The Most Important Grape Varieties: The Next 10 To Explore On Your Wine Journey

After gaining a solid foundation in the world of wine by exploring the 8 essential grape varieties, you might be eager to delve deeper into the diverse range of flavors, aromas, and styles that the wine world has to offer. In this follow-up article, we will introduce you to 10 more grape varieties that are worth exploring, including reds: Malbec, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Grenache/Garnacha, and whites: Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, and Albariño.

Malbec (Red)

Malbec, originally from the Bordeaux region of France, has found its most significant success in Argentina, where it produces bold, full-bodied wines with ripe tannins and moderate acidity. Malbec wines often exhibit flavors of blackberry, plum, and black cherry, along with notes of cocoa, leather, and tobacco. Key regions for Malbec include Mendoza (Argentina), Cahors (France), and Walla Walla Valley (USA).

Tempranillo (Red)

Tempranillo, the flagship red grape variety of Spain, is the main component in the famous Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines. This late-ripening grape produces medium to full-bodied wines with moderate tannins and acidity. Tempranillo wines often showcase flavors of red cherry, plum, and leather, accompanied by herbal and spicy notes. Key regions for Tempranillo include Rioja (Spain), Ribera del Duero (Spain), and Douro Valley (Portugal).

Sangiovese (Red)

Sangiovese, the dominant grape variety in Italy’s Tuscany region, is the backbone of renowned wines like Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Sangiovese wines typically have a medium to full body, high acidity, and firm tannins, making them ideal partners for food. Common flavors in Sangiovese wines include red cherry, tomato, and dried herbs, with hints of tobacco and leather. Key regions for Sangiovese include Tuscany (Italy) and more recently in California (USA).

Nebbiolo (Red)

Nebbiolo, often hailed as the king of Italian grapes, is an iconic red variety primarily grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. Renowned for producing some of the world’s most distinguished and age-worthy wines, Nebbiolo wines exhibit remarkable complexity and elegance. They are typically medium to full-bodied with high acidity and firm, grippy tannins. Nebbiolo wines often display flavors of red cherry, strawberry, and rose petals, accompanied by earthy undertones of truffle, tar, and dried herbs. The most famous appellations for Nebbiolo include Barolo and Barbaresco, where the grape reaches its zenith, showcasing remarkable depth, structure, and aging potential.

Grenache/Garnacha (Red)

Grenache, known as Garnacha in Spain, is a heat-loving grape variety that thrives in the warm Mediterranean climates of Spain and Southern France. It produces medium to full-bodied wines with soft tannins and medium acidity. Grenache/Garnacha wines often feature flavors of red berry, cherry, and white pepper, with notes of dried herbs and spices. Notable regions for Grenache/Garnacha include the Rhône Valley (France), Priorat (Spain), and McLaren Vale (Australia).

Chenin Blanc (White)

Chenin Blanc, a versatile white grape variety native to the Loire Valley in France, is capable of producing a wide array of wine styles, from crisp and refreshing to rich and honeyed, as well as sparkling and dessert wines. Chenin Blanc wines are known for their high acidity and pronounced minerality. Common flavors in Chenin Blanc wines include green apple, pear, and quince, with notes of honey, chamomile, and wet wool in aged or sweeter versions. Key regions for Chenin Blanc include the Loire Valley (France) and Stellenbosch (South Africa).

Viognier (White)

Viognier, a white grape variety from the Rhône Valley in France, is known for its rich, full-bodied wines with intense aromatics. Viognier wines typically have low acidity and showcase flavors of peach, apricot, and tangerine, accompanied by floral and spicy notes. Key regions for Viognier include the Rhône Valley (France), California (USA), and South Australia (Australia).

Gewürztraminer (White)

Gewürztraminer, a highly aromatic white grape variety from Alsace, France, is known for its distinctive lychee aroma and spicy character. Gewürztraminer wines are typically medium to full-bodied, with low acidity and flavors of lychee, rose, and ginger, along with notes of honey and baking spices. Key regions for Gewürztraminer include Alsace (France), Alto Adige (Italy), and Marlborough (New Zealand).

Grüner Veltliner (White)

Grüner Veltliner, the signature white grape variety of Austria, is known for its zesty, refreshing wines with high acidity and pronounced minerality. Grüner Veltliner wines often exhibit flavors of green apple, citrus, and white pepper, along with herbal and mineral notes. Key regions for Grüner Veltliner include Wachau (Austria), Kamptal (Austria), and Marlborough (New Zealand).

Albariño (White)

Albariño, a white grape variety from the Rías Baixas region of Spain, produces light to medium-bodied wines with high acidity and vibrant citrus and stone fruit flavors. Albariño wines often feature flavors of lemon, grapefruit, and peach, accompanied by floral and saline notes. Key regions for Albariño include Rías Baixas (Spain) and Vinho Verde (Portugal).

By exploring these 10 additional grape varieties, you will continue to expand your understanding and appreciation of the vast array of wine styles and flavors available in the world of wine. Each grape variety offers a unique expression of its terroir, winemaking techniques, and regional traditions, allowing you to experience new and exciting taste sensations.

Remember that the world of wine is an ongoing journey, and there are countless other grape varieties and wine styles waiting to be discovered. As you continue to expand your wine knowledge, don’t be afraid to venture beyond the familiar and experiment with new varieties, regions, and producers.

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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