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Wine Grape Varieties and Their Wines

Aleatico

Aleatico (ahl-ih-at-ik-oh) is an Italian
variety found in most areas, with the
largest plantings in Tuscany and the island
of Elba. It is also grown in Corsica and it is
a minor variety in California. It has a
muscat flavour and is somewhat like a
black form of Muscat à petits grains.
In Italy, Aleatico is used to make a
highly regarded sweet, ruby coloured,
muscat wine. Aleatico can be used to
make white wines and fortified wines and
could be tried as a substitute for Muscat à
petits grains where there are problems
with that variety.


 Alvarelhao
Alvarelhao (ahl-vah-rel-oh) was recommended, along with Bastardo and Touriga, by Mr F. de Castella, former Government Viticulturist in Victoria, for the production of port. However, in the variety classification used in the Douro Valley in Portugal, Bastardo and Touriga are rated as very good but Alvarelhao is rated as only reasonable. So it is perhaps not surprising that less Alvarelhao than Touriga and Bastardo has been planted in Australia,
with a few small plantings in north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales only.There appears to be very little of this variety grown outside Portugal. It is not clear whether it is present in California, the variety  imported from there as Alvarelhao proved to be actually Touriga. Alvarelhao is lower in colour and tannin than the other port varieties and although widely planted in Portugal, does seem to be more suitable for red wine rather than port. It has been reported as producing red wines with good acidity and balance.


Barbera
Barbera (bar-beer-ah) is the leading wine
grape of Italy, grown mainly in Piedmont.
It is used in wines of controlled
appellation, sometimes alone and
sometimes mixed with other varieties.
Argentina grows some Barbera. It was
popular in California in the 1970s,
reaching 8600 ha in 1977, with around
4000 ha currently. There are 141 ha of
Barbera planted in Australia.
Wines from Barbera have good colour,
tannin and acidity, and a distinctive
varietal character which may not be
immediately acceptable to Australian
wine-drinkers.When aged in oak the
wines can be complex and full-bodied
with a delicate bouquet. In Italy it is
mostly used for making full-flavoured dry
red wines with earthy character, soft
tannin and ripe currant flavour, but sweet
red and sparkling red wines are also made
from it.

Bastardo
  Bastardo (bas-tah-doh) is considered one   
of the better port varieties in Portugal,
although it is not as widely grown as
Touriga or Tinta Amarella. It is also grown
under the name of Trousseau in the Jura
region in eastern France. It is probably one
of the ‘port sorts’ in South Africa and there
may be a little in California and South
America, but not enough to be recorded
separately. The exact area of planting in
Australia is uncertain. There is a small
quantity in South Australia as Cabernet
Gros, a little in north-east Victoria and
nearby in New South Wales called
Bastardo. Some plantings called Touriga in
New South Wales are also Bastardo.
Under most Australian conditions this
potentially sweet, full wine is best suited
for fortified wines. The fruit ripens early
and attains a high sugar concentration,
which increases even further as the
berries wilt. It does not provide much
colour in the wine but will combine with
other varieties that provide colour and
flavour.

Bianco d’Alessano

Bianco d’Alessano (be-ank-oh dal-essah- noh)
is a late-ripening white wine
grape variety from the Puglia region of
south-east Italy with substantial plantings
in the province of Taranto near Bari. Bianco
d’Alessano produces yields of about
30 tonnes/ha in the warm irrigated
regions of Australia. The juice is sweet
and neutral in flavour.
The wines tend to be neutral in
character and have been given only
average scores by tasting panels.

Biancone

Biancone (bee-yan-kowhn) has the
distinction of giving the highest
commercial yield of any variety in
Australia. Almost all is grown in the
Riverland of South Australia. The variety
comes from Corsica, where its excellent
production has led to one of its names
being Pagadebiti, literally ‘payer of debts’.
Small areas of Biancone have been grown
under the name of Grenache Blanc
Productif and it was probably imported
into Australia under this name.The
Biancone of the island of Elba is thought
to be the same variety but it does not
appear to have become established in any
other countries.
Biancone with its high yields has little
character, and this soft and fruity wine is
mainly used for distillation or bulk
production in the Riverland. There is some
evidence that it can produce a distinctive
dry white wine in cooler areas.

Bonvedro

Bonvedro (bon-ved-roh) is the Portuguese
name of this variety, which is also grown
in north-eastern Spain as Cuatendra. It
possibly also occurred in France as an
obscure variety and may have arrived in
Australia as part of a large collection, such
as Busby’s. In this way it could have
become confused with Carignan, the
name generally used for Bonvedro in
Australia.There may also have been
confusion with another variety from
north-eastern Spain,Miguel de Arco, as
the vines grown under this name in
Australia also seem to be Bonvedro. Small
quantities of Bonvedro are grown in
Australia, mostly in South Australia and a
little in New South Wales and Victoria.
Wines made from Bonvedro in
Australia have a pleasant varietal character
but are soft and lacking in tannin, and in
the past were unfavourably compared
with other varieties of wine with more
colour and tannin. Increasing interest in
lighter red wines may encourage a
reappraisal of this position.

Bourboulenc
Bourboulenc (bor-buh-lahnk) is a
recommended variety throughout
Mediterranean France and is found mainly
in the lower valley of the Rhone. It is an
approved variety for wines of controlled
appellation such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape
and Cotes du Rhone. It appears four times,
under different names, among Busby’s
imports into Australia in 1832, but has not
survived in any of the official viticultural
collections. It is found only as odd vines in
old vineyards in Great Western and
Rutherglen and possibly elsewhere.
In France, standard dry white wines
from Bourboulenc are delicate and lightly
aromatic with some varietal character
developing with bottle age.Wine from
very ripe grapes has a more special
character. In practice Bourboulenc is
usually harvested and fermented mixed
with other varieties.

Cabernet Franc


Cabernet Franc (ka-ber-nay frahnk) is an
important variety of the Bordeaux area of
France.There have been small plantings in
recent years, but Cabernet Franc generally
occurs in Australia as odd vines in
plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon,
particularly in north-east Victoria where it
sometimes occurs to the extent of more
than one vine in ten. In France, it is also
grown in the Loire Valley and is now
recommended throughout the entire
south, including Corsica. In Italy it is
regarded more highly than Cabernet
Sauvignon and recommended in more
provinces. The Cabernet varieties,
particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, are
important in eastern Europe and South
America but they are not always recorded
separately. Cabernet Franc, with 1427 ha
recorded in 2002, has not achieved the
same recognition as Cabernet Sauvignon
in California. 834 ha of this variety were
harvested in Australia in 2003.
Cabernet Franc makes a red wine of
excellent colour and rich flavour with
good tannin. These wines have a
pronounced varietal character and
because of their good tannin they age
particularly well. They can be
distinguished from the wines of Cabernet
Sauvignon and the presence of Cabernet
Franc may be partly responsible for the
special character of Cabernet wines from
north-east Victoria.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon (ka-ber-nay so-vinyohn)
comes from the Bordeaux region
of France and is the major variety in
some of the best wines of the Medoc
area. It is also prominent in Chile and
has increased rapidly in recent years in
California (30 754 ha in 2002), Australia
(28 871 ha in 2003) and South Africa. In
Italy it is a minor variety recommended
only in the extreme north. It is probably
more important in eastern Europe and
Argentina.
The excellent quality of the wines of
Cabernet Sauvignon is well-known and
the grape is very widely grown. The wines
are deep purple in colour and have high
tannins and a full rich flavour with a
pronounced varietal character, which is
very intense when the vines are grown
under cooler conditions.They show
complex black currant and other small
berry characters, but if harvested before
full maturity they can show excessive
herbaceous aromas.With their high
tannin they require aging and are often
blended with Shiraz, Cabernet Franc or
Merlot to produce magnificent wines.
The best wines can take 20 years to
reach their peak.

Cañocazo
Cañocazo (kan-o-kah-zo) is a minor
Spanish variety, not listed for use in any
wines of controlled appellation and not
authorised for planting in any part of
Spain. Scattered small plantings still exist
in the sherry area and it is one of four
varieties used as parents in a breeding
program at the national research station
at Jerez; the others are Palomino, Pedro
Ximenez and an authorised variety called
Garrido. It was probably brought to
Australia in early collections from the
sherry area and was formerly grown under
the names of Palomino and Pedro. In
Australia, Cañocazo is grown mostly in
South Australia with a little in the Murray
Valley Irrigation Areas of New South Wales
and Victoria.
From its origin Cañocazo should be
suitable for fortified wines and for
distillation. The fruit is neutral in flavour,
somewhat reminiscent of Doradillo but
ripening much earlier.Viticulturally it is
more reliable than Pedro Ximenez and
perhaps also Palomino, but does not have
the same reputation for wine quality.

Carignan
Carignan (kah-rig-nan or kah-rin-yon) is
best known as a French variety although it
is of Spanish origin, taking its name from
the town of Carinena in Aragon. It is a
prominent variety in several areas of Spain
but has not made much headway in other
European countries. The formerly large
area of Carignan planting in Algeria has
been considerably reduced since 1962. It
is still an important red grape variety in
California where it is known as Carignane,
although the area has declined and
currently stands at around 2445 ha. It is
grown to a lesser extent in Chile and
Argentina. In 2003 there were 51 ha of
Carignan growing commercially in
Australia. It should not be confused with
Bonvedro, which was incorrectly called
Carignan in South Australia.
The variety is more susceptible to
fungal diseases than most other wine
grape varieties and needs a higher level of
light for full photosynthetic efficiency. In
Australia, therefore, it should do best in
the inland irrigation areas.
Carignan gives fairly acid red wines of
moderate colour and high tannin.The
wines can lack fruit and softness and are
sometimes bitter. In France and Spain it is
often crushed with varieties such as
Grenache, Cinsaut and Tempranillo to give
very pleasant wines ready for drinking
when young.

