Grape varieties

  • Vignoble Gaillac

    Vignoble Gaillac

    © VIET_CRT Midi Pyrénées

  • © Atout France/PHOVOIR

  • Vignoble de Brison-Saint-Innocent

    Vignoble de Brison-Saint-Innocent

    © Savoie Mont Blanc Huchette

Grape varieties

Grapes are a vine fruit.

In order to produce a quality wine, it all begins with the cep,or vine stock, hence the name cépage in French (used to describe the different grape varieties). The vines must be flourishing, i.e.an average of ten to fifteen years old; they must also be planted in poor soil and benefit from a moderate supply of water (a little rain in autumn and spring, and sun during the summer). The grapes are then harvested once they are well ripened, perfectly healthy and full of sugar: this is the harvest.

 

Some principal red grape varieties

Grape varieties

Major regions and main
producing countries

Main characteristics

Pinot noir

France (Bourgogne), California (USA), New Zealand.

Aromas: red fruits, black
cherry, game Average acidity, slightly tannic

Cabernet
sauvignon

France (Bordeaux),
Australia, California, Chile

Aromas: blackcurrant, black
cherry Strong acidity, tannic

Merlot

France (Bordeaux, Languedoc), Italy, California

Aromas: red and black
fruits Weak acidity, slightly tannic

Syrah

France (Languedoc-Roussillon, Vallée du Rhône),
Australia

Aromas: violet, blackberry,
spices Average acidity, tannic

Grenache

France (Languedoc-Roussillon, Vallée du Rhône), Spain

Aromas: red fruits, leather
Slightly acidic and slightly tannic

 

Some principal white wine grape
varieties :

Grape varieties

Major regions and main producing countries

Main characteristics

Chardonnay

France (Bourgogne,
Champagne), California, Australia 

 Aromas: citrus fruits,
butter, mineral Relatively high acidity

Sauvignon
blanc

France (Val-de-Loire), New Zealand, California

 Aromas: green fruits, stone
fruits, vegetables. Strong acidity

Riesling

France (Alsace), Germany

Aromas: peach, green apple,
smoked Strong acidity

Late harvests: dried apricot, honey, almond

Pinot
gris

France (Alsace), Germany,
Italy

 Aromas: honey, musk, spices
Weak acidity

Sémillon

France (Bordeaux,
South-West), Australia, Chile

 Aromas: citrus fruits,
honey, toast, vanilla

More or less acidic according to the wine
(Graves, Sauternes)