Pinot gris are more full-bodied with a balance of acidity and slight sweetness. In Oregon the wines are medium bodied with a yellow to copper-pink color and aromas of pear, apple, and/or melon. In California, the Pinot gris are more light bodied with a crisp, refreshing taste with some pepper and arugula notes. The Pinot grigio style of Italy is a light-bodied, often lean wine that is light in color with sometimes spritzy flavors that can be crisp and acidic. Although this wine can be very sweet, it will begin to lose its acidity when it is nearly ripe.

Pinot gris is considered an "early to market wine" that can be bottled and out on the market within 4–12 weeks after fermentation.
Varietal character (Appellation America)

Conseillé pour l'apéritif et avec les mets suivants :
Foie Gras terrine
Foie Gras poêlé
Tarte tatin

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Tempranillo is the backbone of wines made ihvhhcn the best well-known Spanish regions Rioja and Ribera del Duero, but is also grown as far afield as Mexico and Australia.

As a flavor profile, red fruits like strawberries and cherries can predominate - but with a rustic edge. The Many wines made from Tempranillo will sycyygpend a few years in barrel and bottle before reaching the consumers . Many Tempranillo-based wines see a few years of oak - add that to a few years of bottle and the wine can give a subtle - and occasionaly not-so-subtle - leathery mouthfeel. The combination of the tart fruit and tannins make this wine very food friendly.

Varietal: Rosé Blend

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"Rosé blend" can mean a blend of just about any varietals since the designation comes from the resulting color of the wine.

Varietal: Champagne Blend

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The typical champagne blend is of three grapes - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Wines labeled as 'Blanc de Blancs' are by definition all Chardonnay, and wines labeled as 'Blanc de Noirs' contain Pinot Noir, Meunier or both in the blend.

There are how ever three additional grape varieties planted (Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc) and used in Champagne, they could be called legacy grapes and do not represent significant portion of the grapes used (<0.01%?). It is not permitted to plant more of these varieties.

However, sparkling wines that are not Champagne (i.e. not grown in the area legally allowed that name in France) may be made of several other grapes, too. For example, Markko Vineyards 'Excelsior' was given the name 'Champagne' with tongue-in-cheek, as the winemaker has embarked on a program to educate his consumers away from the use of the 'C' word. This wine is actually made like many German Sekts, from Riesling.

Varietal: Prosecco

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Varietal: Teran

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Teran is an old indigenous Istrian grape variety with characteristic ruby-red colour. Its intense aroma is reminiscent of berries and tobacco, with dry, longlasting tannic taste. Relatively high content of acids and a slight note of tartness, together with high extract, adds to this wine a typical taste of a full, strong and robust but at the same time pleasantly crafted wine. Because of its characteristic fullness and high contents of polyphenols (tannin, anthocyane) it is considered to have healthy qualities.

Varietal: Glera

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Glera Grape

Glera is a white variety of grape of Slovenian origin, which was brought to village Prosecco (Slovene, Prosek) from Slovenian Kras. Glera was, until 2009, mostly referred to as Prosecco (Slovene, Prosekar).

Glera is a rather neutral grape variety which is mainly cultivated for use in sparkling Italian wine styles, frizzante or spumante, from the various Prosecco DOCG and DOC areas, although still wines also exist.

It is grown mainly in the Veneto region of Italy, traditionally in an area near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso.

Varietal: Rye

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Rye - Our Blending Process


The process of making the finest, smoothest Canadian Whisky starts with the finest Canadian ingredients. Roughly 80% of our grain (rye, corn and barley) is sourced from Manitoba and surrounding provinces – resilient natural ingredients that were born to weather the challenging conditions where subzero temperatures are the norm.

Lake Winnipeg gives us pure water naturally filtered through the limestone beneath. Twelve distillation columns produce the fifty whiskies that comprise our signature blend – a result of five different recipes aged for varying periods of time in either new or re-use charred oak barrels. Our maturing barrels experience extreme temperature swings, the wood’s expansion and contraction slowly adding to the developing character. Once the whiskies have been aged to our blenders’ satisfaction, they are meticulously blended to create the signature rich, smooth, award-winning flavor of Crown Royal.


