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Red Wine Grape Varieties and Wines




Cabernet Sauvignon
This grape is found all aver the world. It is the grape responsible for the great Bordeaux wines of France where it is blended with other grapes to make some truly great wines.  But it is just as likely to be bottled on its own as in a blend.  In Italy it is often blended with Sangiovese, in Australia with Syrah.  In the US the best Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Napa Valley and is usually bottled as a single varietal although more producers are now using it with other grapes to produce a softer, smoother character. Cabernet Sauvignon produces wines of great intensity and depth of flavor.  Its classic flavors are black currant, plum, black cherry and spice.  It can also have notes of cedar, thyme, anise, olive, mint, and tobacco.  It has big tannins and can age for decades.

Cabernet Franc
Often used as a blending grape, with the exception of the Loire Valley where it is made as a single varietal wine called Chinon and Bourgueil..  A light to medium bodied wine, it is prized for its acidity, distinctive aromas of minerals and ashes, spiciness and strawberry-like fruit qualities.  It has medium intensity of flavor with moderate tannins and a minerally, gravelly streak. Chateau Cheval Blanc from St. Emilion, is one of the world’s greatest wines and is made from mostly cabernet franc (70%)

  • Chinon, Bourgueil
  • Ironstone Cabernet Franc

This grape produces light and fruity, lively wines on its own, but is better known as the secondary grape in Chianti.


This grape yields wines of deep color and full body. Its new power base may be Chile where it was discovered in 1991 having been brought from Bordeaux in the late 19th century.  It ripens between Merlot and Cabernet and has some of the smoothness of merlot with the full-bodied structure of Cabernet, a fair amount of oak and often has bacon notes along with plum and dark fruit aromas. 

  • Concha y Toro 2004 Casillero del Diablo Carmenère.


Castelao Frances
A Portugese grape also called Perquita.  It produces smooth, ripe, fruity wines that are well-structured.

One of the grapes used in the blend along with rondinella and molinara to make Valpolicella, Amarone, and Bardolino in Northern Italy.


Dolcetto d’Alba and Dolcetto d’Asti are made from these grapes and are light bodied with relatively little acid and not much tannin, making them easy to drink.  Berry flavored and slightly spicy fruit; lively but soft, easy drinking, aromatic fruity, light and fresh.  Great with Antipasto, soups, stews, and Chinese take-out.

A German variety of grape that makes ripe, smooth, fruity red wines with a medium texture.


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