Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Airén Bland workhorse of La Mancha, Spain: fresh if made well.
Albariño (Alvarinho) Fashionable and expensive in Spain: apricot-scented, gd acidity. Best in
Rías Baixas; shaping up elsewhere, but not all live up to hype. Alvarinho in Portugal just as
gd: aromatic Vinho Verde, esp in Monção, Melgaço.
Aligoté Burgundy’s second-rank white grape. Sharp wine for young drinking, perfect for mixing
with cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) to make Kir. Widely planted in East Europe, esp Russia.
Alvarinho ALBARIÑO in Portugal.
Amigne One of Switzerland’s speciality grapes, traditional in Valais, esp Vétroz. Total planted:
43ha. Full-bodied, tasty, often sweet but also bone-dry.
Ansonica See INSOLIA.
Arinto Portuguese; the mainstay of aromatic, citrusy wines in Bucelas; also adds welcome zip to
blends, esp in Alentejo.
Arneis NW Italian. Fine, aromatic, appley-peachy, high-priced grape, DOCG in Roero, DOC in
Langhe, Piedmont.
Arvine Rare Swiss speciality, from Valais. Also Petite Arvine. Dry and sweet, elegant, longlasting
wines with a salty finish.
Assyrtiko Greek; one of the best grapes of the Mediterranean, balancing power, minerality,
extract and high acid. Built to age. Could conquer the world…
Auxerrois Red Auxerrois is a synonym for MALBEC. White Auxerrois is like a fatter, spicier
version of PINOT BL. Found in Alsace, much used in Crémant; also Germany.
Beli Pinot See PINOT BL.
Blanc Fumé See SAUV BL.
Boal See BUAL.
Bourboulenc This and the rare Rolle make some of the Midi’s best wines.
Bouvier Aromatic grape indigenous to Austria. Esp gd for Beerenauslese and
Trockenbeerenauslese, rarely for dry wines.
Bual (Boal) Makes top-quality sweet Madeira wines, not quite so rich as Malmsey.
Carricante Italian. Principal grape of Etna Bianco, regaining ground.
Catarratto Prolific white grape found all over Sicily, esp in west in DOC Alcamo.
Cerceal See SERCIAL.
Chardonnay (Morillon) [Chard] The white grape of Burgundy and Champagne, now ubiquitous
worldwide, partly because it is one of the easiest to grow and vinify. Also the name of a
Mâcon-Villages commune. The fashion for overoaked butterscotch versions now thankfully
over. Morillon in Styria, Austria.
Chasselas (Fendant, Gutedel) Swiss (originated in Vaud). Neutral flavour, takes on local
character: elegant (Geneva); refined, full (Vaud); exotic, racy (Valais). Fendant in Valais.
Makes almost a third of Swiss wines but giving way, esp to red. Gutedel in Germany, grown
esp in southern Baden. Elsewhere usually a table grape.
Chenin Blanc [Chenin Bl] Wonderful white grape of the middle Loire (Vouvray, Layon, etc).
Wine can be dry or sweet (or v. sweet), but with plenty of acidity. Bulk wine in California.
Taken v. seriously (alias Steen) in South Africa; still finding its way there, but huge potential.
Clairette Low-acid; in many southern French blends. Improved winemaking helps.
Colombard Slightly fruity, nicely sharp grape, makes everyday wine in South Africa, California
and Southwest France. Often blended.
Dimiat Bulgarian: perfumed, dry or off-dry, or distilled. More synonyms than it needs
Ermitage See MARSANNE.
Ezerjó Hungarian, with sharp acidity. Name means “thousand blessings”.
Falanghina Italian: ancient grape of Campanian hills. Excellent dense, aromatic dry whites.
Fendant See CHASSELAS.
Fernão Pires See MARIA GOMES.
Fetească Albă / Regală (Leányka / Királyleanyka) Romania has two Fetească grapes, both
with slight MUSCAT aroma. F. Regală is a cross of F. Albă and GRAS; more finesse, gd for lateharvest
wines. F. Albă is Leányka in Hungary; F. Regală is Hungary’s Királyleanyka. F.
Neagră is dark-skinned.
Fiano High-quality grape giving peachy, spicy wine in Campania, southern Italy.
Folle Blanche (Gros Plant, Picpoul) High acid/little flavour make this ideal for brandy. Gros
Plant (Brittany), Picpoul (Armagnac). Respectable in California.
Friulano (Sauvignonasse, Sauvignon Vert) North Italian: fresh, pungent, subtly floral. Used to
be called Tocai Friulano. Best in Collio, Isonzo, Colli Orientali. Found in nearby Slovenia as
Sauvignonasse; also in Chile, where it was long confused with SAUV BL. Ex-Tocai in Veneto
now known as Tai.
Fumé Blanc See SAUV BL.
