Common Wine Varietals


  • Cabernet Sauvignon: One of the noblest red wine grapes. ease of cultivation—the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects. full-bodied high tannins and noticeable acidity
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir: became popular after the movie Sideways
  • Sangiovese: the predominant red wine grape of Tuscany in Central Italy. Makes a hearty, dry red wine.
  • Shiraz/Syrah: the classic Rhone Valley grape, Shiraz is the Australian name.
  • Zinfandel: the "American wine grape", from California.
  • White Zinfandel: remove red Zinfandel grapes from the juice before they impart significant color.
  • Tempranillo: primarily in Spain and Portugal. Spanish temprano ("early"), a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Unlike more aromatic red wine varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Pinot noir, Tempranillo has a relatively neutral profile so it is often blended with other varieties, such as Grenache and Carignan (known in Rioja as Mazuelo), or aged for extended periods in oak where the wine easily takes on the flavor of the barrel.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a red berry from France in the Médoc region and south of Bordeaux. This vine can be found along the gentle slopes of central Italy, considered its second home thanks to Italy’s climate which is not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer, as well as for its soil which is clayey and stony.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Sangiovese’s “cousin” is originally French but now known very much as a Tuscan wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is a more vegetal and round wine with more tannins and above all it offers a peculiar olfactory characteristic – smoked green pepper. This characteristic makes Cabernet Sauvignon a unique vine capable of expressing its entire structure and freshness even after ten or twenty years after bottling. Cabernet Sauvignon is fuller and darker, and the Sangiovese has more brilliant tones to it. From an olfactory perspective, the Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of green pepper and like many Super Tuscan wines, has notes of red and dark cherry just as the Sangiovese.

Barbera d'Alba


  • Chardonnay: the most popular white wine varietal in the United States. Usually fermented in oak barrels.
  • Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio: French and Italian names. (Gris/Grigio = grey) Pinot Grigio is the second most popular white wine variety sold in the United States.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: native to Loire and Bordeaux. Usually fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the acidity of the wine
  • Riesling: originated in the Rhine region. Can be semi-sweet or sweet or dry (sometimes labeled as Dry Riseling).
  • Gewürztraminer: A very aromatic variety. Pink skin. Typical aromas reminiscent of pink flowers and lychees. Grown all over the Alps. "gewürzt" means "spiced" in German. "Traminer" is another variety (green-skinned), Gewürztraminer is an aromatic mutation of Traminer.
  • Semillon: with distinct fig-like character. From France.

Other whites:

  • Pinot Blanc (Blanc = white)


  • Sauvignon Blanc grapes come from Bordeaux, whereas Chardonnay grapes are from Burgundy and are used to make both white wines and sparkling wines, including Champagne.


  • Champagne: sparkling wine produced in the Champagne wine region of France. Primary grapes: Pinot noir, Pinot meunier, and Chardonnay.
  • Crémant: "creamy", because of lower carbon dioxide pressures (today they may have full pressures). Also from France.
  • Moscato: from Italy.
  • Cava: from Spain.


Brandy has to be aged a minimum of two years.


Fermentation consumes sugar to create alcohol.

Different yeast can give different flavours to wine.