Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo is named after Nebbia, the fog that covers the hills of Piemonte, Italy, where Nebbiolo is the crowning glory. A very hard grape to grow, it is light skinned, making it prone to natures attack and often succumbs to hail,
frost and other problems. When it comes true however, it produces some of the finest, premium wines on the planet. It is forceful but elegant. Attempts at growing it elsewhere have been made, but no one has been able to replicate the quality that comes out of Piemonte.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Violets, Strawberries, Orange Peel Violets, Strawberries, Orange Peel, Tar, Tobacco Raspberry Jam, Sweet Orange, Tar
Acidity High High Medium+
Alcohol High High High
Body Medium+ Full Full
Tannin High High High
Sugar Dry Dry Dry

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Grenache

Similar to Merlot, this is a seriously underrated and underappreciated grape variety. It is one of the most planted grape varieties on the planet, yet most have never heard of it. It makes its way in to most Provence Rosé, it’s
an important blending partner in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône and it is a serious, prestigious wine in Priorat and Rioja in Spain (known as Garnacha). It can produce high yields, and as such delivers decent, quaffable wines, but when yields are restricted, the wines become concentrated and provide layers and layers of aromas.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours N/A Cherry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Milk Chocolate, White Pepper Cherry Jam, Strawberry, Raspberry Jam, Chocolate, White Pepper
Acidity N/A Medium Medium
Alcohol N/A Medium+ High
Body N/A Medium+ Medium+
Tannin N/A Medium Medium+
Sugar N/A Dry Dry

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Malbec

Malbec used to cover most of Europe’s vineyards, until a disease called phyloxera wiped out the majority of them. When they replanted the vineyards, Malbec lost it’s premium spot and now only about 1% of the vineyards in Europe contain this grape variety. It is very different across the pond however, where it became the main contender in the up and coming wine country, Argentina. Now produced in a variety of styles, from entry-level to super-premium, there is a Malbec for everyone.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Herbaceous, Black cherries, Earthy Black cherries, earthy, Cinnamon, Vanilla Black cherries, Black currant, Cinnamon Vanilla
Acidity Medium+ Medium Medium
Alcohol Medium Medium+ High
Body Medium Medium+ Full
Tannin Medium Medium+ Medium+
Sugar Dry Dry Dry

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Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is most commonly used as a blending component in Bordeaux, where it adds herbaceous notes to the blend. You can also find it as a varietal wine in Loire Valley and lately Argentina. Cabernet Franc has a distinctive bell pepper aroma that comes from the under ripeness the grape is famous for. Due to the diurnal range (day and night temperature
difference), Argentina actually manages to ripen the grape fully, creating more than just a plain blending component, but a serious future competitor to Malbec.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Green bell pepper, Black cherry, plum, earthy Green bell pepper, Blueberry, Plum, Sweet spice, earthy Red Pepper, Blueberries, Plum Jam, Sweet Spice, earthy
Acidity Medium + Medium+ Medium+
Alcohol Medium Medium Medium+
Body Medium Medium+ Full
Tannin Medium Medium Medium+
Sugar Dry Dry Dry

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Syrah

Syrah is definitely a wine lovers favourite grape. It has an uncanny ability to be true to it’s flavour profile with the pepper and meaty notes giving it away immediately. The most famous Syrah come from the Rhone Valley in France and South Australia but it is also common in other parts of the world, with Washington, USA producing some excellent Syrah wines.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Herbaceous, Blackcurrant, White Pepper Herbaceous, Blackberries, Blackcurrant, Black Pepper, Smoked Meat, Mediterranean Spice Blackberry Jam, Blackcurrant Jam, Black Pepper, Grilled Meat, Mediterranean Spice
Acidity High Medium+ Medium
Alcohol Medium+ Medium+ High
Body Medium+ Full Full
Tannin Medium+ High High
Sugar Dry Dry Dry

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Pinot Noir

The home of Pinot Noir is Burgundy, France, where the monks have been cultivating, researching and improving the grape for centuries. It produces very elegant, complex wines, that are unlike any other grape. It is an expensive grape to grow, so prices are rarely low, but it also rarely disappoints, so investment in Pinot is generally always a good idea. It is also one of the 3 main grapes in Champagne, California and New Zealand with many other wine regions such as Germany and South Africa looking to tame it.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Raspberry, Strawberry, Roses, Leather Raspberry, Strawberry, Cherry, Red Florals, Forrest Floor Cheery, Black Cherry, Sour Cherry, Strawberry Jam
Acidity High Medium+ Medium+
Alcohol Low Medium- Medium
Body Light Medium- Medium-
Tannin Low              Low Medium-
Sugar Dry Dry Dry

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Merlot

Merlot is a widely planted red grape variety. It is favoured for its high yields, so you can often find it in cheaper entry level wines, which gives it a bit of a bad reputation, unjustly so, especially when you consider that some of the best, most expensive wines in the world are made with Merlot, like the famed Chateau Petrus, grown on the right bank of Bordeaux.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Plum, Herbaceous, Strawberry Plum, Blueberry, Strawberry, Herbaceous Plum Jam, Blueberry Jam
Acidity High Medium+ Medium
Alcohol Medium- Medium Medium+
Body Medium Medium Medium+
Tannin Medium Medium+ Medium+
Sugar Dry Dry Dry

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Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet is the king of red grapes. It is the most planted noble grape variety in the world. It originated in France as an offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It is most famously grown in Bordeaux, France and California, USA, but most wine countries grow it to some extent.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours N/A Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Mint, Blueberries, Woody, Herbaceous Blueberry jam, strawberry jam, currant jam, Grape stalks
Acidity N/A Medium+ Medium
Alcohol N/A Medium+ High
Body N/A Full Full
Tannin N/A High High
Sugar N/A Dry Dry

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Vermentino

Vermentino is an Italian grape variety originating in the triangle between Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia. It found it’s way to France as well, where it is called Rolle and often blended in their rose wines, to add a fresh floral character. It produces good value wines, but very few are truly premium.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Green apples and lemons, white flowers Yellow apples and yellow pears, white flowers, jasmine Pineapple, white flowers, jasmine
Acidity Medium+ Medium Medium
Alcohol Medium- Medium Medium+
Body Medium+ Medium+ Full
Tannin N/A N/A N/A
Sugar Dry Dry Dry

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Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a white grape common in the Loire Valley of France. It’s versatile and can produce dry, off-dry, sparkling and sweet dessert wines. Also known as “Steen” in South Africa, wines made from Chenin Blanc typically exhibit floral aromas, apple and pear-like flavours and assertive acidity. In the best examples, wines exhibit a smooth silky texture, that really gives away the grape.

  Cool Climate Moderate Climate Warm Climate
Distinctive Flavours Lemon Drop, Jasmine Ripe Apple, Pear N/A
Acidity High Medium+ N/A
Alcohol Low Medium- N/A
Body Light Medium- N/A
Tannin N/A N/A N/A
Sugar Dry / Off-Dry / Sweet Dry / Off-Dry / Sweet N/A

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