Chambourcin
Chambourcin (sham-bour-sin) is a
complex hybrid produced in France by
the private breeder Joannes Seyve
(JS26-205). Its parentage has not been
published but it would be based on the
better Seibel hybrids and involve up to
eight of the US species of Vitis. It was
officially released in 1963. It is being
grown commercially in the eastern US
and was introduced into Australia by
CSIRO in 1973.
Chambourcin shows very good
resistance to downy and powdery
mildews and to phylloxera, both against
damage to the root system and galling on
the leaves
Wines from Chambourcin have drawn
some favourable comments even in
France, where the planting of hybrids is
heavily discouraged. In Australia these
aromatic wines have shown good ruby
colour and acidity and have scored well
in blind tastings.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay, (shah-don-nay) rather than
the former name of Pinot Chardonnay, is
now the official name for this variety in
France and California, two places where it
is widely grown, to avoid confusion with
Pinot Blanc. In France most of the
plantings are in the Burgundy and
Champagne regions. In California it was
not widely grown until selected clones of
high yield became available. Expansion
since then has been rapid and there are
now around 40 000 ha planted.
Chardonnay is grown in many other
countries but it is sometimes difficult to
know how much confusion there may be
with Pinot Blanc. There have been small
plantings of Chardonnay in Australia for
many years, but only relatively recently has
that the variety has become popular, with
plantings now in excess of 24 000 ha.
Chardonnay is used in the fine white
wines of Burgundy and Chablis, and is one
of the varieties used in Champagne. In
California it is recommended for the
cooler areas. The most suitable areas for
the variety in Australia have still to be
determined, but it appears to be possible
to make high-quality wines in a wide
range of Australian climates. Australian
wine-makers make less use of oak in the
fermentation and maturation of
Chardonnay. It is a wine capable of many
different characters – fruity, floral, and
sometimes acid – and blends well with
wines such as Semillon and Colombard.
Most Chardonnay wines develop quickly
in the bottle and change substantially
over a few years. The best wines are well
balanced, soft and full-bodied with
complex melon and dried peach
characters. Except for the very best, most
of these wines are designed to be
consumed within two to five years.

Chasselas
Chasselas (shas-el-as or shas-ah-lah) is an
important table grape in Europe with
extensive plantings for this purpose in
France and Italy. It ripens early but is
popular in Europe even when other
varieties are available.The pleasant flesh
texture outweighs the presence of seeds
in the berries, which are rather small for a
table grape. It is used as a white wine
grape in cool areas and may have
originated in Switzerland where it is the
principal white wine grape. There are
plantings in Alsace, Germany, Austria and
eastern Europe. About 100 ha are
recorded in Australia. In Victoria, which has
about half the area, it is used for wine. In
Western Australia and New South Wales,
which share the rest, a fair proportion of
the crop is marketed as table grapes.The
variety is sometimes known as Golden
Chasselas or Chasselas Doré, but Palomino
has been mistakenly called Golden
Chasselas in California and this mistake
may have carried through into Australia.
Chasselas is an old grape variety and
in cooler areas is used to produce
pleasant, light, white wines with no
pronounced varietal character. In hot
areas, the fruit is too low in both sugar
and acid to be satisfactory for winemaking

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc (shen-in blohnc or shan-in
blohnc) is the official name for this variety
in France, but it is often called Pineau de la
Loire. It is the main variety of the Loire
Valley. In California there was a rapid
increase in area planted, until the early
1990s.The variety called Pinot Blanco in
Chile and Argentina is Chenin Blanc.The
largest area of Chenin Blanc is in South
Africa, where it is planted under the name
of Steen. The variety seems to have been
brought to Australia under several names
and its identity lost. In Western Australia it
was formerly incorrectly known as
Semillon, and in South Australia it was
wrongly named Albillo or Sherry. 748 ha of
Chenin Blanc were recorded in Australia in
2003.
Chenin Blanc has a good acidity and is
used very successfully in South Africa and
California for well-balanced dry white
wine with good body and sometimes a
floral aroma. The best wines can have an
elegant honey bouquet of peaches and
apricots, and age well. In favoured parts of
the Loire Valley it can be affected by noble
rot, and produces excellent luscious sweet
wines. It is also used in some very good
sparkling wines.

Cienna
Cienna (sih-en-nah) is one of three new
varieties of wine grape varieties
developed by CSIRO and granted Plant
Breeders Rights in 2000. Cienna, Rubienne
and Tyrian are all progeny of a cross
between the Spanish variety Sumoll and
Cabernet Sauvignon, made in 1972 by the
late Allan Antcliff at the Merbein research
station. Each of the new varieties was
selected using criteria including good
(grape juice) sugar:acid ratios, low pH,
good colour and flavour and adequate
yields.The aim was to produce highquality
red varieties suited to Australian
conditions.The best few varieties were
extensively trialled and evaluated by
industry panels and under a range of
climatic and cultural conditions.
Wine made from Cienna can be
described as having medium to dark
colour, with herbaceous berry aromas and
cherry flavours and good tannin structure.

Cinsaut
Cinsaut (sahn-soh) (sometimes spelt
Cinq-saou or Cinsault) is a variety from the
Mediterranean region in the south of
France. Some Cinsaut is registered for the
purpose of table grapes but its main
importance is as a recommended variety
for improving the quality of the wines
from the south of France. In South Africa it
is called Hermitage. It was formerly grown
quite widely in Algeria and, being the
black variety best adapted to the hot dry
conditions there, plantings of it may not
have been as drastically reduced as those
of other varieties. It is grown in Italy under
the name of Ottavianello in the province
of Brindisi. In California, the small planting
(63 ha) is also called Black Malvoisie. In
Australia, some is grown in South Australia,
Victoria and New South Wales. It has been
called Blue Imperial in north-east Victoria,
Black Prince at Great Western and often
Ulliade or Oeillade in other areas.
By itself Cinsaut gives fruity wines
which have an attractive red colour and
pleasant fruity bouquet but are low in
tannin. It is generally used to add
smoothness in conjunction with varieties
such as Grenache and Carignan in France,
and Primitivo in Italy. In France it is used in
many wines of controlled appellation
including Cotes du Rhone, Tavel,
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cassis and Bandol.
It can produce excellent rose wines.

Clairette
Clairette (klair-reht) is an important
variety in the south of France. It was also
the most important white variety in the
French colony of Algeria before the
country gained independence, with an
estimated 10 000 ha. lt does not appear to
be grown in Europe outside France and
the only major plantings elsewhere
appear to be in South Africa and Australia,
nearly all in the Hunter Valley of New
South Wales. In France it is sometimes
known as Blanquette and this name is
used in New South Wales. (The so-called
Blanquette of South Australia is a clone of
Doradillo.) Two other varieties in France
have also been referred to as Clairettes –
Ugni Blanc (synonym, Trebbiano) is
sometimes called Clairette Ronde in both
France and Italy, and Bourboulenc has
been called Grosse Clairette or Clairette
Doree.
Oxidation occurs very readily during
wine-making with Clairette, and ‘rancio’
wines made with overripe grapes are still
covered by the French-controlled
appellation regulations. Clairette also
imparts a distinctive varietal character in
the absence of oxidation and is used in
many appellation wines, both still and
sparkling. It is sometimes used alone but
more often in combination with other
varieties: some red wines contain up to
20% Clairette.

Colombard
Colombard (kohl-om-bard) is a variety
from the Bordeaux region of France.
Although it has fallen from favour in
France in recent years, with a decline in
plantings, it has seen a remarkable
expansion in California, where the
plantings are about 14 200 ha. It is also
grown in South Africa.There were a
number of introductions into Australia
from California and in 2003 the planted
area of Colombard here was 2700 ha.
In France, Colombard is regarded only
as an accessory variety for white table
wine.The fruit will remain on the vine in
good condition after it is ripe and retain a
good acidity, but if left too long may give
an unpleasant character to the wine. It
produces a brandy of high quality, but not
superior to that from Folle Blanche or
Saint Emilion (Trebbiano). In California,
because of its high acidity, Colombard is
considered suitable for blending to
produce quality white table wines that are
crisp and fruity. It is also used for
producing sparkling wines.

Crouchen
Crouchen (kru-shen) is a French variety
which has now practically disappeared
from France. It is still a recommended
variety in the south-west near the
Pyrenees and appears on the list of
varieties which can be used in the wines
of Bearn. Crouchen was used in the
excellent ‘vin de sable’ produced near
Capbreton before the afforestation of the
Landes displaced the vineyards during the
twentieth century. The name used there
for the variety, Sable Blanc, may well
correspond with the ‘Sales Blanc’
introduced into New South Wales by
James Busby in 1832.
The variety now seems to be grown
only in South Africa and Australia. In South
Africa it came to be called Riesling, and
seems to have been introduced from
there to the Adelaide area as Riesling. It
spread from there to the Clare and
Riverland areas before the mistaken
identity was discovered. It was then called
Clare Riesling, until finally identified as
Crouchen. It was also brought into the
Barossa Valley, where it was mis-identified
as Semillon, and taken from there to the
Sunraysia area as Semillon before it was
identified as Clare Riesling.
Crouchen does not adapt successfully
to as wide a range of climates as Rhine
Riesling does. It does not ripen in very
cool areas and loses its character in a hot
climate. In areas to which it is adapted, it
produces pleasant dry white wines with a
delicate varietal character that can
improve with ageing.

