A grape varietal is a strain of vine. There are nearly 10,000 varieties, belonging to the Vitis Vinifera species native to Asia Minor. A distinction is made between table grapes eaten fresh or dried and specific wine grapes intended for vinification. After domestication a few millennia ago, the species has mutated by crossbreeding between varieties to promote resistances, better yield or other desirable traits. Around a hundred varieties are grown, of which a dozen are dominant.
Learning about wine via a grape variety approach involves knowing how to detect their distinguishing characteristics in order to better understand the role of the terroir: A Chardonnay vinified in Burgundy will not have the same profile as an Australian Chardonnay. We also learn to identify them in the composition of blended wines. A real challenge in blind tastings!
Is its color pale yellow or golden?. Which aromas can be perceived: white fruits or exotic fruits? Does the nose pop more floral, or spicy? Which type of white wine does it produce given its terroir and whether it is blended or not?
Is its color bright red or more brick-like?. Which aromas will you smell, how tannic is it? Does the nose pop more fruity, or spicy? Which type of red wine does it produce given its terroir and whether it is blended or not?
Is its colour pale salmon or intense pink? Does the palate offer freshness, fruitness or floral notes? Is the nose tart? Which type of rosé wine does it produce given its terroir and whether it is blended or not?
Aperitif, tapas, seafood? Barbecue or aperitif? Or a fine cuvee to be relished with a gastronomic dish?
Red meats, dishes in sauce, or grills or exotic specialties, what will you match it with?
Cheese, desserts, fish, seafood, poultry - so many dishes to enhance these grape variety, which will you choose?