In Bordeaux, in particular the areas of the Médoc and Graves, Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with Merlot, Canernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec in varying proportions. Combined with new oak, for which it has a natural affinity, Cabernet Sauvignon provides the structure in a blend. In Australia, a Cabernet/Merlot/Shiraz blend has been very successful.
Cabernt Sauvignon's ablity to age allows the development of cedary flavours in bottle. In young wines and those from the warmer climates cassis, mint, eucapiyptus, green pepper and tarry characteristics are the norm. Of all wine grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon has one of the highest ratios between pip and pulp. As the pips are an important source of tannin, a wine based on this grape variety tends to be tough and unforgiving in youth. Blending with the softer Merlot brings accessiblility as tannins soften with age and can be absorbed by particular foods.
In just about every country where red wine is made.
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.
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
An extremely versatile variety of grapes, Chenin Blanc is capable of making dry and crisp white wines that are great as an aperitif, through to medium, unctuous and sweet styles. Due to the keeen and vibrant acidity often found in Chenin Blanc grape, they make brilliant food wines and can stay in good shape for many years after the vitange.