Dolcetto
Dolcetto (dol-chet-oh) is an important
variety in the Piemonte region of Italy.
Unlike some of the other red varieties of
the region, which are also grown in other
parts of Italy, Dolcetto is regarded as
having a special adaptation limited to
Piemonte. There is very little Dolcetto in
other countries, with only a few hectares
in both Argentina and Australia. Australian
plantings are confined to South Australia
and Victoria. The area in South Australia,
where the variety has been correctly
named, has decreased over the years,
while in Victoria, where it has been
confused with Malbec, there have been a
few small new plantings which were
intended to be of Malbec.
In Italy, Dolcetto is used alone in the
denomination of origin wines Dolcetto
d’Acqui and Dolcetto d’Ovada, which are
well-regarded wines of medium body and
characteristic quince and almond aromas.
Wine from Dolcetto can be velvety with a
fine bright-red colour, which may lack
intensity if the vines are heavily cropped
or grown in unsuitable conditions.There
appear to be situations in the cooler areas
of Victoria that are well-suited to the
variety.

Doradillo
Doradillo (dor-ad-il-loh) is a variety which
seems to have found its greatest
acceptance in Australia. It was imported
under that name from Spain by James
Busby in 1832. It was also taken to South
Africa and further importations were
made to Australia from there. It does not
seem to be a commercial variety in South
Africa and it is not recorded separately in
Spanish plantings. It may perhaps be
included under Jaen, a name said to have
been used for more than one variety in
Spain. Jaen that was imported to Merbein
from the Estacion de Viticultura y Enologia
et Requena in Valencia province has
proved similar to, but distinct from,
Doradillo.Of the 145 ha of Doradillo in
Australia, about three-quarters grows in
South Australia and the rest in New South
Wales and Victoria.
In Australia, Doradillo is used mainly
for distillation and for the production of
sherries.The variety yields consistently
well but the fruit matures late and is quite
neutral in flavour.

Dourado
Dourado (du-rah-doh) is a variety from
the Tagus Valley of Portugal. Its full name
is Gallego Dourado. In South Africa it is
planted as (False) Pedro. lt is likely that it
was brought from South Africa to
Australia as it is known here as Pedro,
sometimes Pedro Ximenez in error, but
more usually distinguished as Rutherglen
Pedro. It may also have come in James
Busby’s collection in l832 under some
other name or unnamed, as it occurred
unidentified in vineyards which might be
sourced from Busby’s collection.Dourado
can be found as odd vines in most of the
older wine-growing districts. Appreciable
numbers of vines are mixed with other
varieties at Mudgee and Great Western
and small plantings are present at Roma,
in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and
north-east Victoria.
Because of the confusion with Pedro,
the variety has probably been mostly
used in fortified wines in Australia but it
can be successfully used for pleasant dry
white wines.

Durif
Durif (dur-if ) has been known as a variety
for only about a century, and owes its
name to Dr Durif who propagated it in
the Rhone Valley in France around 1880. It
resembles Peloursin and may be a
seedling or a sport from this variety. It was
popular in France as it appeared to have
some resistance to downy mildew.
However, it is no longer recommended or
authorised and its planted area in France
is declining. It is sometimes known as
Pinot de l’Ermitage but is in no way
related to the true Pinots. Another name,
Syrah Forchue, refers to its tendency to
produce forked shoots.The Petite Sirah of
California may be a mixture of Durif and
Peloursin, although the proportions are
unclear. All clones imported to Australia
have proved to be Durif.Vineyards
examined have shown roughly equal
numbers of the two varieties – the total
area of plantings in 2003 was 331 ha.
Durif produces red wines of intense
colour and high tannin, requiring long
ageing. Some excellent full-bodied wines
have been produced in north-eastern
Victoria.

Farana
Farana (far-ah-nah) is the Algerian name
for this variety. It is grown in other
countries around the Mediterranean Sea,
and is known as Planta Pedralba in Spain,
Mayorquin in France, Beldi in Tunisia and
Damaschino in Sicily.The major plantings
were in Algeria and Spain, but as wine
grape plantings have declined in Algeria
since independence, Spain probably now
has the largest area. In Australia a little is
grown in the Barossa Valley, where it was
formerly confused with Trebbiano.
In Spain, Farana is classed with
Palomino and Pedro Ximenez as a variety
for making dessert wines of high quality.
In North Africa it is sometimes used as a
table grape, but in the cooler
mountainous areas of Algeria it is used in
making superior dry white wines.

Folle Blanche
Folle Blanche (fol blonsh) was best
known as the variety used in making the
brandies of Cognac and Armagnac.The
use of rootstocks, which became
necessary after the phylloxera invasion,
accentuated its susceptibility to Botrytis; in
affected areas its replacement by Saint
Emilion (syn.Trebbiano) and, to a lesser
extent, Colombard is well advanced.This is
reflected in the decrease in planted area
in France from 15 800 ha to 3600 ha
between 1958 and 1988. However, it is
maintaining and even slightly increasing
its area in the lower valley of the Loire,
where it is used to make a wine exported
to Germany for making sparkling wines, or
a white table wine, high in acid and low in
alcohol, for which there is some demand.
In California it accumulates enough
sugar to make a good table wine, yet
retains enough acid to be excellent for
sparkling wine. However, expansion is
restricted by problems with bunch rot.
The variety has not been grown
commercially in Australia. Plantings which
might have been Folle Blanche have
proved to be the variety known as Sercial
in Australia.
The white wines of Folle Blanche are
usually pale, thin and very acid with a
fresh and fruity character. In France,
brandy made from Folle Blanche is
regarded as the best. The Cognacs
produced have excellent perfumed
bouquets.

Furmint
Furmint (fer-mint) is a famous white
grape variety but there seems to be only
one major planting in the world – in
Hungary, for making the special wines of
Tokaj-Hegyalja. Furmint has been taken to
many other countries but does not seem
to have been planted extensively in any of
them. It has probably been in Australia
since Busby’s import of 1832 but is found
only as odd vines in plantings of other
varieties, including a mixed planting at
Great Western dating from 1868. A variety
imported from Italy as Furmint has proved
to be another, as yet unidentified, variety.
In Hungary Furmint is used in about
equal proportions with another variety,
Harslevelu. The famous Aszu wines are
made by a complex process in which the
berries dried by noble rot are separated
and prepared for sweetening the wine
made from the rest of the fruit. These are
very fine wines, comparable with the best
of the noble rot wines from other
countries, but the dry and sweet wines
made by simple fermentation in years
when there is not enough noble rot for
making Aszu wines also show excellent
bouquet and flavour.

Gamay
Gamay (ga-may) ranks after Carignan,
Grenache,Merlot, Cinsaut, Cabernet
Sauvignon and Aramon among the red
wine grapes of France. A little over half the
total planting is in the Beaujolais region,
the rest is scattered through Burgundy
and the Loire Valley. Gamay is also grown
in the north of Italy and neighbouring
areas in Yugoslavia. It has not been grown
in California and there has been confusion
in Australia because varieties introduced
from California as Gamay proved to be
wrongly named.The Gamay Beaujolais
imported in 1962 was in fact a clone of
Pinot Noir with an upright growth habit,
and the Napa Gamay imported in 1968
was Valdiguie. Clones of the true Gamay
have since been imported from France
and a single vine was found in an old
planting at Great Western.
Wine from Gamay should be light and
fresh, bright-red in colour and low in
tannin. They are ready for bottling and
drinking without ageing.The best wines
have a violet, purple colour with high
acidity and a fruity aroma. As with Pinot
Noir, the best wines are likely to come
from the cooler areas. The original Gamay
variety has fruit with colourless juice. Since
1800, mutants with coloured juice have
been selected: first, Gamay de Bouze, from
which came Gamay Freaux and Gamay de
Chaudenay. Gamay Freaux has the most
intense colour but is reputed to give the
poorest-quality wine.The others are
nearer the original Gamay in both the
colour and quality of their wines.

Graciano
Graciano (grah sih-ahn-oh) is primarily a
Spanish variety. Although it is not one of
the major varieties used in bulk wines,
there are a few thousand hectares of
Graciano in the Ebro Valley where, along
with Carignan and Tempranillo, it is an
important component in the appellation
wines of Rioja and Navarra. In France the
variety is called Morrastel and is
recommended in the south, but little
remains, possibly because of its relatively
low yield. The area of Graciano in Australia
is very small. The variety should not be
confused with the so-called Morrastel of
South Australia, which is really Mataro, nor
with the Mourastel imported from
California, which is Carignan. In Algeria,
large areas of Mataro were mistakenly
called Morrastel. Xeres imported from
California proved to be Graciano.
Graciano produces a red wine that is
strongly coloured and high in acid and
tannin, and ages well. The wines are fullbodied,
of high quality and with a delicate
bouquet.

Grenache
Grenache (gren-ahsh) is a very important
variety in southern Europe.There are large
plantings in Spain, where it is known as
Garnacha. In France the area of Grenache
was around 87 000 ha in 1988, and has no
doubt continued to increase at the
expense of the high-yielding but poorquality
variety Aramon. It is an important
variety on the island of Sardinia, where it is
called Cannonao. Grenache is also grown
in Sicily and the southern Italian mainland
under the names of Granaccia and
Alicante.Other than Europe and remnant
plantings in Algeria, the only appreciable
areas are in California and Australia.
Australia has 2322 ha, most in South
Australia and the rest fairly evenly divided
between New South Wales, Victoria and
Western Australia.
The wines of Grenache are low in
colour by Australian standards and age
rapidly. Nevertheless, Grenache is regarded
as a premium variety in France if it is not
cropped too heavily. It is used alone only
in rosé and fortified wines. For red table
wines it is usually combined with varieties
such as Carignan and Mataro, which
provide acid and tannin, and Cinsaut
which gives smoothness. Shiraz, Clairette,
Mourvedre and other varieties may also
be included to increase complexity.