A lifetime of experience goes into every bottle of Crown Royal.


Nestled along the western shore of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba lies the small village of Gimli.


Fifty of the finest whiskies are meticulously blended to create the signature smoothness of Crown Royal.

Varietal: Dabouki

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Varietal: Grenache Blend

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Blend components vary widely by producer and region.

Varietal: Molasses

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Rare Criollo Cocoa Bean (NOT Molasses)
THERE ARE THREE DIFFERENT types of cocoa bean which are used in chocolate production today. They are the noble Criollo, the common Forastero and a hybrid between the two, the Trinitario. Criollo and Trinitario are often referred to as fine or flavour cocoa beans, while Forastero is considered the ordinary or bulk bean for mass production (although there are exceptions to this rule -- see below). Over 90% percent of the world's cocoa is bulk production, mostly from the Forastero bean. The remainder is fine/flavour cocoa, from most of the Trinitario and all of the Criollo varieties.

What the fine Arabica bean is to coffee, the even finer and rarer Criollo bean is to chocolate. Criollo chocolate has a distinctly reddish colour, and an equally distinctive complex taste which can include flavours of caramel, nuts, vanilla and tobacco. Criollo bars are fairly rare and should definitely be sampled if encountered. That said, the taste might not be everyone's favourite as it differs considerably from that of the more common Trinitario and Forastero varieties, which generally define the taste of dark chocolate as most people know it. These tastes however are fairly recent -- two hundred years ago Criollo was the predominant cocoa bean. The reason for the general scarcity of Criollo cocoa today is the lack of resistance of the Criollo tree towards disease, which is why the more robust Forastero now dominates the world-wide market for cocoa. Today, most Criollo trees are closer to Trinitario than their pure ancestors. The most important Criollos are Ocumare 61 and the well-publicized Chuao, both of which are found in Venezuela. Only very few true Criollo trees remain. Probably the best known of these pure Criollo varieties is Porcelana -- also from Venezuela -- which can be found in a few bars mentioned on this site.

This is the equivalent of the Robusta bean in coffee, namely the most widespread variety which has been cultivated for mass production. Originally from the Amazon region, there are many types of Forastero trees all over the world, the most ubiquitous variety being the Amenolado found in Brazil and West Africa. While most Forastero is bulk cocoa, there are exceptions, such as the Ecuadorian Cacao Nacional or Arriba Forastero which is used as fine/flavour cocoa. In 2011 a rare Peruvian Nacional Forastero was discovered by chance. Forastero means "foreigner" in Spanish, in contrast to Criollo which is the word for "native". This distinction was made by the Spanish who at first imported Criollo cocoa exclusively from Venezuela and thus regarded Criollo as the original variety of cocoa, as opposed to the "foreign" Forastero from the Amazon region.

Trinitario is a hybrid between the Criollo and Forastero trees and originated in Trinidad. Around 1678, Criollo trees from Venezuela had been planted in Trinidad, and in the following decades they went on to produce some of the finest Criollo of the time. Then, in 1727, disaster struck. The exact reasons are still unknown and theories vary from fungi and disease to speculation whether the increasingly mature trees imported decades earlier were becoming more and more sensitive to Trinidad's soil and climate, for which they may have not been suited. In any case, the crop failure of 1727 delivered a fatal blow to Trinidad's cocoa economy, which was revived in 1756 with the introduction of the more robust Forastero from the Amazon region. The new variety was combined with the remaining Criollo trees, resulting in the new Trinitario variety. In the 19th century Trinitario trees spread across the globe and can be found in Venezuela, Ecuador, Cameroon, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Java and Papua New Guinea. Trinitario is the predominant fine/flavour cocoa and is the most likely bean to be found in high-quality dark chocolate today. A particular mention should go to the Venezuelan Carenero and Rio Caribe varieties, which are very highly regarded. An exception is the Trinitario from Cameroon which is generally classified as bulk produce.

