The most widespread wine grapes

mywonderwine blogpost grapes wine red rose white


In the second half of the last century, a revolutionary event took place.

Many wineries stopped labeling their wine with the name of the village or region where it was produced and resorted to "varietal" names specifying the main grape variety from which they were made.

In the idea that producers from outside the regions that had built a reputation over the centuries could suggest to the consumer the taste that they were going to encounter in their wines - which made life enormously easier for non-European producers, from the so-called New World (a phrase that always seemed to me to suggest an air of superiority).

But it also made life much easier for wine drinkers. Instead of having to memorize an entire wine atlas, consumers no longer need to know than the few grape names.



Mirachi Chardonnay Wine, Ammos White Wine



Chardonnay is the most intensively cultivated grape in the world for white wine and grows practically everywhere wine is produced, but it comes from Burgundy, where it is the basis of all white wines produced in the region.

It is extraordinarily easy to grow and transform into wine, being one of the most adaptable grapes in the world: it is the light-skinned grape from the Champagne region, from which the most expensive dry white wines are obtained, for example Le Montrachet white wines, but also a fairly wide spectrum, at equally different prices.

A few inexpensive Chardonnays can be accused of over-flavour, but they have a great affinity for oak, so some can be vaguely toasty or sweet, even if only slightly.



Mirachi Sauvignon Blanc Wine, Ammos White Wine, Nikolaos White Wine



This grape from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé and the southern part of the New Zealand wine industry has gained more and more popularity, threatening the dominance of Chardonnay.

If a Chardonnay presents itself somewhat comprehensive and confused, a Sauvignon Blanc is full-bodied, acidic and full of verve - hitting the senses directly, like a sword.

A typical example of Sauvignon Blanc wine has a sharp smell of greens - green leaves, nettles and grass and, as it matures, of preserved asparagus.

A more classic example from the upper lands of the Loire can evoke mineral rather than vegetal perfumes: rocks, wet chalk, extinguished matches, having pregnant tonalities.

In general terms, as in most cases, examples of French wines are usually much drier than those outside of France, those from New Zealand often being semi-dry.

The penetrating aroma of Sauvignon Blanc is its most pronounced feature, but if the grapes ripen too hard, they can lose their characteristic smell and therefore the best wines come from regions that are not very warm.



Histria White Wine, Ammos White Wine


Riesling is one of those special grapes, much loved by many professionals, but disliked by many consumers.

We admire Riesling because, much more than Sauvignon Blanc, the wines continue to develop and improve in the bottles for years, sometimes decades.

Longevity is a sign of wine quality. We like Riesling because it can have a rich aroma without a very high alcohol strength and, unlike Sauvignon Blanc and most Chardonnay wines, it can vary enormously depending on where it was planted.

Its smell develops, in most cases, floral notes, but when planted on the grey or blue schists of the Moselle valley, it simply bursts with energy, while the wines produced from grapes grown only a few kilometres further down the valley, on red shale, are richer and spicier, but always keeping the structure and backbone that characterize this noble variety.

The problem with Riesling is that, unlike Chardonnay or Pinot Gris/Grigio, it is highly aromatic - and therefore it should come as no surprise that some tasters find the aromas a bit exaggerated.

Another problem with Riesling's image is that a good part of these wines shows a degree of sweetness, which is not considered a virtue according to the present conception of wine.

Riesling is not cultivated as widely as Chardonnay and Sauvignon, but it is a specialty not only of Germany, but also of the three "A's": Alsace, Austria and Australia (especially in the Clare and Eden valleys).



Ammos Rose Wine, Nikolaos Rose Wine, Mirachi Red WineAmmos Red Wine, Nikolaos Red Wine


Cabernet Sauvignon is considered, by definition, the variety intended for red wines to be kept.

The most famous red Bordeaux wines, such as Châteaux Lafite and Latour from the Médoc, on the so-called left bank of the Gironde estuary, rely on it.

It has particularly small, bluish and thick-skinned grapes, which means that the young wines are generally intensely tannic and coloured.

This grape ripens slowly, so it does not make sense to be grown in cool areas.

Even though areas of Bordeaux may be better adapted to the culture of some partner varieties of blends and related, which ripen faster: Merlot and Cabernet Franc, they can be a little lighter and leafier than Cabernet Sauvignon.