Harslevelu
Harslevelu (hahsh-lev-ee-loo) is an old
white grape variety from the Tokay region
of Hungary, where it is blended with
Furmint to make the famous sweet wines
of the region. Both of these varieties seem
well-suited to the concentrating effect of
Botrytis cinerea – ‘noble rot’ – and produce
wines that more than rival the wines from
the Sauternes region of France.
The juice is sweet and aromatic with a
spicy perfume that is an important part of
the famous Tokay sweet dessert wines
when blended with Furmint. Dry
Harslevelu wines can also produce full
flavoured and aromatic wines in the south
of Hungary.

Jacquez
Jacquez ( jak-ez or jah-kay) is one of a
group of varieties to which the species
name Vitis bourquiniana or V. bourquina
has been given. The original members,
including Jacquez, appear to be natural
hybrids between V. aestivalis and V. vinifera.
Jacquez, generally known as LeNoir in the
US, is thought to have originated in
Georgia or the Carolinas but has not been
widely grown in that country. It became
very popular in France after the vineyards
were devastated by phylloxera, but was
banned from the production of wine for
sale about 50 years ago. It may still be
used as a rootstock and remains popular
for this purpose on suitable soils in South
Africa. In Australia, where it has been
called Troya, annual production has been
about 100 tonnes, mostly in the
Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area with a little
in the Hunter Valley.
Red wine from Jacquez has a deep
colour and a strong, unusual flavour, less
unpleasant than those of the hybrids of
V. labrusca.

Malbec
Malbec (mahl-bek) (sometimes spelt
Malbeck) is an approved synonym for Cot,
the official French name of this red grape
variety. Another synonym used in some
areas is Auxerrois.Most is grown in
Gironde, some in the departements to the
east of Bordeaux, and some in the Loire
Valley. It is permitted in wines of
controlled appellation in all these areas
and is the principal variety in Cahors. It
does not seem to have spread elsewhere
in Europe and there is only a little in
California, but it is one of the most
important black varieties in Argentina.
There is a significant amount in Chile. In
Australia at least two other varieties,
Dolcetto and Tinta Amarella, have
sometimes been incorrectly called
Malbec, but in 2003 plantings were
recorded at 488 ha.
With moderate yields in cooler areas,
Malbec makes a balanced red wine of
good colour which has a less intense
varietal aroma and is softer than Cabernet
wines. It combines well with the other
Bordeaux varieties to give wines designed
for earlier maturity rather than very long
holding. In the Loire Valley it is sometimes
used alone to give rosé wines with strong
fruit character; in Cahors it is used with up
to 30% of Semillon or three other minor
varieties to give a very deep-red wine
which is aged for several years before
bottling.

Marsanne
Marsanne (mah-san) is a minor French
variety from the Hermitage area in the
Rhone Valley. There is also a little growing
in the Valais in Switzerland under the
name of Ermitage. About 265 ha are
planted in Australia, the vast majority in
the Goulburn Valley and north-eastern
Victoria and the rest in New South Wales.
In France,Marsanne used alone has
the reputation of producing light white
wines with little varietal character, which
age very quickly. The addition of a
proportion of another variety, Roussanne,
is considered to improve quality.Wines
from Marsanne in Australia appear to have
more body and character, but the major
plantings include an appreciable
proportion of other varieties, which may
take the place of the Roussanne. Some of
the wines made from Marsanne in the
past have been rather heavy; now they are
light and fruity with a perfumed fragrance.

Mataro
Mataro (mat-ahr-roh) is another variety
from southern Europe, and needs more
warmth than Grenache. In Spain it is also
called Monastrell or Morastell. In France,
apart from small plantings under the
name of Balzac in the Cognac area, where
the fruit does not ripen properly, it is
confined to the warmest areas of
Provence, where it is called Mourvedre. It
was a very successful variety in Algeria but
it is not clear how much of the 20 000 ha
formerly planted has survived. There are
about 264 ha in California. The 1092 ha in
Australia are in South Australia, New South
Wales and Victoria. The name Balzac is
used at Corowa, and at Great Western the
variety is called Esparte.
Mataro alone gives red wines that are
deep-coloured and rather neutral in
flavour, and can be very astringent. This
could explain why it has not been very
highly regarded in Australia. However, it
combines well with other varieties such as
Shiraz and is an important component in
some European wines.Mataro wines age
well.

Melon
Melon (meh-lohn) is the official French
name for this white grape variety and is
used in Burgundy where it originated.
However, very little is now grown in this
area, compared with the lower valley of
the Loire, where it is known as Muscadet.
In California, where it is erroneously called
Pinot Blanc, there were about 650 ha in
1992. It was imported into Australia from
California in 1962 under the name of Pinot
Blanc so care is needed to ensure that it is
not confused with the true Pinot Blanc,
which was imported from Europe more
recently.
The white wines of Muscadet
produced in the Loire Valley are dry and
fresh with a good bouquet, and are highly
regarded as wines to be drunk young.
Good wines have also been produced in
California, where a high content of tannin
in the skins has been noted and special
care in wine-making has been
recommended to prevent darkening.The
wine can improve with ageing on lees.

Merlot
Merlot (muhr-loh) is the principal black
variety of the Bordeaux area and is also
recommended in the south of France.The
area planted in France increased
dramatically between the late 1950s and
the late 1980s.The variety has been
introduced into other European countries
and replaced local varieties. In Italy it is
now recommended in more provinces
than any other single variety, although it is
far from surpassing Italian varieties such as
Barbera and Sangiovese in area or
production. In California there were
almost no plantings before 1970, but by
1992 the area of Merlot was
approximately 4050 ha and ten years later
had increased to 21121 ha. It is a minor
variety in Chile and Argentina. No early
introduction into Australia has been
traced.There were 10 350 ha of Merlot in
production in Australia by 2003.
The red wine of Merlot has a
distinctive plummy flavour clearly related
to that of the Cabernets. It has good
colour with a plummy flavour but it is
softer and ages more quickly than
Cabernet wines. Although it can be used
alone, it is more often blended with the
Cabernets in the finest wines of controlled
appellation of the Bordeaux region.The
wines can be full-bodied and well
balanced with supple tannins and with a
bouquet reminiscent of black currants.

Meunier
Meunier, (meuh-nyay) or Pinot Meunier as
it is often known, is a sport of Pinot Noir
and could have been established
independently on a number of occasions.
It has recently been shown that Pinot
Meunier is a chimera. The greatest area of
the variety is in France. As with Pinot Noir,
the area has been expanding, nearly all in
the Champagne area where it is the major
variety. In Germany it is grown mostly in
Wurtemburg, where it is known as
Schwarzriesling. In Australia, where the
name has sometimes been translated as
Miller’s Burgundy, the 120 ha of plantings
are confined to a few small areas in
Victoria. In l960 there was a very small
quantity in New Zealand, but it has since
lost favour and very little remains.
In France Meunier is used for
champagne, blended with Chardonnay
and Pinot Noir. In Australia it is used to
make attractive, light, dry red wines.

Monbadon
Monbadon (mohn-bah-don or mohnbah-
dn) comes from France and is found
mainly in the Bordeaux and Cognac areas,
with a little in Provence. It is no longer
recommended or authorised, and has
declined in area. It is a minor white grape
variety (approximately 602 ha) in
California, where it is known as Burger. In
Australia there is a little Monbadon in the
Corowa–Wahgunyah area of north-east
Victoria.
In France and California Monbadon is
used only as an accessory variety, giving
light, neutral wines which can be blended
with wines from more distinctive varieties.
At Corowa–Wahgunyah it accumulates
enough sugar to be useful for dessert
wines.

Mondeuse
Mondeuse (mohn-deuhs) is a minor
variety in eastern France and its area has
been decreasing slowly. In California there
was a more rapid decrease, to about 40 ha
in 1980. Although the variety is called
Refosco in California it is different from
any of the varieties known as Refosco in
Italy. In Australia a small area of Mondeuse
is grown commercially in north-east
Victoria.
The red wines of Mondeuse are
notable for their colour and tannin. In
California they are used for blending.
The limited quantity of this spicy wine in
Australia produces wine which is usually
combined with other varieties.

Montils
Montils (mohn-tils) is a minor white grape
variety of the Cognac area of France,
mainly grown close to the coast. Although
it remains an authorised variety for the
area, plantings have declined
considerably. In Australia there are small
plantings in the Hunter Valley, some as
Montils and some under the name of
Aucarot or Aucerot. This name is a
corruption of Amarot, a variety introduced
by James Busby in 1832, but, as happened
in other cases, the plants were confused;
Amarot is a large black grape.Montils was
also tried experimentally in north east
Victoria but the Aucerot in this area
appears to be a different, as yet
unidentified, variety.
In France,Montils is considered to
make a white wine comparable with that
of Colombard. At Merbein,Montils usually
ripens about 2 weeks later than
Colombard and has excellent low acidity.
Yields of the two varieties are comparable.
Wines from Montils over 4 seasons scored
at least as well as those from Colombard,
and Montils was one of the most
promising varieties in trials in north-east
Victoria. In France it has produced
excellent brandies.