Furmint (Šipon) Superb, characterful. The trademark of Hungary, both as the principal grape in
Tokaji and as vivid, vigorous table wine, sometimes mineral, sometimes apricot-flavoured,
sometimes both. Šipon in Slovenia. Some grown in Rust, Austria, for sweet and dry.
Garganega Best grape in Soave blend; also in Gambellara. Top, esp sweet, age well.

Garnacha Blanca (Grenache Blanc) White version of GARNACHA/GRENACHE, much used in
Spain, southern France. Low acidity. Can be innocuous, or surprisingly gd.
Gewurztraminer (Traminac, Traminec, Traminer, Tramini) [Gewurz] One of the most
pungent grapes, spicy with aromas of rose petals, face-cream, lychees, grapefruit. Wines are
often rich and soft, even when fully dry. Best in Alsace; also gd in Germany (Baden, Pfalz,
Sachsen), Eastern Europe, Australia, California, Pacific Northwest and NZ. Can be relatively
unaromatic if just labelled Traminer (or variants). Italy uses the name Traminer Aromatico for
its (dry) versions. The name comes from German Gewürz (“spice”), and keeps the umlaut in
Glera Uncharismatic new name for the Prosecco vine. Prosecco is now only a wine, no longer a
Godello See VERDELHO.
Grasă (Kövérszölö) Romanian; name means “fat”. Prone to botrytis; v. important in Cotnari:
potentially superb sweet wines. Kövérszölö in Hungary’s Tokaj region.
Grauburgunder See PINOT GR.
Grechetto Ancient grape of central and south Italy noted for the vitality and stylishness of its
wine. Blended, or used solo in Orvieto.
Greco Southern Italian: there are various Grecos, probably unrelated, perhaps of Greek origin.
Brisk, peachy flavour, most famous as Greco di Tufo. Greco di Bianco is from semi-dried
grapes. Greco Nero is a black version.
Grenache Blanc See GARNACHA BLANCA.
Grignolino Italy: gd everyday table wine in Piedmont.
Grüner Veltliner Austria’s flagship white grape. Remarkably diverse: from simple, peppery
everyday wines to others of great complexity and ageing potential. Found elsewhere in
Central Europe to some extent, and now showing potential in NZ. The height of fashion.
Gutedel See CHASSELAS.
Hárslevelű Other main grape of Tokaji, but softer, peachier than FURMINT. Name means “lindenleaved”.
Gd in Somló, Eger as well.
Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio, Grauburgunder, Ruländer, Sivi Pinot, Szürkebarát) [Pinot Gr]
Light and fashionable as Pinot Grigio in northern Italy, even for rosé, but top, characterful
versions can be excellent (from Alto Adige, Friuli). Cheap versions are just that. Terrific in
Alsace for full-bodied, spicy whites. Once important in Champagne. In Germany can be alias
Ruländer (sweet) or Grauburgunder (dry): best in Baden (esp Kaiserstuhl) and south Pfalz.
Szürkebarát in Hungary, Sivi Pinot in Slovenia (characterful, aromatic).
Pošip Croatia: mostly on Korčula. Quite characterful and citrusy; high yielding.
Prosecco See GLERA.
Renski Rizling See RIES.
Ribolla Gialla / Rebula Acidic but characterful. In Italy, best in Collio. In Slovenia, traditional in
Brda. V. high quality potential in macerated and classical styles.
Rieslaner German cross (SILVANER x RIES); low yields, difficult ripening, now a rarity (less than
50ha). Makes fine Auslesen in Franken and Pfalz.
Riesling Italico See WELSCHRIESLING.
Riesling (Renski Rizling, Rhine Riesling) [Ries] As gd as CHARD, if not better, though
diametrically opposite in style. Offers a range from steely to voluptuous, always positively
perfumed, with more ageing potential than Chard. Great in all styles in Germany; forceful and
steely in Austria; lime-cordial and toast fruit in South Australia; rich and spicy in Alsace;
Germanic and promising in NZ, New York State, Pacific Northwest; has potential in Ontario,
South Africa.
Sémillon [Sém] Contributes the lusciousness to Sauternes but decreasingly important for Graves
and other dry white Bordeaux. Grassy if not fully ripe, but can make soft, dry wine of great
ageing potential. Superb in Australia; NZ and South Africa promising.
Sercial (Cerceal) Portugal: makes the driest Madeira. Cerceal, also Portuguese, seems to be this
plus any of several others.
Seyval Blanc [Seyval Bl] French-made hybrid of French and American vines. V. hardy and
attractively fruity. Popular and reasonably successful in eastern US states and England but
dogmatically banned by EU from “quality” wines.
