Barolo – This is a red Italian wine from the norther region of Piedmont in the Denominazione. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy's greatest wines. Only vineyards planted in primarily calcareous-clay soils in the hills with suitable slopes and orientations are considered suitable for Barolo production. Barolo is often described as having the aromas of tar and roses, and the wines are noted for their ability to age and usually take on a rust red tinge as they mature. When subjected to aging of at least five years before release, the wine can be labeled a Riserva.
Cabernet Franc – Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine and contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, and cassis, sometimes even violets. It has slightly less tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon and tends to produce a wine with a smoother mouthfeel.
Cabernet Sauvignon – The style of Cabernet Sauvignon is strongly influenced by the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. When more on the unripe side, the grapes will exhibit pronounced green bell peppers and vegetal flavors. When harvested overripe the wines can taste jammy and may have aromas of black currants. Some winemakers choose to harvest their grapes at different ripeness levels in order to incorporate these different elements and potentially add some layer of complexity to the wine. When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, the wines typically exhibit strong fruit flavors of black cherries and plum. The aroma of black currants is one of the most distinctive and characteristic element of Cabernet Sauvignon that is present in virtually every style of the wine across the globe. Styles from various regions and producers may also have aromas of eucalyptus, mint and tobacco. As the wines age they can sometimes develop aromas associated with cedar, cigar boxes and pencil shavings. In general New World examples have more pronounced fruity notes while Old World wines can be more austere with heightened earthy notes.
Gamay Beaujolais – Gamay-based wines are typically light bodied and fruity. Wines meant to be drunk after some modest aging tend to have more body and are produced by whole-berry maceration. The latter are produced mostly in the designated 'Cru Beaujolais' areas where the wines typically have the flavor of sour cherries, black pepper, and dried berry, as well as fresh-cut stone and chalk.
Malbec – Commonly used in blends with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The French style of Malbec is a "rustic" version of Merlot, softer in tannins and lower in acidity with blackberry fruit in its youth. The Malbec of the Cahors region is much more tannic with more phenolic compounds that contribute to its dark color. The Cahors' Malbec as dark purple in color with aromas of damsons, tobacco, garlic, and raisin. In Argentina, Malbec becomes softer with a plusher texture and riper tannins. The wines tend to have juicy fruit notes with violet aromas. In very warm regions of Argentina, Chile & Australia, the acidity of the wine may be too low which can cause a wine to taste flabby and weak. Malbec grown in Washington state tends to be characterized by dark fruit notes and herbal aromas.
Merlot – In French, merlot means "young blackbird" alluding to the grapes dark-blue color. Merlot is often viewed as simply a blending grape for Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. As a blending grape, Merlot adds a soft, lucious texture. Merlots are generally rounder, more supple and have a slightly hgierh alcohol content than Cabernet Savignon wines. They can usually be enjoyed earlier and don't age as long as the Cabernet.
Petite Syrah/SirahThis grape produces tannic wines with a spicy, plummy flavour. The Petite Syrah, also known as Durif, is a variety of red wine grape primarily grown in California, Australia, France, and Israel. Petite Sirah produces dark, inky colored wines that are relatively acidic, with firm texture and mouth feel. The bouquet has herbal and black pepper overtones, and typically offers flavors of blue fruit, black fruit, plums, and especially blueberries. Compared to Syrah, the wine is noticeably more dark and purplish in color, and typically rounder and fuller in the mouth, and offers a brightness that Syrah lacks. The wines are very tannic, with aging ability that can exceed 20 years. Petite Sirah can sometimes be rather "short", that is, the flavor does not linger in the mouth, hence the benefit of blending with another grape which may lack mid-palate depth, but add length and elegance.
Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir's home is France's Burgundy region, particularly in Côte-d'Or but is grown around the world in cooler climates, especially with strong ocena influences. It’s flavors are reminiscent of sweet red berries, plums, tomatoes, cherries and at times a notable earthy or wood-like flavor, depending on specific growing conditions. The tremendously broad range of bouquets, flavors, textures and impressions that Pinot Noir can produce sometimes confuses tasters. The wine tends to be of light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black and / or red cherry, raspberry and to a lesser extent currant and many other fine small red and black berry fruits. Traditional red Burgundy is famous for its savoury fleshiness and 'farmyard' aromas, but changing fashions, modern winemaking techniques, and new easier-to-grow clones have favoured a lighter, more fruit-prominent, cleaner style. The wine's color when young is often compared to that of garnet, frequently being much lighter than that of other red wines. This is entirely natural and not a winemaking fault as Pinot noir has a lower skin anthocyanin (coloring matter) content than most other classical red / black varieties. However, an emerging, increasingly evident, style from California and New Zealand highlights a more powerful, fruit forward and darker wine that can tend toward Syrah (or even new world Malbec) in depth, extract, and alcoholic content.
Zinfandel – Zinfandel is a very deep red, mouth-filling wine whose taste is spicy and peppery as well as fruity with hints of berry. Though it is most commonly enjoyed young, within 1 to 2 years of its vintage, zinfandel has a pleasant, mellower taste when aged.