Moschata Paradisa
Moschata Paradisa (mos-kah-tah par-ahdihsa)
is the name by which this white
grape variety is known in Australia and so
far it has not been traced to any variety
grown or described overseas. It is known
to have been planted commercially only
at Mudgee although there may be odd
vines elsewhere. The early maturity and
rapidity with which the fruit then
deteriorates, combined with the softness
and slightly unusual flavour of the berries,
suggest that there may be a little Vitis
labrusca in the ancestry of the variety. On
the other hand the leaves show no sign of
any species other than V. vinifera.There is
some resemblance to the Malvasia Bianca
imported from California but the two
varieties are distinct.
While care is needed to harvest the
fruit as soon as it is ripe,Moschata
Paradisa can be used to make a pleasant
varietal white wine.

Müller-Thurgau
Müller-Thurgau (muhl-ah toor-goh) was
introduced into commerce in about 1920,
and by 1970 passed Sylvaner and Riesling
to become the leading wine grape of
Germany. It is also grown in central
Europe, particularly Czechoslovakia,
Austria and Hungary but, apart from a
very small area in Alsace, not in France or
in North or South America. It comes from
a cross made at Geisenheim in 1882 by Dr
Müller, a Swiss from Thurgau, who
returned to Switzerland taking his
promising seedlings with him. In 1913,
when its great potential was obvious, it
was brought back to Germany for testing.
It is supposed to be a cross of Riesling and
Sylvaner, but recent DNA typing showed
that Sylvaner could not have been a
parent. From its character, some experts
think that it is a cross of two Riesling
clones, but DNA typing also showed that
although Riesling was one parent of
Müller-Thurgau, it could not have been
both. In Switzerland and some other
countries it is called Riesling × Sylvaner in
deference to its breeder’s wishes. In
Luxembourg it is called Rivaner. There has
been very limited planting of the variety
in Australia.
The white wine from Müller-Thurgau,
although it has little acid and lacks the
very distinctive bouquet of Riesling, has a
definite aromatic, muscat character and is
well-regarded among German wines. In
warmer regions the wines tends to lack
acid and finesse.

Muscadelle
Muscadelle (mus-kah-del) is a white
grape variety of the Bordeaux region,
where it forms a minor component in the
famous wines of Graves, Barsac, Sauternes
etc. There are currently around 174 ha of
this variety in Australia where it is also
known under the name of Tokay.
Sauvignon Vert introduced from California
has also proved to be Muscadelle.
Sauvignon Vert is no longer favoured in
California. There also appear to be
plantings in Hungary, Romania and the
Ukraine. Muskadel in South Africa is a
different variety, Muscat à petits grains.
In France,Muscadelle gives a white
wine with a marked bouquet somewhat
reminiscent of muscat and only a small
proportion is needed to achieve the
desired degree of character. In California
Sauvignon Vert is used on its own, and has
an objectionable bitterness on the palate.
The fruit ripens early and can attain very
high sugar content, however, the wines
tend to be sensitive to oxidation. The use
of very ripe, partially raisined grapes for a
sweet fortified wine seems to be unique
to Australia and is very successful.

Muscat à petits grains
Muscat à petits grains (mus-kat ah-petigran)
is the official French name for this
variety, and means simply Muscat with
small berries. There are three colour
variants – white, rose and red. The two
coloured forms mutate readily from one
to the other and to white, but there
appear to be two types of white – one is
stable and the other mutates to the
coloured forms.
The white form seems to
predominate in Europe. In Italy the official
name is Moscato Bianco, and there are
plantings in other Mediterranean
countries. The name Muscat Blanc in
California seems to indicate that only the
white form is used there, and the
plantings in Argentina are listed as
Moscato d’Asti, among the white varieties.
In South Africa most of the Muskadel, as
the variety is known there, are of the red
form. In Australia there are 560 ha. A little
more than half is the red form and the
name Brown Muscat used in north-east
Victoria is very appropriate.
The fruit ripens early and, if left on the
vine, wilts to give a very high sugar
concentration.
The red form of Muscat à petits grains
does not have enough colour to make a
red wine, but this fragrant and fruity
variety with its relatively high acidity can
be used to make a range of excellent
wines, from highly flavoured sparkling
wines to luscious fortified wines. It can
also be used to accentuate the flavour of
dry white wines made from other
varieties.

Muscat Gordo Blanco
Muscat Gordo Blanco, (mus-kat gorh-doh
blohn-koh) the name used in Australia for
this variety, comes from Spain and
translates as ‘fat white muscat’.The name
best known internationally would
probably be Muscat of Alexandria.The
variety is also called Moscatel de Malaga
in Spain, Muscat de Setubal in Portugal,
Zibibbo in Italy and Hanepoot in South
Africa. Although widely grown, it does not
cover a very large area in any country.
Australia has about 2500 ha.
The fruit can attain a very high sugar
content in the warmer areas but is then
low in acid and has a high pH.
Muscat Gordo Blanco is a true
multipurpose grape. It is used as a table
grape, dried for raisins, which may be
deseeded for use in baking and
confectionery or kept as clusters for
dessert use (muscatels), and crushed for
unfermented grape juice as well as for
wine. In the Australian wine industry it is
used for fortified sweet wines of the type
known as cream sherry, and for white
table wines, often in conjunction with a
more neutral variety such as Sultana.

Muscat Ottonel
Muscat Ottonel (mus-kat oht-ohn-el) is an
early ripening white grape variety grown
in Austria, Germany and in Alsace in
France.There is very little grown in
Australia. Muscat Ottonel was propagated
from a seedling by Robert Moreau and its
parents are uncertain although probably
Chasselas × Muscat de Saumur.
In Australia both yields and sugar
levels have been low. It is not as highly
flavoured or fragrant as Muscat à petits
grains, giving the wine an attractive,
delicate muscat flavour that has been
rated highly by taste panels.

Nebbiolo
Nebbiolo (neb-ee-ol-oh) is a red wine
grape variety from the Piedmont region of
northern Italy around Turin.Two famous
wines made from the variety are Barolo
and Barbaresco, named after villages in
the Monferrato hills near Alba. Further
north in the Novaro region the variety is
known as Spanna. There are only about
5000 ha of Nebbiolo in Italy, but its
reputation far exceeds its volume.There
are small plantings of the variety in
Switzerland, Uruguay, Argentina and
California, the latter reporting 80 ha in
1997. In Australia, around 17 vineyards list
plantings but the total planted area is very
small.
Wines made from Nebbiolo in the
most favourable situations in Piedmont
are high in alcohol, acid and tannin, and
are traditionally aged for several years in
large oak casks.This is followed by further
years of bottle-ageing to develop intense
flavours of roses, raspberries and violets.
Less-favourable sites can produce softer
wines with lower tannin levels. It is
remarkable that a variety which produces
some the best red wines in the world has
not found a major place in other growing
regions. Finding a suitable microclimate
for Nebbiolo in Australia could make an
interesting challenge for an aspiring
young winemaker.

Ondenc
Ondenc (on-denk or on-dohnc) is a rather
obscure French variety, which has been
defined relatively recently (late 1980s). It
was grown in different areas of southwestern
France under different names
without being recognised as the one
variety.The name Ondenc comes from an
area near Toulouse.
In Australia it has been known as
Sercial in South Australia and as Irvine’s
White in Victoria. There were 23 ha of
Ondenc in Australia in 1990. It was
probably among the many varieties called
Piquepoule collected by James Busby in
1832 and the Victorian plantings may
come from that source.The identity was
lost and the name Irvine’s White
commemorates the vigneron at Great
Western who made the first substantial
plantings. It appears in the Rutherglen
collection as Blanc Select, so was
presumably imported at some time as
Blanc Selection Carrière.
In Armagnac Ondenc is used for
brandy; elsewhere in France it is used for
white table wines. It is regarded as too
neutral to be used on its own and is
generally combined with varieties of more
character such as Sauvignon Blanc. Its use
in sparkling wine seems to be a very
successful Australian innovation.

Orange Muscat
Orange Muscat (orong muskat or or-ongh
mus-kat) is an old variety which has been
used as a table grape in Europe. Its French
synonym, Muscat Fleur d’Oranger,
translates as Orange Blossom Muscat,
doubtless derived from the subtle aroma
of its juice.Other synonyms are Muscat
Primavis and Muscat de Jesus. It has not
been widely planted worldwide. There
were 66 ha in California in 2002 and
probably about the same in Australia. One
source suggests that its origin is Syrian.
The variety is sensitive to oidium (a
type of vine mildew) and the berries split
easily. It has been used commercially in
Australia to produce high-quality white
wines with a distinctive orange blossom
bouquet.

Palomino
Palomino (pal-oh-mee-noh) is an
important Spanish white grape variety,
providing about 90% of the grapes used
for sherry. In South Africa it was formerly
known as White French and is an
important and widely grown variety.The
areas elsewhere are rather small. In
California, where about 300 ha are
planted, it has sometimes been
erroneously called Golden Chasselas; in
France it is known as Listan; in Australia it
has sometimes been known as Paulo. It
should not be confused with the so-called
Common Palomino in Australia, which is
in fact Cañocazo. 92 ha of Palomino were
harvested in Australia in 2003.
Palomino is better suited to the
production of fortified wines than table
wines, and is a preferred variety for
premium dry sherries in Australia. In Spain
it produces fino sherries that have a pale
straw colour, a delicate bouquet and are
of very high quality.

Pedro Ximenez
Pedro Ximenez (ped-roh zim-e-nes or pedroh
him-ay-nes) comes from Spain, where
there are substantial plantings of this
white grape variety, mostly in the
Estremadura, Andalusia and Levant
regions. Although it is a permitted variety
for sherry, only a small proportion of the
plantings are in the sherry area. It is the
most important recognised white wine
variety in Argentina. In California there
were less than 100 ha by 1976 and no
new plantings had been made for many
years. Around 68 ha of Pedro Ximenez are
planted in Australia. For best results it
needs a reliably dry period for ripening
and harvest, which Australian viticultural
areas cannot provide.
In Spain the variety is used for both
dry and sweet fortified wines such as
Montilla-Moriles,Malaga and Jumila.
Sweet wines can be produced by adding
alcohol before fermentation is finished or
by adding mistelle (fortified grape juice)
or grape juice itself to fully fermented
wines.Wines are also made from grapes
partially sun-dried after harvesting. In
Australia it provides excellent sherry
material; in cooler areas it can also give
good, fresh, neutral table wines suitable
for blending with more highly flavoured
varieties.

