VERY LIGHT FOODS —————————————————
Paired with White wines ( W ), and no red.
Sole: ( W ) Pinot Blanc, Alsace Riesling, Chablis
Founder: ( W ) Muscadet
Clams: ( W ) German Whites
Oysters: ( W ) Orvieto, Soave, Champagne
LIGHT FOODS ————————————————————
Paired with White ( W ) or red wines (R)
Snapper: ( W ) Pinot Grigio, Bardolino
Bass: ( W ) Bardolino, (R) Valpolicella
Shrimp: ( W ) Sancerre, Gewürztraminer (R) Chianti, Rioja
Scallops: ( W ) Chablis Premier Cru, (R) Beaujolais Villages
Pasta marinara: ( W ) Champagne
MEDIUM FOODS ———————————————————–
Paired with ( W ) or (R)
Veal Paillard: ( W ) White Graves, (R) Bardolino
Salmon: ( W ) Sauvignon Blanc, (R) Burgundy (Pinot Noir)
Tuna: ( W ) White Burgundy, (R) Dolcetto, Chianti Classico
Swordfish: ( W ) Chardonnay, (R) Chianti Classico Riserva
Duck: ( W ) Chassange Montrachet, (R) Rioja Gran Reserva
Roasted Chicken: ( W ) Puligny Montrachet, (R) Syrah/Shiraz
Game Birds: ( W ) Full bodied Champagne, (R) Côtes du Rhône
MEDIUM TO HEAVY FOODS ———————————————–
Paired with ( W ) or (R)
Lobster: No white, (R) Barbaresco, Barolo
Poultry: No white, (R) Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Most Cheeses: ( W ) Full bodied Chardonnay, (R) Merlot
Veal Chops: No white, (R) Zinfandel
Pork Chops: No white, (R) Medium Bodied Bordeaux
Ravioli, Stews: No white, (R) Cabernet Sauvignon
HEAVY FOODS –———————————————————————-
Paired with red wines
Lamb Chops: (R) Hermitage
Leg of Lamb: (R) Full bodied Bordeaux
Beefsteak sirloin: (R) Cabernet Sauvignon
Game meats, Steaks: (R) Amarone
Garnacha: See Grenache. One of the world most widely cultivated red grapes. Does well in hot, dry regions, and its strong stalk makes it well suited for windy conditions. 15-16% alcohol and sweet, fruity, very low in tannin. Originated in Spain and was call “Garnacha Tinta/Garnacha Tinto” and is the most widely cultivated red-wine grape in Spain.
Graciano: High quality red wine grape grown in the Rioja and Navarra regions of Spain. Rich color, lovely fragrant aroma, a hint of spice. Good for blending with low acid varieties like Tempranillo.
Mazuelo: See Carignan.
Monastrell: After Garnacha Tinta (Grenache), this grape is Spain second most widely planted red variety. Moderate color, high alcohol, and low in acidity.
Tempranillo: Important Spanish wine. Versatile grape capable of yielding big, full bodied reds with firm tannins and loads of complexity to very light and easy drinking wine with light tannins. Red fruit flavors, cherry, ripe strawberry with rustic nuances of leather and earth. Elegant, complex wine. Also known as Tinto de Toro, Tinto Fino, and TInto del Pais.
Gamay: Easy-drinking reds with fresh and explosive fruit. Little or no tannin and a purple color, it is the grape used in making the adored Beaujolais wines of the Burgundy region. Aromas and flavors are amazing grape with lovely notes of cherry and plum. Ideal for first timer.
Carignan: From Cariñena of Spain. A widely grown red grape in France, especially throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon region. In California : carignane. Deep purple color, high tannin, high alcohol, often blend with wines from softer grapes primarily Grenache and Cinsault.
Cinsault: Adaptable, grown in southern Rhône for blending. Full bodied, almost port like red but famous for the delicate, dry and fruity rosé wines it yields in Tavel, Costières de Nîmes, and Provence. These rosé are renowened as the perfect summer wine with zesty fruit flavors and refreshing acidity.
