Wine Grapes: 16 Most Common Varieties

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Wines can be made from a lot of different fruits however, the word “WINE” has got its sole identity from the grapes. In today’s world, wine is implicitly understood as an alcoholic beverage made from grapes. Other wines are often called fruit wine or by any specific name given to that drink (for example – cider, which is made from apple). The world of wines has evolved to a great extent. Today, more than 10,000 types of wine grapes are grown to produce varieties of wines.

A wine could be made out of any particular variety of wine grapes or by blending two types of grapes/wines. Now, you can imagine how many varieties and types of wines could be there if the varieties of wine grapes are more than 10,000. Woah!

Well, we are not going to overburden you on your wine journey with that much information. As we always try to keep it short, understandable, and crisp, we are going to introduce you to the topmost kinds of wine grapes that are majorly used to produce more than 70% of the wine worldwide.

Most Common Types of Red Wine Grapes

Cabernet Sauvignon

The most common variety of red wine grapes is Cabernet Sauvignon. This variety is now grown in almost all the major wine-producing regions however, originally, it came from the Bordeaux wine region of France. With deep purple color and a rich & pulpy structure, this variety of grapes has become the first choice of all the winemakers for making full-bodied red wine. Wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon generally have flavors of overripe plum, deep dark cherries, blackberries.

Pinot Noir 

This variety of grapes comes from the great Pinot family. Other famous members of this family are Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. This family of grapes is originally from the Burgundy region of France. If you are reading about this region for the first time, you’ll be surprised to know that the hair color shade name “Burgundy” is actually named after this region because of the color of the wines made in this region. With a medium-bodied mouthfeel, Pinot Noir wine has red berries and earthy flavors.

Carménère

Originally from the Bordeaux region of France, and later grown heavily in Chile, Carménère is the most famous partner of Cabernet Sauvignon when it comes to a blended wine. This variety is now rarely grown in the french region. The dominant flavors of Carménère wines are raspberries and pomegranate. A 100% Carménère wine will have grippy tannins, full-bodied structure with boosted dryness and alcohol.

Merlot

Another original variety from the Bordeaux, Merlot is probably the 3rd most famous grapes variety after Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Merlot wines are silky and the dominant flavors are raspberry, red plum, and tea leaves.

Syrah/Shiraz

Syrah, or the new world winemakers call it Shiraz, is originally from southeastern France. This variety has now become global and all the major wine-producing regions like Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and California are producing this deep purple color wine. The mouthfeel of this wine is a little velvet with the signature flavors of berries and pepper.

Tempranillo

A very famous, Non-French grape variety. Tempranillo is generally called a new world wine and is originated from Spain. Primarily grown in the Rioja wine region, Tempranillo is used to produce medium to full-bodied wines. The dominant flavors are plum, dark berries, vanilla, and tobacco.

Malbec

Malbec is one of the six original grapes varieties from France. Malbec used to be a favorite choice for a blending grape in France but not in the other nations. Argentina identified the real potential of this variety and made it so famous that winemakers from Chile and the USA are producing great Malbec wines. Medium to full-bodied Malbec tastes like rich berries and sweet tobacco.

Also, don’t miss to read about wine and food pairing fundamentals

Most Common Types of White Wine Grapes

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the most famous white wine grapes variety around the world. This variety of grapes originally came from the great wine region, Burgundy, France. One of the most famous wines made with Chardonnay is Champagne. This green-skinned wine grape has a great dominance in white wines and it produces vanilla and butter aromas when the wine is oaked.

Sauvignon Blanc

The second most famous white wine grapes variety is Sauvignon Blanc. Wines produced with Sauvignon Blanc are very crisp and refreshing. Originally from the regions of Bordeaux, this white wine grape variety has a wide range of flavors and aromas based on the climate and terroir. The most loved version of the wines is tropical.

Riesling

Riesling originally comes from the Rhine region of Germany. A very famous non-french white wine grapes variety. Wines made from Riesling are famous for their aromas, tropical fruity profile and acidity. Most of the Riesling wines are 100% sole Riesling and never blended with other types of grapes. Riesling sweet wines are very famous.

Pinot Gris

From the famous Pinot family, Pinot Gris is a medium-dark purple color grape variety. Wines made with Pinot Gris are generally acidic and with a citrus aroma. Pinot Gris, also referred as Pinot Grigio is a refreshing white wine that is served cold and a good partner in summer.

Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc is not as famous as the other Pinot family, however it is a primary white wine grape variety. This variety is majorly used for making sparkling, sweet and dessert wines. Unlike Pinot Gris, this one has a green and light skin. Apart from France, Pinot Blanc has got some good followers in Italy, Austria and Germany.

Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer is a pink-skinned wine grape variety. Originally from Alsace, a historical wine region in northeastern France, this wine grape variety is named after the German-speaking province of Italy. People around the world are a fan of the distinguishable floral aroma of roses and passion fruits of this variety.

Muscat

Muscat family of wine grapes has more than 200 varieties. With color ranges from light-green, pink, and a few dark ones, the wines made from Muscat have the aroma of rose and peach. Originally came from the Middle East, today Muscat is used by winemakers across the globe. Today, Italy produces most of the Muscat in the world, and the Muscat sweet wines from Italy are really famous.

Semillon

Semillon is a beautiful golden-skin white wine grape variety. Originally from the Bordeaux wine region, today, Semillon is being produced in the new world wine regions of Australia, Chile, and Argentina. A wide range of dry and sweet wines are produced with Semillon wine grapes.

Airen

Airen is a famous white wine grape variety from Spain. A strong and hot resistant grape variety Airen is grown across central Spain where climatic conditions are tough for other varieties. Today, Airen is the most planted white wine grape variety after Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Wines made by Airen are less acidic, fruity, and easy to drink.


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