Petit Verdot
Petit Verdot (pe-ti vehr-doh) is a minor red
grape variety from the Bordeaux region of
France. It has long been part of the
varietal mix in Bordeaux but has probably
never exceeded 5% of the total planting.
The area planted in France decreased
from 685 ha in 1958 to 338 ha by 1988,
then underwent a minor revival to reach
380 ha by 1994. It is grown mainly on the
left bank of the Gironde from Margaux to
Saint-Estephe, and produces a highquality
wine.
In Argentina two varieties are grown
under the name Verdot: one is a clone of
Malbec, the other is the true Petit Verdot. It
is also planted in Chile, and there were
359 ha of Petit Verdot in California in 2002.
In 2003 the total area harvested in
Australia was 1337 ha, a rapid increase
from less than 100 ha in 1998. There has
been increasing interest in the variety,
with some excellent wines produced.
It is the last variety to be harvested in
the Medoc region and the red wines
produced from it are deep-coloured and
spicy. Because of their high acid, tannin
and alcohol levels these are full-bodied
wines and age well.

Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris, (pee-noh grih) like Pinot Noir, is
grown in many countries including
France, mostly in Alsace, in Germany
where it is known as Rulander, and in
northern Italy. It is also grown throughout
central and south-eastern Europe, one of
its more interesting names being
Szurkebarat (Grey Friar) in Hungary. In
2002, 1637 ha of Pinot Gris were harvested
in California. Pinot Blanc is probably the
least-grown of any of the Pinot family.The
situation has been confused because
Chardonnay has often been called Pinot
Chardonnay or even Pinot Blanc
Chardonnay and so has come to be called
Pinot Blanc in some areas. In South
America Chenin Blanc has been wrongly
identified as Pinot Blanc, while in California
the variety Melon has been wrongly called
Pinot Blanc. The true Pinot Blanc has only
recently been imported into Australia and
earlier plantings by that name would be
either Chardonnay or derived from the
Californian Melon. There is some true
Pinot Blanc in France, mainly in Alsace, in
northern Italy and a little in Germany and
central Europe.
Pinot Gris differs from Pinot Noir only
in having much less pigment in the skin
of the berries, which can vary from
greyish-blue to pink to white.Depending
on the skin colour, it can be used to make
a deep golden wine that at first sight may
suggest an oxidized white wine. As with
colour, the style can vary from dry crisp
whites to rich sweet wines such as the
Tokay of Alsace, which is highly regarded
in Europe. Pinot Blanc differs from Pinot
Noir and Pinot Gris only in having no
pigment in the berry skin. It makes a
distinctive, fairly full-bodied dry white
wine with less varietal character than
Riesling or Chardonnay.

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir (pee-noh nwah) is the variety
used in the superior red wines of
Burgundy and one of the principal
Champagne varieties. Plantings in France
increased from 8500 ha to 17 300 ha
between 1958 and 1979 and reached
22 000 ha by 1988. It is one of the few
black varieties that ripens early enough to
succeed in the coolest viticultural areas,
such as those of Germany and
Switzerland. It is grown in practically every
wine-producing country, usually not
extensively and only in the cooler areas
such as northern Italy or the coastal
valleys of California. There were nearly
10 000 ha in California in 2002, and in
2003 Australia had 4270 ha.
Pinot Noir is a very old and variable
variety and we can see its progression
from vines similar to the wild grapes that
grew in Europe before cultivation, to highyielding
selections sometimes thought to
show less varietal character in the wine.
There are about 30 different recognised
clones in Australia with observable
differences in growth habit, bunch shape
and so on. It is quite possible that some
clones are better adapted to particular
areas and this needs to be taken into
account when evaluating the variety.
The colour of red wines from Pinot
Noir is never intense and fruit from hot
areas may make uninteresting wines
lacking in colour and flavour.The quality
and flavour of these wines can also vary
considerably with age. In cool areas the
wines have a distinctive varietal bouquet
with tones of mulberry and rose petals.
The best French Burgundies can attain
their peak after as much as ten years.

Riesling
Riesling (rees-ling) is the noble white wine
grape variety of Germany, second only to
Müller-Thurgau. Although often regarded
as the standard by which white wine
varieties are judged it is not planted to the
same extent in any other country.There are
modest areas in France, northern Italy and
the eastern European countries. There is a
little in Argentina and very little in Chile
and South Africa.Most of the so-called
Riesling in South Africa appears to be
Crouchen. California (747 ha) and Australia
(nearly 4000 ha) may well have the largest
areas outside Germany and France.
In Australia it is often called Rhine
Riesling to avoid possible confusion with
Hunter River Riesling (Semillon) and Clare
Riesling (Crouchen).The tendency to use
the name Riesling for other varieties is not
confined to Australia and similar
distinctions are needed in other countries.
Thus it is called Riesling Renano in Italy,
Rheinriesling in Austria, Rajnai Rizling in
Hungary and Rajnski Rizling in Yugoslavia,
mainly to distinguish it from the variety
known as Riesling Italico,Welschriesling,
Olaszrizling or Rizling Vlassky respectively,
which provides much of the Riesling wine
from these countries. In California it is
called White Riesling, to separate it from
Grey Riesling, a grey-fruited form of
Bastardo, and there are also such names
as Frankenriesling (Sylvaner), Breisgauer
Riesling (Ortlieber), Budai Rizling
(Kleinweiss) and Banati Riesling (Creaca).
Riesling has a definite but not
overpowering elegant floral varietal
character, which is at its best in cool
climates. It can show up well in dry or
slightly sweet white wines made from
sound grapes, in luscious sweet wines
made from grapes affected by noble rot
or from the concentrated juice separated
from the ice of grapes partially frozen by
severe frost. The best of these cool climate
white wines can improve with age over
several years.

Rkaziteli
Rkaziteli (ruh-kat-sit-elli or ruh-kat-set-elli)
is a local white grape variety from the
Tbilisi region of Georgia. It is also grown in
Moldavia on the Black Sea coast, where it
is known as Gratiesti, and in Bulgaria
where the wine is exported to Germany
under the name of Sonnenküste. It was
imported into Australia in 1971 and a
small amount has been planted in the
warm irrigated region of the Murray River
Valley.
In Australia the yields are medium to
low. The white wines are well-balanced
but generally lack character.

Roussane
Roussanne (ruh-sahn) is a minor white
wine grape variety from the Rhone Valley
of southern France, where it is often
overshadowed by its more widely planted
counterpart Marsanne, with which it is
often blended.There were 120 ha planted
in France in 1990, mainly in the
departement of Herault and Vaucluse. It is
a permitted addition in several regional
appellations in the south of France,
including Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It is also
grown in the province of Lucca in Italy.
Five vineyards in Australia listed
Roussanne among their plantings in the
1998 Australian and New Zealand Wine
Industry Directory, but the overall area is
quite small.
Wine produced from Roussanne has
been described as fine and complex, with
honey and apricot flavours. These white
wines age well and develop in the bottle.
It is said to add elegance and aroma to
the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Rubired
Rubired (ruh-bi-red) is a relatively new
variety from H.P. Olmo, released in 1958. It
is a cross of Tinta Cao, a port variety, and
Alicante Ganzin, which has an Aramon ×
Rupestris rootstock as one parent. This
means Rubired has one-eighth of the wild
American species Vitis rupestris in its
make-up. This has some advantages, such
as a degree of resistance to fungus
diseases, but also leads to some problems,
such as dense foliage and numerous light
bunches. Plantings in California reached
5300 ha by 1974, declined to 2773 ha by
1992 then increased to 5345 ha. A few
fairly substantial plantings were made in
Australia around 1970 but they have been
largely grafted over or removed. A related
variety, Royalty, a cross of Bastardo and
Alicante Ganzin, was released by Dr Olmo
at the same time as Rubired. It is reported
to be more demanding as to soil type, less
vigorous and lower-yielding. Originally
planted in California to about the same
extent as Rubired, Royalty did not expand
to the same degree, reaching only
1200 ha by 1974 then declining to its
current level of 222 ha.
Wines from Rubired are opaque with a
very intense deep-red colour.They have
an unusual aroma, which is often found in
wines made from varieties with red juice,
but are neutral enough to be blended in
small quantities to improve the colour of
wines deficient in this respect. Both
varieties were originally released for
making fortified wines of the port type
and Royalty appears preferable for this
purpose.

Ruby Cabernet
Ruby Cabernet, (ruh-bi kab-er-nay) a
cross between Carignan and Cabernet
Sauvignon, is a variety bred by H.P.Olmo
at the University of California, Davis, and
released in 1948. Its major commercial
exploitation has been in California, where
approximately 3300 ha are planted.The
area currently planted in Australia is
2530 ha.
The variety was designed for
producing high-quality red wines in the
hot dry areas of California where Cabernet
Sauvignon is not recommended.
Unfortunately, very few wines made in
these areas have achieved the
characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon,
while in the cool areas where it has
succeeded its yields are reduced. It has,
however, produced some excellent wines
at Merbein although the wines may
mature more quickly than those of
Cabernet Sauvignon. At Merbein, Ruby
Cabernet ripens at the same time as
Cabernet Sauvignon and has shown
no difference in sugar or sugar:acid ratio,
suggesting that it should be preferred
for that reason.

