ka-behr-NAY soh-vihn-YOHN; soh-vee-NYAWN] The most successful and popular of the top-quality red-wine grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon is the basis for most of California's superb red wines and the primary grape of most of the top vineyards in bordeaux's Médoc and Graves districts. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is most often blended with one or more of the following grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot or Malbec. In California, wines are more often made with 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, although some blending is now taking place. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce full-bodied, fruity wines that are rich, complex and intensely flavorful.
[mer-LOH] A red-wine grape widely grown in France's Pomerol and Saint-Émilion districts of bordeaux and, to a lesser extent, in California and the Pacific Northwest. The wine it produces is similar in flavor to Cabernet Sauvignon, but tends to be softer and more mellow. It also matures sooner than Cabernet. Though the Merlot grape has been principally used for blending in the United States, it's now beginning to be appreciated on its own.
[mahl-BEHK] A French red-wine grape grown in Bordeaux, in parts of the Loire valley and in Cahors. In Bordeaux, where Malbec is called Cot or Pressac, it plays a subordinate role to and is usually blended with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In the Loire Valley, Malbec again plays a lesser role because it's blended with gamay and Cabernet Franc. However, in Cahors, where dark-colored, full-flavored, tannic wines are produced, Malbec is the prominent variety, usually blended with small amounts of Merlot and Tannat. In Cahors, Malbec is called Auxerrois, which causes some confusion because it's unrelated to an entirely different variety-auxerrois blanc. Malbec is widely planted in Argentina, where it is sometimes called fer, and Chile but has only modest acreage in Australia and the United States
Old Vine Zinfandel
The Zinfandel grape has been a cornerstone of the California viticulture scene since the mid-1800s. Originally thought to be a native grape from Italy, research carried out in the last 10 to 12 years has revealed that Zinfandel's original roots were firmly planted in Croatia. Regardless of its Old World beginnings, it is a dynamic red grape that has made itself quite at home in the New World. Old vine Zins, made from vines that are typically 50+ years, are coveted for their intensity - in flavor, color and balanced overall style. meaning the red wine, is known for its rich, dark color scheme, medium to high tannin levels and a higher alcohol content. The Zinfandel feature flavors include: raspberry, blackberry, cherry, plums, raisins, spice and black pepper all wrapped around various intensities of oak.
[san-joh-VAY-zeh; san-jaw-VAY-zeh] One of the top two red grapes (the other being Nebbiolo) in Italy, believed to have originated in Tuscany, where it dominates today. Sangiovese wines are typically high in acid, have moderate to high tannins and a flavor that's lightly fruity with a hint of earthiness. Most are not long-lived and will last for less than 10 years. One strain of Sangiovese is Brunello ("little dark one"), the grape responsible for the potent and long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese is the dominant grape in Italy's Chianti wines.
Term that came into vogue in the late 1980s when several red wines from Tuscany began attracting international attention. These superlative wines had to be labeled vino da tavola (table wines), though in some cases they were superior to docg and doc wines and able to command higher prices. But such wines were ineligible for Italy's top classifications because they were produced using either unauthorized varieties (like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), an unapproved composition (such as 100 percent Sangiovese in areas where it wasn't approved), or unsanctioned methods (like using small, nontraditional oak barrels for aging).