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Barbera - Fruity; firm acidity - A prolifically grown Italian grape which does not require as much ageing as other Italian reds.  It is also found in use in California and South America.

Cabernet Sauvignon - Rich; dry; blackcurrant;  - Probably the most well know red grape variety, it is often blended with softer grape varieties such as Merlot to produce some of the best wines available. Long-lasting complex wines.

Cinsault - Spicy; warm; - Grown in the same regions as the Carignan as well as in New Zealand and South Africa (where it is also known as the Hermitage grape). Often used for blends.

Dolcetto - Full; fruity; - From Italy's Piedmont region.

Gamay - Fresh; cherry; high acidity; - The grape of the Beaujolais, from south of Burgundy, always best when drunk young.

Grenache - Grown widely in the south of France, Spain and California. It is found in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cotes du Rhone and Rioja.

Merlot - Soft; Plum; - This grape variety is commonly blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon, but is being used more and more on its own particularly in areas such as New Zealand and Washington State.

Pinot Noir - Delicate raspberry to chocolate; - A difficult variety to grow and only in Burgundy does this grape really achieve the highest results. However, its flavour qualities change with age, allowing it to be used in a variety of methods such as Champagne; Rosés from the Sancerre region as well as Germany and Switzerland; and it is being tried by the New World winemakers.

Sangiovese - Herbs; spice; - A Tuscan grape, grown widely throughout Italy, with quality and complexity, although rarely able to be aged.

Tempranillo - Soft; light;  - Found all over Spain it gives Rioja its character, and in Portugal is occasionally used for port.

Zinfandel - From fruity to spicy depending on age; - The grape of California, it has a wide variety of uses from table wine to fine wine, white, rosé to sparkling.


Chardonnay - Buttery; The king of white grapes. Used all over the world, but probably to its best potential in the Burgundy region.


External Link: More information found here


REDS: The term room temperature can actually be a bit misleading - the best temperature to serve most red wines is between 15-16°C which is actually cooler than the average modern room. Older reds such as Burgundy and Bordeaux can be served slightly warmer than this, but serving a red wine too warm can make it dull and heavy. Young wines such as Beaujolais should be slightly chilled to about 12°C (or an hour or so in the fridge door).

Open red wines at least an hour before drinking to allow them to breath.

WHITES: Sparkling and dessert wines serve at around 4°C

Dry and semi-dry at around 9°C. Richer wines at around 12°C

The colder the wine the less you can taste it (which may work to some advantage on some varieties!)

ROSÉ: Chill for about 2 hours in the fridge door.

Essentially, wine-making is a natural process - within the wine grape there is everything necessary to produce fermentation into wine. On the exterior (easier to see on black grapes) is a white bloom which are tiny yeast cells. Inside the grape there is sugar. Once the grapes are crushed these two elements collide and the yeast attacks the sugar to produce fermentation. The fermentation continues until either all the sugar is used up, or until the alcohol content is so high that it kills off any remaining yeast. Very sweet grape varieties are capable of producing high alcohol content wines.

One other vitally important ingredient held within the grape is tannin. Some grape varieties hold more than others, but it is essential for wines, particularly reds, that are intended to be kept to mature. The tannin is a natural preservative.

This is a simplified version of events. There are many ways of manipulating the flavour and style of the wine, but nothing influences a wine so much as the raw materials themselves. The wide variety of grapes available along with a wide variety of climates and soil conditions allow for the immense variety of wines available to us today. The hard part (for us at least) is choosing which one to drink!

Now for more detail we have provided some useful links below to external websites that we feel offer comprehensive information in the art of wine-making.






The Best Wines in the Supermarkets available online and in book stores now


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