Sangiovese
Sangiovese (san-gi-o-ve-see) is the
leading red wine grape of Italy, in terms
of area planted and grapes produced.
Because of mixed plantings (trees and
vines) the area is not well-defined, but
approximately 500 000 tonnes of grapes
are produced each year.The variety is
thought to originate from Tuscany but it is
also recommended for many other parts
of Italy. Apart from Argentina, Sangiovese
does not appear to have been planted
much in other countries. In Australia it was
found only as odd vines at Mudgee under
the name of Canaiolo, another Tuscan
variety. The planted area in Australia is
currently 657 ha.
Sangiovese is used in many wines of
controlled appellation in Italy, sometimes
alone, but quite often mixed with three
or four other varieties. Perhaps the bestknown
of these wines would be Chianti,
in which 50–80% of the grapes used are
Sangiovese, along with Canaiolo,
Trebbiano,Malvasia del Chianti and a little
Colorino.The best of the Italian wines
have an intense ruby colour, medium
tannin and a bouquet reminiscent of
violets. The wines can sometimes have
a slightly bitter finish.

Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc (so-vin-yohn blohnc)
ranks high among the white wine grape
varieties of France.The main plantings are
near Bordeaux, where it is used as a minor
but important partner of Semillon. There
are smaller plantings in the Loire Valley,
where it is used on its own. There would
be a few thousand hectares of Sauvignon
Blanc in northern Italy and it has also
spread to eastern European countries.
California has 5884 ha, but most of the socalled
Sauvignon in Chile is a closely
related variety known as Sauvignonasse in
France and as Tocai Friulano in Italy. In
Australia most of the 2953 ha of Sauvignon
Blanc is grown in South Australia with the
rest divided between Victoria, New South
Wales and Western Australia.
In the coolest Australian areas,
Sauvignon Blanc produces white wines
that are crisp and herbaceous.Varietal
character is less strongly developed in
warmer areas, where Sauvignon Blanc
makes pleasant, fresh, acid wines. It is
considered a very desirable component in
the white wines of Bordeaux, and similar
mixtures of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc
are encountered frequently in Australia. In
New Zealand the wines from the
Marlborough region have become
famous for their distinctive herbaceous
flavours.

Semillon
Semillon (sem-il-on or se-mih-yohn) is the
major white wine grape variety of the
Bordeaux area of France. A little is planted
in Italy and Yugoslavia and perhaps more
in the former Soviet Union. California
currently has around 500 ha, but the main
plantings outside France are in the
southern hemisphere. Semillon is the
leading white variety in Chile, and there is
somewhat less grown in Argentina and
South Africa, where it is known as
Greengrape. In Australia, of the total
6283 ha about three-quarters is growing
in New South Wales and most of the rest
in South Australia. It proved to be wellsuited
to the Hunter Valley and became
known as Hunter River Riesling. There has
been much confusion between Semillon
and several other varieties in Australia.
In France, Semillon is often affected by
noble rot, which concentrates the berry
constituents and modifies the flavour.
Such grapes are used in the luscious
sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac,
while unaffected grapes are used for dry
wines. In both cases the Semillon is
fermented together with a smaller
quantity of Sauvignon Blanc and often a
little Muscadelle to add further desirable
flavour components. In Australia, Semillon
is used for dry white wines which,
particularly when yields are not too great,
have a distinctive varietal character which
lends itself to ageing.

Shiraz

Shiraz (shi-rahz) comes from the
Hermitage area of the Rhone Valley in
France, where it is known as Syrah. One
tradition suggests that it was brought to
Hermitage from Shiraz in Iran by the
hermits, another that it was brought from
Syracuse by the Roman legions, but it
seems quite likely that it originated in the
Rhone Valley. It is sometimes called
Hermitage in Australia, but should not be
confused with the Hermitage of South
Africa which is really Cinsaut. The Petite
Sirah of California is a different variety,
Durif, which comes from the same part of
France where it has occasionally been
incorrectly called Petite Syrah. There was a
dramatic increase in the area planted to
Syrah in France between 1968 and 1988,
mainly to add character to wines based
on Grenache or Carignan. Australia
currently has more than 37 000 ha of this
variety in production. A little is grown in
Tuscany in Italy and some in Argentina
and South Africa.
Australia has a particularly good
reputation for its Shiraz wines, where it is
grown in all viticultural areas and used for
all types of red wines. It has proved to be
a very versatile variety, producing wines
that can be spicy and peppery with good
tannin and that develop flavours of
blackberry and blackcurrants with age.
It is sometimes used alone but is often
blended with other red varieties such as
Cabernet Sauvingnon.

Solvorino
Solvorino (sol-vor-ee-noh) is another
white grape variety which is known only
from Australia at this stage. It has clearly
been in Australia for well over 100 years
and may have been one of the varieties
introduced by Busby in 1832.Two varieties
bred as table grapes have been named
Solferino, a white in France from about
1850 and a red in Italy from about 1920.
Both are thus too late to be connected
with the Australian variety. Solvorino is
grown commercially at Roma in
Queensland and also occurs as previously
unidentified vines in mixed plantings on
two vineyards at Great Western in Victoria.
One of these was planted in 1868 and can
be traced to earlier plantings in Australia.
Although Solvorino has little
pronounced varietal character, it appears
to be suitable for good standard white
wines such as those produced from
Chenin Blanc and Colombard.

Souzao
Souzao (suh-zay-oh) is a Portuguese
variety, this name being used for it in the
Douro Valley where it is ranked in the
second highest-quality group for
producing port. It is also grown in the
Minho region where it is known as Vinhao,
and to a slight extent in the neighbouring
areas of Spain under the name of Souson.
It has also become very successful in
California and South Africa.
The main contribution of Souzao to
the wines in which it is used is its
excellent deep purple colour. It is equal or
superior to some varieties with coloured
juice such as Alicante Bouschet or Grand
Noir de la Calmette in this respect. It also
retains a good acidity and has a strong
raisin flavour. For both ports and dry red
wines (vinhos verdes) in Portugal it is used
in conjunction with different varieties
which provide the other desired
characters in the wine.

Sultana
Sultana (sul-tah-nah) is primarily a drying
grape but in some seasons, in Australia,
more sultanas are crushed for white wine
than grapes of any other single variety. In
2003 about 9685 ha of Sultana was used
for wine-making in Australia. In California it
is called Thompson Seedless to
distinguish it from another variety
introduced earlier, erroneously, as Sultana.
An even larger proportion of the crop is
used for wine in California and there are
also districts which specialise in the
production of table grapes. In western
Europe the variety is known as Sultanine
or Sultanina. It seems to have originated in
Asia Minor or the Middle East and is
grown for dried fruit throughout the area
from Greece to Afghanistan and north
into the neighbouring republics. There are
also small plantings in South Africa and
South America.
Sultana is more difficult to process
for wine than specialised wine grapes
because of its firm flesh and lack of seeds.
However, it has a good acidity and
produces fresh, rather neutral white wines,
which are quite attractive on their own
and form an excellent base for sparkling
wines or for blending with highly
flavoured varieties. Lack of seeds and the
firm flesh make Sultana attractive as a
table grape even at its natural berry size.
Berry size can be increased by various
cultural treatments but this results in loss
of flavour.

Sylvaner
Sylvaner, (sihl-vah-nah) spelt Silvaner in
Germany, was formerly the leading white
wine grape of that country, but in recent
years has declined considerably with the
rise of newly bred varieties such as Kerner,
Scheurebe and Bacchus.The variety may
have originated in Austria (although only
a small area is planted there) and it can be
found under various names through
central and south-eastern Europe.There
are small plantings in France, California
and Australia.
Under some circumstances Sylvaner
can give a distinctive fruity wine with high
acidity, but usually it gives a neutral white
wine which is well-suited to blending. One
of the recent German varieties,Morio
Muskat, which is considered rather highly
flavoured for sole use, has found a place as
a blending partner for Sylvaner.

Taminga
Taminga (tam-ihn-gah) is a white grape
variety bred by CSIRO Plant Industry at its
Merbein laboratory in Victoria. It is a cross
of the Merbein selection MH 29-56 (Planta
Pedralba × Sultana) and Traminer.The
cross was made in 1970 and the variety
released in 1982. Approximately 200 ha
have been planted in Australia, mainly in
the Murray River Valley.Taminga is a highyielding,
late-ripening variety, which
produces high-quality wines with a
distinctive spicy bouquet. The juice
composition has been good with low pH
and high titratable acidity.
Taminga has been used commercially
in Australia to produce a high-quality
botrytised sweet wine, and for blending
with more neutral-flavoured varieties to
improve their flavour.

Tarrango
Tarrango (ta-rang-goh) was also bred by
CSIRO Plant Industry Division of
Horticulture at Merbein. This red grape
variety is a cross of the Portuguese port
variety Touriga and the ubiquitous
multipurpose variety Sultana.
Approximately 170 ha of Tarrango have
been planted in Australia, mainly in the
warmer regions along the Murray River.
The wines have a distinctive highly
fruity flavour, bright colour and very low
tannin. They have a high tartaric acid:malic
acid ratio which, combined with low pH,
gives excellent colour stability and hue.
The wine has also been used successfully
as a base for sparkling wine.The raspberry
bouquet from Tarrango wines is
reminiscent of the Californian Zinfandel
and could fill a similar niche in Australia. It
has proved quite successful on the United
Kingdom market.