Grenache: Alluring red-grape variety is known for its abundance of red fruit flavors and aromas which include currant, cherry, and raspberry. Produces light to medium bodied reds with intense fruit and soft tannins but is primarily used in blends throughout southern Rhône. Principle grape use in the making of the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and the amazing rosés of the South of France.
Mourvèdre: Produces deep colored, firmly structured red wines that are usually medium bodied with red fruit components. Principle grape of Bandol and key component in most Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Primarily use as blending grape, Mourvèdre add complexity, color, and fragrance to the final blending. One of the most underrated red grapes and because of its low yields and uneven ripening, it is rarely seen as a varietal wine.
Aglianico: Known as the “Nebbiolo of the South”, the centuries old Anglianico grape derives its name from Ellenico, a clue that the Greeks brought the grape into Italy in 700 B.C. Depth of flavor, longevity, and cheap.
Barbera: Versatile Italian red grape produces lighter style wines with cherry and raspberry fruit flavors and aromas, intermingled with rustic spice. Producing medium to full bodied wines when aged in oak barrels, but the majority are made in the fresh and fruity, easy drinking wstyle with soft tannins. Thrives on rolling hillsides surrounding the villages of Asti and Alba within the Piedmont.
Brachetto: Distinctive aromatic light red grape variety found in Piedmont region. Produces lightly fizzy wines with rich red color and aromas of raspberry, strawberry, and chocolate.
Canaiolo: A red wine grape grown in Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, Marche, and Emilia-Romagna regions. Slightly bitter.
Cannonau: From Sardinia and Spain. Produces wines high in alcohol and extract, similar to rich Grenache or Zinfandel.
Corvina: Full bodied reds of Amarone as well as light easy drinking and fruity reds of Valpolicella. Flavors and aromas very but are primarily cherry and raspberry for the lighter-style reds to dark raisin fruit with hints of almond and earth in the fuller bodied Amarone.
Dolcetto: Light, easy drinking reds which are filled with sweet red fruit flavors and aromas, including ripe cherry and currants. Native to Piedmont.
Lagrein: Red wine grape grown in Trentino Alto Adige region. Deep, dark reds, and have wonderful chocolate nuances and rich fruit flavors.
Nebbiolo: Big, full bodied wines with intense concentration and firm tannins. Flavor include dark fruit, blackberry, smoke tar, licorice, rustic notes . Wine of northern Italy, Barolo and Barbaresco.
Negro Amaro: From Puglia region. “Black bitter” refers to the dark skins and bitter taste of the grape. Intense aroma with flavors of red fruit, wines, acidic and full in the mouth.
Malvasia Nera: See Malvasia.
Monica: Sardinian grape from Spain. Rich, alcoholic wines reminiscent of California’s Zinfandel.
Primitivo: Had a relationship with Zinfandel in late 1960s when Austin Goheen noticed a strong resemblance between two vines while traveling in Apulia. Two are genetic the same according to Carole Meredith.
Sagrantino: Lively, tannin red grape grown in Umbria particularly in the Montelfalco area.
Sangiovese: From Tuscany. Crisp, lively, savory, cherry fruit flavors and soft to ripe tannin. A principle grape variety of Chianti. Great with pasta.
Cabernet Franc: Light in tannin and has a distinct violet and raspberry bouquet. At its best, it is filled with red-fruit flavors with nuances of herbs and is relatively approachable at a young age.
Petit Verdot: Capable of producing red wines with intense color, fragrance and spice; however, it is primarily grown for blending purposes.
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Cabernet Sauvignon : King of red wine. Oak aging. Wonderful flavors: blackcurrants, blackberry, chocolate, tar, leather. Fresh, easy-drinking fruit forward styles to intensely big, dense and complex wines with firm tannins. Being challenged by Merlot. Look for the ones from Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Australia, Chile, Washington State, and Argentina.
Merlot: Everyday red wine. Cherry, plum, currants with hints of cedar prominent with oak aging. Look for the ones from Bordeaux, Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. Full bodied, tannic, friendly, soft, fruit forward.