Varietal: Red Blend

Revision 48; edited by ChipGreen on 4/18/2016

Red Blend is used for any combination of red grapes that does not fit into CellarTracker's preset blends (Red Bordeaux Blend, etc). Actual blend composition for a given wine should be entered under the per wine or per wine vintage wiki articles.

Varietal: Muscat Blend

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Gewürztraminer-Viognier-Muscat Blanc Blend

Varietal: Trousseau

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Variety: Trousseau

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Pinot Gris

Varietal: Airen

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A quite common grape in Spain (almost a third of the total) which is usually considered a lesser grape for cutting or brnady production and for this reason has seen a decline. Some bodegas have demonstrated though in recent years that with modern methods rather good wines can be obtained from this grape.
Spanish Wikipedia
English Wikipedia

Varietal: Albalonga

Revision 1; edited by SWHighlander on 8/13/2015

From Wine Searcher:
Albalonga is a white grape bred in Germany in the 1950s as a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner. The variety is grown mainly in Franken, Rheinhessen and the Pfalz. Because of its natural susceptibility to noble rot (botrytis), it is commonly made as a sweet wine, showing tropical and dried-fruit flavors.

The variety's most attractive viticultural feature is its high acidity. Growers can leave the grapes on the vine well into the autumn to concentrate sugars without fear of losing this acidity, which translates into balance and longevity in the wines. In some years the sugar can reach extremely high levels, however, making it relatively easy to produce the very sweet Beerenauslese or TBA level wines at relatively low cost. However, in such instances, Albalonga's lower levels of natural acidity mean that these sweet wines do not age well compared with better-known varieties such as Riesling.

Varietal: Friulano

Revision 1; edited by ChipGreen on 5/18/2015

Friulano (formerly Tocai Friulano, and also known as Sauvignonasse) is a grape variety most famous for its role in the white wines of Friuli, northeastern Italy.
These wines, usually varietal, are lively and fruit-driven with notes of citrus and almond, and often a touch of minerality. The grape is thought to be native to
South West France, where it is known as Sauvignonasse or Sauvignon Vert. However, it has moved on from its home and into northeastern Italy, where it has
quickly become one of the region's most classic styles. Mentions of wines called "Tocai" date back hundreds of years here, but as always, it is not clear exactly
what grape variety this refers to. Many local winemakers believe it to be Tocai Friulano.

Varietal: Nebbiolo

Revision 11; edited by ConstanceC on 5/11/2015

Nebbiolo is a red grape indigenous to the Piedmont region of Italy in the Northwest. The grape can also be found in other parts of the world, though they are not as respected.

Nebbiolo is often considered the "king of red wines," as it is the grape of the famed wines of Barolo DOCG, Barbaresco DOCG, and Roero DOCG. It is known for high tannins and acidity, but with a distinct finesse. When grown on clay, Nebbiolo can be very powerful, tannic, and require long aging periods to reach its full potential. When grown on sand, the grape exhibits a more approachable body with more elegant fruit and less tannins, but still has high aging potential.

"Nebbiolo" is named for the Italian word, "nebbia", which means "fog", in Italian and rightfully so since there is generally a lot of fog in the foothills of Piedmont during harvest.

Nebbiolo is a late-ripening variety that does best in a continental climate that boasts moderate summers and long autumns. In Piedmont, Nebbiolo is normally harvested in October.

More links:
Varietal character (Appellation America) | Nebbiolo on CellarTracker

Varietal: Arneis

Revision 4; edited by ConstanceC on 4/20/2015

Arneis a white grape variety indigenous to the Roero area of Piedmont.

Arneis, meaning "Little Rascal," was discovered in Roero in the 17th century, it wasn't until the 1980's that this grape was viewed as true quality when a few championing winemakers from Roero began increasing plantings and focusing on make quality wine. Before that, it was often called, "white nebbiolo" and was planted to distract birds from taking the Nebbiolo grapes and also blended into the Nebbiolo wines. Today there are 700 hectares of Arneis planted in Roero and more in Langhe.

