Red Wine Varieties
Red Wine Varieties
Matt Harris (Wine Expert) gives expert video advice on: What is a Merlot?; What is a Cabernet Sauvignon?; What is a Pinot Noir? and more...
What is a Merlot?
Merlot is a classic grape variety whose home is probably the Right Bank of Bordeaux, areas such as Pomerol and St. Emilion. But Merlot is also widely grown throughout the world, places such as Australia, New Zealand and the Napa Valley in California all grow Merlot. A Merlot tends to be quite fleshy and round, not as heavy as Cabernet Sauvignon.
What is a Cabernet Sauvignon?
Cabernet Sauvignon is seen as being the king of the red grapes. It can be very austere in its youth. The home of Cabernet Sauvignon is in Bordeaux, on the left bank, in places such as Saint-Julian, Margaux and Pauillac. It is also widely grown throughout the world in places such as California, Australia, Italy and New Zealand. Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be quite big, heavy and cassis flavoured wine. Blackcurrant is the classic fruit characteristic.
What is a Pinot Noir?
Pinot Noir is a thin-skinned, red grape quiet delicate and difficult to grow, whose ancestral home is Burgundy in northern France. Pinot Noir is also a grape that's used in the making of champagne, a red-skinned grape making a white wine, and Pinot Noir tends to make wines that have a cherry flavor to them. Pinot Noirs are not overly heavy, but quiet aromatic and perfumed.
What is a Pinotage?
A Pinotage is the main grape of South Africa. There are various arguments as to the actual origins of the grape. Some people think that a Pinotage is a blend of Pinot and Hermitage, as in Syrah, but it seems to have found its home in the Cape.
What is a Shiraz?
A Shiraz is an ancient grape. Arguments abound as to its origins, but some people think its from the town of Shiraz in Persia. Shiraz seems to have found its home in Australia, but originated in the northern Rhone in France. Shiraz is known as Syrah in France, as well as Shiraz in the New World.
What is the difference between a Shiraz and a Syrah?
Shiraz and Syrah are actually the same grape. The difference is that Shiraz tends to be the New World name for the grape. However, some New World producers will name their wine Syrah, because they make a slightly more savoury, meaty style of wine, which tends to be the French version of the grape.