Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Big 6 and Where They're Hiding

Remember how I said the #1 factor that makes wines taste different from each other is which grape was used to make them?  And remember how I said that the majority of wines in the world are made from only 6 grapes?  Well here they are again, along with some notes on how they’re likely to taste:

With only 6 grapes to think about (for now), it’s pretty easy to determine which ones you like and which you don’t.  You may have already tasted most of these at some time or another.  Whether you want to taste them all to see which you like, or whether you know what you like already, you have to know where to find your preferred grapes – that is, in which bottles!

In the US, South America, South Africa, and Australia (or what we call the New World of wine), wine bottles are usually labeled with what grape was used to make them.  Easy! 

In France and other European countries (or the Old World of wine), wine bottles are usually labeled with the region where the wine was made.  So some of these grapes are hiding in Europe, especially France, masquerading under different names!  France has over 300 place names by which its wine is known, but here are some basic ones to look for, once you know what kind of grape you want:

A few final notes:

Each region has its own style, so for instance you might like Pinot Noir from one place and not another.  (Remember the #2 factor?)  We’ll talk more about this in future.

If you’re interested in French wine, check out my book The Pocket Index of French Wine.  It provides a basic introduction to the winemaking regions of France, as well as an index of all those pesky place names, so you can quickly look up any French wine to see what grape you’re drinking!

Copyright © 2012 by Joanna Opaskar
All rights reserved.

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