Gamay is the Beaujolais grape, know for its light, soft, and easy-drinking qualities, Light in tannin and full of cherry and strawberry flavour, it peaks in the Beaujolais Crus, such as Morgon and Fleurie. In the Loire, where it is used to make red and rose wines, Gamay accounts for about fifteen percent of all French plantings.
Gamay is usually fermented thrigh a process called maceration, where fermentation takes place below a protective layer of carbon dioxide. Gamay is grown almost wxcusively in France, principaly in Burgundy and the Loire Valley.
CABERNT FRANC GRAPES
Within the trio of Bordeaux varieties, alongside Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Cabernet Franc is often responsible for lending an aromatic quality and positive acidity to a blend. Known for its raspberry-like aroms, it is, after Pinot Noir, the best grape of the Loire, and is used to make wines such as Chinon. Back in Bordeaux, you will find Cabernet Franc's level of importance elevated in St Emilion, no more so than in the fabulous Château Cheval Blanc. As with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc grows best in warmer climates but hot climates will have a negative effect on the flavour. The grape is sufficiently robust for the fermentation temperature not to be critical.
Apart from Bordeaux and the Loire, Cabernet Franc is grown in Italy, the USAm Australia, and eastern Europe.
The strawberry-scented and peppery tones, which often dominate a Côtes du Rhône or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, are the well-known characteristics of Grenace. At best, Grenache can reval concentration and great power from old, low-yielding vines. The Grenache thirives in the exceptionally not climates of Spain and the south France. It blends well with Shiraz and is used with Tempranillo for Riojas. In Spain, where it is known as Garnacha, it is renowned for provideing the colour and flavour in the fruity Rosados.
As well as being plantes in Spain and France the Graneche is also found in Australia and USA.
The hallmark characteristics of Malbec wines are deep colour and flavours full of black fruit. The grape originates from southwest France, in the Appellation of Cahors, where the wines were once known as 'Black Wines'. Expect to find Malbec in blends too, such as in Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux, In recent years Malbec grapes hane thrived in irrigated, sandy soils in the warm climate of Argentina. Good crops combinated with advaces in winemaking techniques have produced some excellent, full-flavoured wines.
Malbec is grown in France, Italy, Spain, South America, and the USA.
The two greatest names and expressions of the magical Nebbiolo grape, Barolo and Barberesco, grow in the hills of Piedmont, Italy. Often requiring age, these are rich and savouy wines, with aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo is fernented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vessels. Generally, it reqyires a long ageing period in wood in order to soften but trends are towards shorter periodsm in maceration and more bottle ageing.
Apart from Piedmont, Nebbiolo is grown in California, South America, and the USA.
Pinotage, the earthy, spicy, deeply coloured grape of South Africa, has aromas of plum skin and a generous, well-structured palate. The grape is actually a hybrid of the Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes and was created by a professor at Stellenboch University in the 1920s.
Although most associated with South Africam attempts have been made to grow the grape in New Zealand, Chile, and Australia.
Sangiovese, the great Italian grape, makes the concentrated red wines of Tuscany. It is the main consitituent of Chiantis, the best of which are rich, plummy, cherry-scented wines, highish in acidity, and with tannins which soften towards cedary elegance with age. The lighter wines, such as the Sangiovese de Romagna, are ideal for everyday drinking, They are best drunk while young and fresh.
Apart from Italy, the Sangiovese has also impressed in California, Australia and Argentina.
Spain's best red grape, Tempranillo is the backborn of Rioja and the wines of Ribera del Duero. Wines range in flavour from strawberry and vanilla lightness to full-bodied cherry-dominated depth, Tempranillo is also used in the production of port.
The Tempranillo varietu is also grown in Portugal, where it is called Tinta Roriz, and Argentina.
Rarely senn outside of California, Zinfandel can vary enormously in style, from the bland, slightly pink 'White Zins'. to old vine, oak-aged, richy fruity, elegant wines, which finish with an note of tangy acidity.
Part of the explanation for the variety of Zinfandel wines lies in the fact that the very latest technology is used in production. This technology ensures that the grapes rises to the challenge of adaptability.
Grown in California, predominantly.
Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes
One of the word's most popular black grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon's deep colour, blackcurrant aroma and flavour is the backbone of many is the backbone of many full-bodid red wines.
A member of the Bordeaux family, Merlot, in constrast to Cabernet Sauvignon, is soft, fruity, fleshy, and less tannic. It's the principal grape variety in the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol, and is often blended with Cabernet Franc.
Pinot Noir Grapes
A difficult 'customer' described by one well-known winemaker as a 'moving target of a grape variety', on top form Pinot Noir can make the most complex and hedonistic of red wines. Pinot Noir has fewer colouring pigments than other dark-skinned varieties, so it can appear to be lighter or more aged, when compared to wines such and almost inky on occasions.
The Hill of Hermitage and vineyards steeply overlooking the Rhône provide the home of Syrah and one of the most famous place names associated with this great grape variety. Hermitage, Cornas and Côte Rôtie are full-bodied red wines, while Crozes Hermitage and St Jopeph are generally a touch lighter. Syrah is a hardy grape, growing well in poor soil, such as the...