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Grape Varieties.

This page is a summary of the most common grape varieties, divided into red and white grapes. Certain tasting aspects of a grape will vary from country to country and even vineyard to vineyard, but the descriptions here are usually applicable. This list includes the more common varieties such as Cabernets, Chardonnays, etc, but also more unusual varieties perhaps specialities of one country.

Red Grapes.

Austrian equivalent of Pinot Noir.

Blauer Zweigelt.
Austrian variety. Produces a full bodied wine that is lightly spicy with rich tannins and mild acidity.

An Austrian variety gives a fresh, racy wine with fine acidity.

Cabernet Franc.
These grapes are small, black berries which will grow easily on most types of soil. It gives a wine with a bright, shiny hue similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. It brings strawberry and blackberry aromas, but they are often fairly understated hence the wine is often blended with other varieties.

Cabernet Sauvignon.
These small bunches of grapes result in a wine strong in tannins with aromas of blackcurrant and green pepper. The tannins can cause a harshness in younger wines which matures into a delicate bouquet.

Cinsault grapes are rarer now, producing large, sweet and juicy fruits.

Gamay grapes are red, but have white juice which is smooth and fruity. Many of these wines are best drunk young.

Grenache produces a wine with high alcohol content. It is a sweet grape, and essential in many sweet wines such as Banyuls.

Merlot is quite a delicate grape, giving rich colouring and softness to wines. It is for these properties that it is commonly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon.

This variety is making a comeback after being hit by disease. It is a juicy, bluish grape producing full bodied, deeply coloured wines.

Pinot Noir.
These tiny grapes give an uncoloured, sweet juice which is coloured by the skins giving a glistening wine of summer fruit aromas.

Also known as Blauer Portugieser in Austria and some areas of Germany. It is fruity and mild. It has low alcohol and acidity.

Sankt Laurent.
Dry and velvety, with robust flavours and tannins.

Syrahs are richly coloured with pepper, violet or raspberry aromas. This variation is due to soil differences.

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White Grapes.

These grapes have a mild, aromatic bouquet with delicate hints of soft sweetness.

Golden, shiny grapes which is conserved into the wines, which are delicate and dry. The basic fruity character of apple, lemon or citrus is normally added to by oak barrel ageing to give the traditional vanilla, oak and buttery aspects to the wine.

Chenin Blanc. Almost exclusive to the Loire Valley, it can be used for both dry and sweet wines which age well.

One of the oldest grape varieties, it is used for some muscats and sparkling wines.

Also known as Roter Traminer, it delivers a full, flowery bouquet and a soft, smooth wine with lychee nut flavours.

Gruner Veltliner.
Unusually for a white, it has a peppery aroma and is full bodied, fresh and fruity. It is a particularly good example of an Austrian wine.

A light, soft bouquet is delicate and fruity.

This variety gives a strong muscat style wine which is light, fresh and fruity.

This soft, full bodied white is identifiable by a distinct nutty aroma.

A mainly Austrian / German variety, it has a distinct acidity while being fresh and spicy.

Sauvignon Blanc.
Gives wines a herbaceous character, with aromas of melon or goosberries.

The Semillon produces a lively and dry white wine. Excellent sweet white wines are also made from Semillon Blanc as its grains are very sweet and low in acid.

Weisser Burgunder.
Austrian Pinot Blanc.

Austrian Riesling. It varies from traditional Riesling with its slightly spicy, apple tastes.

A rich, spicy white wine from Austria with a characteristic fruity acidity.

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