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Red Wine Grape Varieties and Wines




Grenache/ Garnacha
The second most widely planted grape in the world, it is important in the Rhone where it is blended to make Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  It is also one of the major grapes of Spain, called Garncha here.  It thrives in warmer climates and produces soft, smooth, round wines with mouthfuls of ripe, sweet, red plum and spicy cherry flavors.  The grape has high sugar levels and can produce wines with alcohol levels ranging from 13-15%. In the Languedoc-Roussillon it is used to make the sweet fortified wine Banyuls.  Its major disadvantage is that it is prone to oxidation as a grape and as wine.  The advantage of this is that these wines are usually softer at a young age and can be drunk when young.

Gamay thrives in the Beaujolais region of France.  The wines made from Gamay vary in intensity, but most of them are low in tannin, light, fresh, and fruity with a sort of fruit punch flavor.  Beaujolais Nouveau comes out the third week in November just in time for the holidays.  These wines are great for informal settings such as outdoor Barbeques, picnics, or summertime drinking.

  • Fleurie from Georges Duboeuf
  • Beaujoulais Villages form Lois Jadot

This is the grape used to make the grapey red Italian wine Cirò in the province of Calabria.


Wines from this Italian grape should be drunk when young.  They are simple but lively, low in alcohol and full of fruit with touches of red berry and spice.  Very appealing if you like a slightly sweet and fizzy wine.


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