Know your Grapes
characteristics & flavours
There are simply thousands of grape varieties growing all over the world; each with their own set of unique characteristics. This is not an attempt to cover each and every one but more a guide of what to expect from the main varietals and some of the more unusual ones thrown in for good measure!
The grape variety will obviously be the main contributing factor in how a wine will taste but it is important to remember that it's not just the grape alone that determines the flavour of wine. You see, grapes (like people!) are not always consistent and their characteristics can be affected enormously by the environment they're grown in. The climate, soil and geographical location of a vineyard (known collectively as the ‘terroir’) are hugely influential in determining how grapes grow and develop and ultimately what flavours end up in your glass. Not forgetting, of course, each winemaker's distinctive alchemy skills.
What is certainly true, though, is that without all the unique flavours and textures offered by each individual grape varietal, we would not have the exciting variation of wines that we all enjoy today!