Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Grape By Any Other Name.....

Now that I have completed my intermediate studies on the main grape varietals, I figured this would be a great time for me to sum up what to look for when tasting wines made from each. I've always been a good student, so taking the multiple choice exam in a month doesn't frighten me. For some reason, with as much tasting experience as I have, it is the tasting (identification) exam that does.

This post - hopefully - will help me study for this portion of my exam. I will also include the best places to find the wines. Material is quoted loosely from my WSET text. Here goes.....

Sauvignon Blanc
In cooler climates: vegetal flavors and green fruit
Moderate climates: less strong, stone fruits
May also find: elderflower, mineral
Where to find? Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Bordeaux, Marlborough (NZ), Napa (Fume Blanc), Coastal South Africa, Casablanca (Chile)

Cool Climate: green and citrus fruits
Moderate Climates: citrus and stone fruits
May also find: smoke, honey, tropical fruit, mineral
Where? Germany (Mosel, Rheingau, Pfalz), Alsace, Austria, Clare and Eden Valleys (Australia), South Island New Zealand

Cool Climates: green fruit
Moderate Climate: citrus and stone fruit
Hot: tropical fruit
May also find: oak, butter, hazelnut, mineral
Where? Burgundy (Chablis, Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Macon, Pouilly-Fuisse), Australia (Hunter Valley, Victoria, Limestone Coast, Adelaide Hills, Margaret River), New Zealand (Hawkes Bay, Gisborne, Marlborough), CA (Coastal, Sonoma, Carneros), Casablanca (Chile), Mendoza (Argentina)

Pinot Noir
Cool: vegetal
Moderate: red fruit
May also find: animal
Where? Burgundy (Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Beaune, Pommard), New Zealand (Martinborough, Marlborough, Central Otago), CA (Coastal, Sonoma, Carneros), Casablanca, Coastal South Africa

Moderate: red fruit
Hot: black fruit
May also find: oak, fruitcake, chocolate
Where? Bordeaux (St Emilion, Pomerol), Margaret River (Austr), Hawkes Bay (NZ), Napa/Sonoma, Central Valley (Chile), Mendoza, Stellenbosch (S. Africa)

Cabernet Sauvignon
Moderate: black fruit (high acid)
Hot: black fruit (moderate acid)
May also find: oak, bell pepper, cedar
Where? Bordeaux (Medoc, Haut-Medoc, Graves), Australia (Connawarra, Margaret River), Hawkes Bay (NZ), Napa/Sonoma, Central Valley (Chile), Argentina (Mendoza, Cafayate), Stellenbosch

Moderate: pepper, black fruit
Hot: spice, black fruit
May also find: oak, vegetal, animal, chocolate
Where? Rhone Valley (Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cote-Rotie, Cotes due Rhone, Chateauneuf-du-Pape), Australia/moderate (W. Austr, Western, Central Victoria), Australia/hot (Hunter Valley, Barossa, McLaren Vale)

Hot: red fruit
May also find: spice, toffee
Where? Southern Rhone, Spain

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