In Bordeaux, the weather can sometimes be a bit harsher and safety measures are taken by growing Merlot, which ripens faster and is fleshier, for situations where the flowers do not appear in sufficient numbers or the Cabernet is late to ripen.

In contrast, in other large specific wine growing areas, for example in Napa Valley, the climate is generally sufficiently warm to produce an absolutely velvety Cabernet Sauvignon, so blending remains only an additional option.

As the basis of one of the world's most classic wine varieties, the Cabernet Sauvignon vine has been grown virtually anywhere there are conditions sufficient to ripen.

The distinctive blackcurrant and cedar footprint is easily recognizable all over the world, even in some Italian wines, where it is only a minor (and sometimes illegal) ingredient.



Ammos Red Wine



Merlot is part of the same large family of vines in southwestern France as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, but is distinguished from them by the much softer and fruitier wines it produces.

The vine ripens more quickly, so it can be planted in cooler areas, such as its birthplace in St-Émilion and Pomerol on the right bank of the Gironde estuary in Bordeaux.

Because it ripens much more easily than the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, it is cultivated on larger areas - especially in the vast Bordeaux region.

The wines are naturally sweet and plum-like, absolutely more delicate and earlier maturing than Cabernet-dominated wines.

One of Merlot's great contributions is to add substance to blends where Cabernet plays the leading role, but single-varietal Merlot wines are produced all over the world.



Rose de Histria Wine, Ammos Rose Wine



This red burgundy grape, is entitled to claim its position as the current favourite of the wine world.

While Cabernet Sauvignon can always be relied upon, Pinot Noir is terribly fickle.

The good one is downright delicious, but fragile and much lighter than Cabernet.

The skins of the berries are much thinner, so the grapes are more exposed to pests and diseases, and the wines that are obtained are lighter in colour and usually less tannic or consistent.

Pinot Noir is typically fruity, sometimes a bit sweeter, with a varied taste of raspberries, cherries, violets, mushrooms and autumn undergrowth.

Being relatively capricious, it enjoys the interest of producers and consumers all over the world, but as it ripens early, it needs a relatively cool climate, so that a long enough growing season allows it to develop well interesting aromas.

Burgundy is its birthplace, but Pinot Noir is the most important red wine grape in Champagne, Alsace, Germany, New Zealand and Oregon.

At the moment there are plantings of interest in the cooler areas of California, Chile and Australia, and Pinot lovers are gaining ground from Canada to South Africa.





Pinot Gris/Grigio (Grauburgunder in German) is usually white. The "grey" mutation (gris in French and grigio in Italian) of the Pinot Noir grape has pink skins insufficiently coloured to produce red wine, although if the producer leaves the must in contact with the skins for a while, a pale pink wine can result.

The best examples, from Alsace and Friuli, in north-east Italy, show an alluring impetuous perfume and fullness, reminiscent of the qualities of Pinot Noir wine, while the most banal examples of Pinot Grigio seem to have no aroma at all.

Probably because, hard to explain how, the wine is so popular that production has swelled and is perhaps mixed (otherwise as legally possible) by adding up to 15% of a cheap, neutral grape such as Trebbiano.

The mutation with pale green skin is white rather than grey, being called Pinot Blanc/Bianco (in German Weissburgunder).

The wines produced are like somewhat fuller, slightly simpler versions of Chardonnay, or Pinot Gris without fragrance.

Some of the best examples come from German-speaking countries.





Shiraz is the Australian name for the grape known as Syrah in its homeland north of the Rhône France, the region's most famous wines being Hermitage and Côte Rôtie.

At the moment, this variety is much more present in Australia than the north of the Rhône, and in the hot regions of the continent, such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, we can find rich, dense and intensely coloured essences with sweet undertones of chocolate, often a little medicinal.

The style of the wines north of the Rhône is radically different, although Hermitage, is also dense, completely dry, unforgettable, with notes of black pepper and leather, but initially quite reserved.

Nowadays, many New World producers, even Australian ones, strive to imitate the transparency of a Côte Rôtie and signal this intention by calling the wine Syrah, rather than Shiraz (even though "Syrah" has always been preferred by American producers, whose wines tend to reach a compromise between the two styles.)

Since the 1990s, Syrah/Shiraz has enjoyed increasing popularity among winegrowers around the world, especially those in South Africa and the Languedoc.

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