Petite Sirah: Cousin to Syrah, produces a deep-colored, robust, peppery wine that packs plenty of tannins and has good aging ability. Not as popular as Cabernet Sauvignon, but has big followers who like big, full-bodied wines. In vogue during the 1970s.
Pinot Noir: Elegant, refine, exotic, velvety, sensual, perfumed, spicy, earthly vidily fruity, mouth-filling texture. Flavors of ripe red fruit, cherry, chocolate, toast, and spices. Look for the ones in Burgundy.
Syrah: (Shiraz in Australia) Easy to grow and produces wines for easy drinking, fresh stye to intesnse, full-bodied, highly concentrated style. Dense red, dark berry, violet, tar, pepper, and spice. Check out the ones from Rhône.
Zinfandel: American wine that can rival Cabernet Sauvignon. Flavors include black and red fruit, spice, pepper, tar, licorice, and wood. Zinfandel is produced in three distinct styles. The first is fresh and fruity, easy drinking style that offers charm and balance with light tannin, followed by medium-bodied, fuller flavored Zinfandel with noticeable spiciness and ripe tannin. This is followed by the big, concentrated and powerful style with intense fruit and unbelievable richness. Find the ones from California.
Malbec: Argentina red grape once use as a blending grape in Bordeaux. Fruity flavors of blackberry, blueberry, and black raspberry and supple tannin, with nuances of violets and toasty oak in the more expensive offerings. Pairs perfectly with grilled meats, game and robust, spicy dishes.
Chardonnay: Look for a Chardonnay bottle from Burgundy. If you want a fresh, light, easy drink, get the cheap bottle. All chardonnay are fruity in aromas (apple, pear, peach, banana, lemon, orange, vanilla, spice, smoke). If you want one with rich aromas, look for an old bottle that was aged in oak.
Sauvignon Blanc: Light, script, full of fruit, very citrus, melon, fig, herb. No oak influence. Check out those from Bordeaux, Sancerre, or Pouilly-Fume’.
Pinot Grigio: Dry, fruity, mineral, fresh, refreshing, crisp. Look for the ones from Veneto or Valdadige. Pinot Gris: Check out the ones from Oregon or Alsace.
Gewürztraminer: Spicy, aromatic, exotic flowers, fruity (lychee, citrus, peach), lavish, dry, honey sweet. Check out the ones from California or Washington State.
Riesling: Noble German wine that is floral, peach, honey, or apricot flavors. Great alternative to White Zinfandel.
White Zinfandel: Fresh, aromatic, flowery, fruity, strawberries – a popular wine. Serve chill.
Viognier: Look for the ones from northern Rhône. Peachy, dry, luscious of tree fruit, nuttiness, spice. At best: a rich, complexity alternative to Chardonnay.
Muscat: Old grapes. Grown all over the world and has hundreds of varieties. Musky, aromatic, fresh-grape flavors, sweet and dark, to fine, whites sparkling.
Alvarinho (Albariño): Low yielding, high quality white wine in Portugal. Thick skin, and have small amount of juice. Creamy, rich, apricots, peaches, citrus, very expensive and highly prized.
Arneis: From Roeho hills of Italy’s sourthern Piedmont. Once almost extinct. Perfumy, apples, pears, licorice.
Assyrtiko: Greece finest indigeous white wine. Acidic, bone-dry, citrus aromas, earthly, mineral flavors.
Chasselas: Middle East ancient wine can be found in Germany, Italy, France, New Zealand, or Switzerland. Switzerland leading varieties, ..sales aren’t that great on this wine back in 2011 but the outlook is better now…
Cortese: Look for the ones in Piedmont and parts of Lombardy. Highly acidic.
Falanghina: Found in Campania region of Italy. The Romans was the ancient maker of this wine. Popular, fruity, use as blending wine.
Feteasca Alba: Floral, peachy, aromatic , Muscat-like wines with low acidity.
