Sangiovese is a red Italian wine grape variety, known as the main component of the Tuscany’s Chianti and Chianti Classico wines, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Noble di Montepulciano and Morellino di Scansano. Sangiovese originated in Tuscany around the 16th century. The ancestors of the Sangiovese are believed to be Ciliegiolo and Calabrese Montenuovo grape varieties.
Syrah is the red grape used to make the famous Rhône wines and most Rhône blends. It is widely planted in France, traditionally grown in the Rhône Valley, and has also spread to many other countries around the world, being very successful in Australia, South Africa, Argentina and California. In California this grape variety is most rapidly increasing.
Basically, Syrah and Shiraz is the same grape, only from different locations. In Australia, the grape is called Shiraz, or Hermitage. This name is also commonly used in Canada and South Africa. The Californians also use the Shiraz name for marketing purposes. Other synonyms Syrah is known by in various parts of the world include Schiras, Sirac, Syra, Syrac, Serine, Sereine, Antourenein Noir, Balsamina, Candive, Entournerein, and Marsanne Noir.
Though the names can seem confusing, Petite Sirah is not the same grape type as the Sirah or Shiraz grape. It was developed from the Duriff Rhône grape of France in 1870s. Petite Sirah is considered to be the result of a cross between Syrah and Peloursin, a minor Rhône variety. You may also come across a number of synonyms Petite Sirah is also known by: Dure, Duret, Plant Durif, Pinot de Romans, Bas Plant, Plant Fourchu, Nerin, Gros Noir etc.
Born in France, Petite Sirah does exceptionally well in California, where the climate is warmer, drier and more suitable for this grape. It also succeeded in northeastern Victoria, Australia. In the humid Rhône region of France, the grape had a tendency to mildew and was susceptible to gray rot.
Tempranillo is the grape varietal, also known under a variety of other names. In Spain, where it is most widespread, the names include Tinto Fino, Ojo de Liebre, Tinto de Toro, Tinto Madrid, and Cencibel. In Portugal, Tempranillo is often called Tinta Roriz and Aragonez. The origin of this grape is unclear, though many wine experts believe it originated in southern France, as a hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.
Tempranillo grape is the dominant grape varietal in some of the finest wines of Spain, for example, Rioja, or Ribera del Duero wines. Consequently, these wines are grown primarily in the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions of Spain. Substantial quantities of Tempranillo grape are also grown in the Penedès, Navarra and Valdepeñas regions of Spain. The grape varietal is extensively grown in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, and in the last 100 years it has been planted in USA, South America, South Africa, Canada and Australia.
Malbec is one more variety of grape used for making red wine. The Malbec grape has a very interesting and complicated history of being not very successful in France and becoming the premier grape in Argentina.
Malbec was once widely planted in southwest France. It is still grown in some areas of France, where it is known as Cot. In France this grape variety is often used for blending. Since Malbec creates an inky red intense wine, it is commonly used in blends, such as with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, to create French Bordeaux-style blends.
Barbaresco is a red Italian wine produced from Nebbiolo grape, often called “the younger brother” of Barolo. These wines have certain similarities, but if you compare them, you will see their differences in ripening, aging, and taste. Simply put, Barbaresco tends to be lighter than Barolo, and is considered more aromatic, refined and elegant than rich and powerful Barolo.
Both Barolo and Barbaresco red wines are made in the Piedmont area of Italy, to the east of Alba. The Barbaresco is planted on a much smaller area than that used for Barolo, only around 1,200 acres. Basically, these two varieties are produced in neighboring areas less than 10 miles from each other. However, the Barbaresco zone tends to receive some maritime influence, and Nebbiolo ripens in this zone a little earlier than in the Barolo area. It means that the grape gets to fermentation earlier, which makes young Barbaresco not as harsh as Barolo. In other words, the tannins of Barbaresco soften quicker, making the wines more pleasant to drink at an earlier age. At the same time, this fact doesn’t allow Barbaresco wine to age for as long as traditional Barolo wine.
The king of the red wines, Barolo is known as a noble Italian wine. This special red wine is produced from Nebbiolo grapes, with Michet variety, Lampia, and Rosé allowed. Nebbiolo is considered a difficult grape to grow in the northwest Italy’s clay and sandy soil. It prefers sunny, south-facing hillsides.
Barolo is situated near the town of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont in the foothills of the Alps. This location determines the specific climate conditions and the terroir. Calcareous soil in the west of this wine region tends to produce softer, fruitier wines which typically age faster and have stronger aroma. Sandstone in the east is less fertile and usually results in more intense structured wines which mature more slowly.
Chianti is a famous dry red Italian wine produced in Tuscany, and it is one of the most credited wines in the world. It is named after the Chianti wine-growing region in Tuscany. The wine-area called Chianti has been known since 1716. Warm climate, dry soil full of nutrients and minerals necessary for the grapes, and skilled vintners, - all these factors add to the wonderful taste of Chianti wine and gained this wine a great world reputation.
Zinfandel is a grape variety famous not only for its taste but also for its confusing history and origin. It may have originated in southern Italy’s Apulia region, or in the Dalmatian province of Croatia. Research has shown that Zinfandel is a clone of the Croatian variety Crljenak. Though other researches claim that the Italian Primitivo is considered Zingandel’s genetic close relative.
This red grape is grown in California, and planted in over 10 percent of its vineyards. Besides California, there are Zinfandel plantings in southern Oregon, Mexico, and South America, as well as in some Australian and South African vineyards. Zinfandel is adaptable to a wide range of climates and soils.
Often associated with the Burgundy region of France and the great wine of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, Pinot Noir grapes are grown in many countries around the world: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Brazil, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, the United States etc.
Pinot Noir is one of the oldest grape varieties which tend to produce the finest wines. At the same time, Pinot Noir is considered the toughest grape, which is quite difficult to cultivate and transform into wine. Pinot Noir grape requires special growing conditions, including warm days and cool evenings, and planting in cool and fog-prone regions.