A typical Arneis will be medium bodied, with medium acidity, and contains notes of notes of white peach, pear, and other stone fruits, citrus, and a distinct minerality, especially when grown on sandy soils. Best examples can age and develop nutty character, but many are meant to be consumed within three years.

Official designations:
Roero Arneis DOCG: Min 95% Arneis, min 11% abv.
Roero Arneis Spumante DOCG: Min 95% Arneis, can be made at any sweetness level, min 11.5% abv.
Langhe Arneis DOC: Must be 85% Arneis

Arneis is also grown in cooler climate areas such as Oregon.

More links:
Varietal character (Appellation America)

The Freshmaker (PA Vine Co)

Varietal: Tannat

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Varietal character (Appellation America) | Wikipedia

A southern French variety, it's most commonly found in the southwest part of the country near the Pyrenees. Characteristically, it has hard tannins, raspberry aromas, and a fair amount of astringency. Given those tannins, it's successful as the base for French roses, where tannins are minimized by little skin contact. In blends, particularly in California, Tannat adds bite to what might otherwise be flabby or soft wines resulting from overripe grapes.

Wine from the Tannat grape is typically rough and tannic when young, but with aging will mature into a full-bodied red wine. Modern winemaking in France (Madiran appellation) has begun to emphasize the fruit more and utilize barrel aging to help soften the tannins, with the wines typically spending about twenty months in oak prior to bottling.

The Tannat vine was introduced in Uruguay by Basque settlers in the 1870’s and began to flourish as it readily adapted to the local soil and climate. Today it is often blended with Pinot Noir and Merlot, and is made in a variety of styles including those reminiscent of Port and Beaujolais. Although considered Uruguay’s national grape, Tannat is also grown in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and in Italy's Puglia region where it is used as a blending grape.

Tannat wines produced in Uruguay are usually lighter in body and lower in tannins than those from France. In France, efforts to solve the harsh tannic nature of this grape led to the development of the winemaking technique known as micro-oxygenation. Vineyards in Uruguay have begun to distinguish between the "old vines" that are descendants from the original European cuttings and the new clones introduced in the 1990’s. The newer vines tend to produce more powerful wines with higher alcohol levels but less acidity and complex fruit characteristics, although some wineries utilize both vines to make blends.

First brought to the US late in the 19th century by a UC Berkeley agricultural professor, Tannat plantings did not receive much attention until the 1990’s when California producers, most notably in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Paso Robles viticultural areas, began using it in blends with Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah. In 2002, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms formally recognized Tannat as a separate varietal.

In the vineyard, Tannat is one of the easiest varietals to grow, ripening late and being frost hardy. Unlike other varietals, it is not prone to overproduction and so does not require thinning. The grape’s berries have thick skins, which make it resistant to powdery mildew and botrytis, and which contributes to the varietals naturally high tannins. One notable difficulty with growing Tannat is its thick stems, which cling tightly to the berries and can be difficult to remove at harvest.

Tannat has significantly higher polyphenol content than other red grapes, making it the most bioactive variety with regards to oxidative reactions in food. Doctors have recommended Tannat as being the best wine grape for cardiopulmonary health because it contains a large amount of the antioxidant procyanidin, a chemical which helps bolster blood vessels and increase oxygen flow to red blood cells, ultimately helping to avert cardiovascular disease.

Tannat makes decidedly robust wines, with pronounced aromas of tobacco smoke, plum or ripe berries. The wines also tend to be dense purple-red in color, with significant tannins and a wonderfully spicy finish. Notable California producers include Bonny Doon Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Tablas Creek Vineyards in Paso Robles.

Varietal: Croatina

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Varietal: Tannat Blend

Revision 1; edited by Kamelion on 12/27/2014

Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal: Castelão

Revision 1; edited by AndrewSGHall on 12/15/2014

Varietal: Rice

Revision 1; edited by AndrewSGHall on 12/13/2014

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