There are far more grapes used in wine making than the ones below but these are the common ones that people will see either in the supermarket or their local wine merchant. Its always worth trying wines made with grape varities that you have not tried before.
Red wine grapes
Bordeaux-style Red Blends – These are a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot made in the south west of France, some of the finest wines are made here and have been for hundreds of years.
Shiraz / Syrah – Called Syrah in France and generally Shiraz else where, the wine is full bodied and a spice edge to the taste.
Cabernet Sauvignon – Cabernet Sauvignon is known as one of the noble grapes. Generally wine from this grape has high tannins as well an oak influences and high alcohol levels.
Cotes de Rhone – Generally made from a blend of any of the following – Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignane, Counoise and Mourvedre grapes varieties. The wines generally range in colour from deep crimson and ruby to almost purple and are generally full bodied with rich but smooth tannins.
Malbec – Grown around the world but famously known as being grown in Argentina the wine is deep in colour, full bodied and hign in tannin.
Merlot – Merlot based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry and plum with soft tannins.
Pinotage – A cross between pinot Noir and Cinsaut grown in South Africa, it typically produces deep red wines with smoky, bramble and earthy flavors.
Pinot Noir – The wine tends to be of light to mediumbody with an aroma reminiscent of black and / or red cherry, raspberry, currant and black berry fruits.
Rioja (Tempranillo) – Often growing its best at higher altitudes, the wines are ruby in color, with aromas and flavours of berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herb.
White Wine Grapes
Chardonnay – Chardonnays boast an impressive range of flavors from the expected buttered, Oak, Vanilla flavours to the fresh, fruit flavors of apple, pear, tropical, citrus and melon
Chablis – Made with the Chardonnay grape.
Chenin Blanc – Chenin as is often made as a dry wine with flavors of quince and apples.
Cotes de Rhone – whites must contain a minimum blend of 80%Clairette, Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Ugni blanc and Picpoul blanc. The wines range from dry with a tang of citrus to fuller, rounder wines which can be consumed as an aperitif.
Gavi – Best with Fish, drink young, most Gavi peaks within 1 year old and should not be left for more than 3 years. The wines are light, dry and fruity although their are fuller bodyones with oak and Vanilla flavours.
Gewürztraminer – Known as Gewurz, the variety has high natural sugar and the wines usually are off dry with tastes of lychees, roses, passion fruit and floral notes.
Muscat – Delicious served chilled on its own, generally the grapes are grown for sweet wines that range from light to fortified wines.
Pouilly-Fuisse – Pouilly-Fuisse is often known simply as “Pouilly” and is a dry white wine made from Chardonnay. It is often pale and refreshing, often quite delicate and often shows a clear oak and vanilla flavours.
Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris – Known in Italy as Pinot Grigio the wines vary greatly and are dependent on the region and wine making style they are from the italian lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas and a touch of spice to the medium to full bodied wines with a rich, somewhat floral bouquet in the new world. All are meant to be consumed early.
Riesling – The wines are often consumed when young, when they make a fruity and aromatic wine which may have aromas of apples, grapefruit, peach, gooseberry, honey, rose blossom or cut green grass and usually a crisp taste due to the high acidity. Old world wines such as sweet german Riesling wines can last for many years.
Rosé and Blanc de Noir – If on the dry side, can be a substitute for crisp, dry white wine.
Sancerre – These wines are generally full bodied and rounded wines