Fiano: Aromas of honey, almonds, dried fruits, fine structure, and ability to age. Look for the ones from Avellino. This wine traced back from Greek occupation.
Furmint: Delicious, sweet wines of Hungary’s Tokay region. Thick skin, sugary, flavory, strong, high alcohol, high acidity, dry wine. Pinot Gris and Italian Tocai are not related to Furmint.
Garganega: Prolific Italian Suave wines. Grow in Lombardy and south of Umbria. Elegant, almond character.
Grechetto: Grow in Umbria region, along with Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia. Make an excellent Vin Santo.
Greco: Grow in Southwestern Italian Campania and Calabria regions. If cultivate correctly, this variety produce high quality wines to rich fruity flavors, a hint of smoke and toasted nuts.
Grüner Veltliner: Austrian variety found in Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovenia. Pale, light to medium bodied, spicy, good quality.
Moschofilero: Aromatic, cool-climate, pink skinned from Peloponnese region. 11% alcohol. Peachy, apricots, similar to Viognier but less viscous, make a delicious, dry rose’. A good introduction to Greek wines.
Müller-Thurgau: A Riesling-Sylvaner hybrid. Invented in the 1800s by Dr. Hermann Müller-Thurgau. A German variety. Concentrated flavor and depth, while inexpensive.
Muscadet: As known as Melon de Bourgogne. Check out Loire Valley. Dry, citrus, hint of mineral. When sun lie aging is involved, additional flavors and aromas of toast and yeast added to the complexity of the wine. Drink with shellfish.
Pinot Blanc: A descendant from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Live in cool climat of Alsace, producing dry white wines with apple, pear, and tropical fruit flavors. Low in acidity, rarely influenced by oak.
Prosecco: From eastern Italy Veneto region. Made into frizzante or supmante (fully sparkling). Crisp, apple, sweet, dry.
Ribolla: Full name: Ribolla Gialla. Grown in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Slovenia aka Rebula (and in Greece: Robola). Native of Friuli since the 12th century. Dry, script, citrus-flavored wine that is medium bodied to deep colors.
Roussanne: From southern Rhône. Zesty, elegant, but does not have full flavored fruit components. Try with pork, chicken, water fish.
Scheurebe: Germany’s Rheinessen and Rheinpfalz grown. A cross of Riesling and Sylvaner in 1916 by George Scheu. High quality, but must be fully ripe to achieve its potential.
Sémillon: Combine with Sauvignon Blanc, the wine is extraordinary. Marries well with oak and tends to produce wines that have good extract and texture but lack aromas. Grown in Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, South Africa, and USA. Grassy, sweet, rich, honeyed, concentrated, expensive.
Tocai Friulano: Grown in Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Elegant, lively, full bodied wines. Tocai is unrelated to Tokay d’Alsace (Pinot Gris) or to Hungary’s famous Tokay wines (which are made primarily from the Furmint grape).
Xarel-ro: Grown in Catalonia region of Spain. One of the three main varieties use to make most Spanish sparkling wines. Medium to low quality grape, use mainly to add body and customarily blended with Macabeo and Parellada grapes.
Vermentino: Found under fairly intensive cultivation in nearly all the Mediterranean coastal districts from Spain to Liguria and on Corsica and Sardina. In France, it is call: Rolle.
Verdicchio: Grow in Italy’s Marches region and has been cultivated since 14th century. Green, yellow-green skin grape, crisp, dry, elegant aroma.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano: From Tuscany, southwest of Florence and San Gimgnano. Thought to be Greek. Traditionally made, they are golden in color, rich, full bodied, oxidized, bitter. Modern winemaking produce paler-colored wines with crisper, lighter characteristics.
Verdejo: Grown in indigeous of Spain’s Rueda region. Full bodied, crisp, rich, nutty flavor.
Trebbiano: Extensively planted in France, Italy and is blended with other varieties.
Torrontés: A signature and favorite in Uruguay and Argentina. Crisp, aromatic, grape fruit flavor, good balance of acidity and a hint of flowers and spices. Good with spicy Asian food.