Tempranillo
Tempranillo (tem-prah-nil-oh) is one of
the most highly regarded varieties in
Spain for making red wine. Blended with
Carignan, it makes the best wines of the
Rioja. In La Mancha it is known as Tinta
Fino or Cencibel and is used in the
claretes of Valdepenas and Manzanares. In
Portugal it is known as Tinta Roriz, and
Negretto in Italy may be the same variety.
Tempranillo was authorised in 1976 for
planting in the Mediterranean region of
France. It is an important variety in
Argentina, and less in California (308 ha),
where it is called Valdepenas. Current
plantings in Australia are small, at 216 ha.
Tempranillo gives red table wines with
good colour intensity and a slightly blue
hue, but because of its low acid and
alcohol levels it is often blended with
other wines such as Grenache.Wines
made solely from Tempranillo mature
quickly and are ready for bottling and
drinking in the year of vintage. In Portugal,
as Tinta Roriz, the variety is ranked in the
highest-quality group for producing port.
The young wines can show light berry
fruit characters.

Terret
Terrets (te-ret) are old recommended
varieties from the Languedoc area in the
south of France.Three colour variants are
known – Terret Blanc (white), Terret Gris
(grey) and Terret Noir (black) – and
chimeras are sometimes seen in all
combinations. In Australia there is a small
area of Terret Noir in the Barossa Valley.
Terret Noir is listed among the
varieties used for a number of French
appellation wines, including Chateauneufdu-
Pape and Cotes du Rhone, but it is
unlikely that it would ever be more than a
minor component of the wine.Terret Noir
alone makes wines that do not have
much colour but that are light, fresh and
distinctive, capable of combining well
with those from more full-bodied varieties
such as Mataro.

Tinta Amarella
Tinta Amarella (teen-tah am-ah-rel-ah) is
best known as a port variety. It is widely
grown in the Douro Valley, where it is
regarded as a good – rather than very
good – variety. It seems to be little grown
outside Portugal, but is distinctly different
from the other common port varieties
and it is thought that it may have come
from France. It could perhaps have been
the Amarot of Landes, listed among
Busby’s imports into Australia. The small
plantings in Australia are all in South
Australia, where this red grape variety is
known as Portugal. It is not uncommon as
odd vines in plantings of other varieties
and this seems to have led to confusion
with Malbec: some intended plantings of
Malbec have actually been planted with
Tinta Amarella.
Wines from Tinta Amarella have a
good colour and body but no particular
varietal or other special character.They
could perhaps be used in blending to
soften harsh or astringent wines.

Tocai Friulano
Tocai Friulano (toh-kay frih-uh-lah-noh)
probably originated in France, where it is
known as Sauvignonasse, and appears to
be related to Sauvignon Blanc. However, it
would seem more appropriate to use the
Italian name of Tocai Friulano, because the
variety has almost disappeared from
France yet has become very popular in
the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy,
where several thousand hectares are
planted.Tocai Friulano is also the preferred
name in Argentina. In Chile it has been
erroneously called Sauvignon. It is
widespread in Australia, but only in
plantings of other varieties in Mudgee, the
Goulburn Valley and Great Western.
The white wines of Tocai Friulano
have a delicate but definite floral
bouquet and a slight bitterness on
the palate, which is appreciated in Italy.
The proportion of Tocai Friulano in some
Australian plantings may be high enough
to influence the character of the wine
produced.


Touriga Nacional
Touriga Nacional (too-ree-gah nah-syunahl)
is the most widely planted of the
top-quality group of port varieties in the
Douro Valley in Portugal. This red grape
variety is also grown in other parts of
Portugal for other types of wine, but there
seems to be very little outside Portugal.
There are a few hectares in California and
it is probably one of the ‘port sorts’ in
South Africa. There is a small amount of
Touriga in Australia (82 ha), mostly in
South Australia.
The pre-eminence of Touriga as a port
variety is justified. In Australia it also
produces fortified wines with excellent
colour, tannin and flavour.The wines can
have a light mulberry or black currant
bouquet.

Traminer

Traminer (tram-ih-nher or trah-mee-nher)
is another old white grape variety
showing primitive characters. It is valued
mainly for its strong aromatic character in
making white wine and, as there are large
clonal differences in this respect, the more
aromatic clones are sometimes
distinguished as Gewürztraminer. Being a
specialised variety, it is not required in
large quantities and thus there are
modest plantings in Germany, Austria,
France and California. The variety has been
in Australia for a long time but only in
relatively small quantities (673 ha in 2003).
Wines from Traminer grown in hot
climates are likely to be undistinguished,
although this is not always the case.
Under cooler conditions, and particularly
when the berries are infected with noble
rot, it can give luscious wines with an
intense, spicy varietal character.The
Gewürztraminer wines from Alsace in
France are perfumed, golden, full-bodied
wines that can improve greatly with age.

Trebbiano
Trebbiano (treb-ih-yahn-oh) is the Italian
name of this white grape variety; it is
more specifically known as Trebbiano
Toscano to distinguish it from several
similar varieties also known as Trebbiano.
It is by far the leading grape for producing
white wine in Italy, probably because it
ripens reliably in most areas of the
country – it has no other distinguishing
characteristics. It spread into the south of
France and from there into the Cognac
area when a new variety was needed to
take the place of Folle Blanche, which
suffers from bunch rot when grafted.The
official French name is Ugni Blanc but in
the Cognac area it is known as Saint
Emilion. In South Africa, California and
Argentina it is a minor variety. In Australia
there are about 490 ha. It has sometimes
been known as White Shiraz or White
Hermitage, but it does not appear to be in
any way related to Shiraz and is not grown
in the Hermitage vineyards in France.
In a cool climate Trebbiano gives acid
wines, excellent for distillation for brandy.
In warmer areas it gives fresh neutral
wines that blend well with more fruity
types. It is an important component of a
number of named wines in both France
and Italy, including the red wines of
Chianti and Cotes du Rhone.

Tyrian
Tyrian (tih-rih-an) is the product of a cross
between the Spanish wine variety Sumoll
and Cabernet Sauvignon. The original
pollination was made in 1972 by the late
Allan Antcliff at the CSIRO Merbein
laboratory. The aim of the program was to
produce high-quality red wine grapes
suited to Australian conditions. Extensive
evaluations were made of Tyrian, Ciena
and Rubienne in three wine-growing
regions; Coonawarra (South Australia),
Avoca (central Victoria) and Sunraysia
(northern Victoria).
Tyrian wine made from grapes grown
in the three regions had a titratable
acidity similar to or higher than Cabernet
Sauvignon, a lower wine pH and a higher
colour density. Sensory evaluation of the
wine from each region was carried out by
experienced industry tasting panels over
several seasons.Tyrian wine from each
region scored equal to or slightly better
than Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a very
deep colour, with high total and ionised
anthocyanins, with rich redcurrant and
fragrant berry fruit aromas and spicy
flavours. It is full-bodied with a rich palate,
high tannins and excellent ageing
potential.

Valdiguie
Valdiguie (val-dig-u-ay) was introduced
into Australia from California as Napa
Gamay. It is a variety which is authorised,
but not recommended, for the south of
France and is grown mainly in Languedoc
and Provence.There are some plantings
(258 ha) in California.
In France, Valdiguie gives red wines
which are regarded as common and
uninteresting. They have good colour
but are lacking in alcohol and flavour.
However, in California it is esteemed
for the production of both red and rosé
wines.Wines made at Merbein have
scored well in blind tastings.

Verdelho
Verdelho (vehr-del-oh) is a Portuguese
variety grown on the island of Madeira
and in the Douro Valley, where it is known
as Gouveio. There are also some small
plantings in the Loire Valley in France. In
Australia there are small plantings in
Western Australia, South Australia and
New South Wales, with a total planted
area of around1600 ha.The name Madeira
has sometimes been used for the variety
in New South Wales, a possible source of
confusion because the same name was
erroneously used for some of the Semillon
in South Australia.
In Portugal Verdelho is used for
fortified wines, in white port and as the
predominant variety in one of the four
types of Madeira. In France it is used for
dry white table wine. In Australia it is
generally used for white table wines and
shows a strong and attractive varietal
character with a delicate nutty bouquet.
The wines can be golden coloured and
have distinctive tannin on the palate.

Viognier
Viognier (vih-onyay) is an old variety
restricted to the right bank of the Rhone
River south of Vienne in France. In the
appellation Cote-Rotie it is blended with
Shiraz to add perfume to the red wine,
but in Condrieu it is vintaged alone to
make a dry white wine with a floral scent
and a long spicy aftertaste. Chateau Grillet,
at the centre of Condrieu, with its 1.6 ha of
Viognier, is the smallest vineyard with its
own appellation in France – and one of
the most famous.
Viognier has not been grown
extensively in Australia but there has been
an increase in interest in this white grape
variety and there are currently 541 ha.
With its distinctive aroma of dried apricots
the wine could be useful as a specialty
line in some of the cooler regions of
Australia. It has been used to produce a
full-bodied sweet white wine in some of
the warmer regions of the country with
some success.

Zinfandel
Zinfandel (zihn-fahn-del) is the Californian
name for this variety, where in 2003 it was
the third most widely planted red wine
grape after Cabernet Sauvignon and
Merlot. It does far better in warmer
regions where it ripens well, and is also
becoming established in Australia, South
Africa and South America. It has now been
confirmed that it is the Italian variety
Primitivo, which is grown quite extensively
in the province of Taranto. It is also grown
in the Dalmatian region of Yugoslavia
under the name of Plavac Veliki.
Zinfandel should give spicy, fullbodied
red wines of a bright colour and
distinctive varietal character. In California
it is recommended that such wines not
be blended. Its strong raspberry flavour
can sometimes be overpowering to
people unaccustomed to the style.

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