Silvaner (Johannisberg, Sylvaner) Germany’s former workhorse grape, can be excellent in
Rheinhessen, Pfalz, esp Franken, where its plant/earth flavours and mineral notes reach their
apogee. (and powerful) as Johannisberg in the Valais, Switzerland. The lightest of the
Alsace grapes.
Sipon See FURMINT.
Sylvaner See SILVANER.
Tămâioasă Românească Romania: “frankincense” grape, with exotic aroma and taste. Belongs
to MUSCAT family.
Torrontés Name given to a number of grapes, mostly with an aromatic, floral character,
sometimes soapy. A speciality of Argentina; also in Spain. DYA.
Humagne Swiss speciality, older than CHASSELAS. Fresh, plump, not v. aromatic. Humagne Rouge
(HR), also common in Valais, is not related but increasingly popular. HR is the same as
Cornalin du Aosta; Cornalin du Valais is different. (Keep up at the back, there.)
Insolia (Ansonica, Inzolia) Sicilian; Ansonica on Tuscan coast. Fresh, racy wine at best. May be
semi-dried for sweet wine.
Irsai Olivér Hungarian cross of two table varieties. Makes aromatic, MUSCAT-like wine for
drinking young.
Johannisberg See SILVANER.
Kéknyelű Low-yielding, flavourful grape giving one of Hungary’s best whites. Has the potential
for fieriness and spice. To be watched.
Kerner Quite successful German crossing. Early ripening, flowery (but often too blatant) wine
with gd acidity.
Királyleányka Aka FETEASCĂ REGALĂ.
Kövérszölö See GRASĂ.
Leányka “Little girl”. See FETEASCĂ ALBĂ.
Listán See PALOMINO.
Loureiro Best Vinho Verde variety after ALVARINHO: delicate, floral whites. Also in Spain.
Macabeo See VIURA.
Malagousia Rediscovered Greek grape for gloriously perfumed wines.
Malmsey See MALVASIA. The sweetest style of Madeira, from grape of same name.
Malvasia (Malmsey, Malvazija) Italy and Iberia. An ancient Greek grape planted so widely for
so long that various sub-varieties often bear little resemblance to one another – can be white
or red, sparkling or still, strong or mild, sweet or dry, aromatic or neutral. Slovenia’s and
Croatia’s version is Malvazija Istarka, crisp and light, or rich, oak-aged. “Malmsey” (as in
the sweetest style of Madeira) is a corruption of Malvasia.
Malvoisie Not related to MALVASIA. Covers several varieties in France, incl PINOT GR, MACABEO,
BOURBOULENC, CLAIRETTE, Torbato, VERMENTINO. Pinot Gr in Switzerland.
Manseng, Gros / Petit Gloriously spicy and floral whites from Southwest France. The key to
Jurançon. Superb late-harvest and sweet wines, too.
Rkatsiteli Found widely in Eastern Europe, Russia, Georgia. Can stand cold winters and has high
acidity, which protects it to some degree from poor winemaking. Also grown in northeast
Robola In Greece (Cephalonia): top-quality, floral grape, unrelated to RIBOLLA GIALLA.
Roditis Pink grape grown all over Greece, usually producing white wines. Gd when yields are
Rotgipfler Austrian; indigenous to Thermenregion. With ZIERFANDLER, makes lively, lush,
aromatic blend.
Roussanne Rhône grape of finesse, now popping up in California and Australia. Can age many
Ruländer See PINOT GR.
Sauvignonasse See FRIULANO.
Sauvignon Blanc [Sauv Bl] Makes distinctive aromatic, grassy-to-tropical wines, pungent in NZ,
often minerally in Sancerre, riper in Australia. in Rueda, Austria, north Italy (Isonzo,
Piedmont, Alto Adige), Chile’s Casablanca Valley and South Africa. Blended with SÉM in
Bordeaux. Can be austere or buxom (or indeed, nauseating). Sauvignon Gris is a pink-skinned,
less aromatic version of Sauv Bl with untapped potential.
Sauvignon Vert See FRIULANO.
Savagnin (Heida, Païen) Grape of Vin Jaune from Savoie: related to GEWURZ? In Switzerland
known as Heida, Païen or Traminer. Full-bodied, high acidity.
Scheurebe Grapefruit-scented German RIES x SILVANER (possibly), v. successful in Pfalz, esp for
Auslese and upwards. Can be weedy: must be v. ripe to be gd.
Traminac / Traminec. See GEWURZ.
Traminer / Tramini Hungary. See GEWURZ.
Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc) Principal white grape of Tuscany, found all over Italy in different
guises. Rarely rises above plebeian except in Tuscany’s Vin Santo. Some gd dry DOCs
Romagna or Abruzzo. Trebbiano di Soave or di Lugana, aka VERDICCHIO, only distantly
related. Grown in southern France as Ugni Blanc, Cognac as St-Émilion. Mostly thin, bland;
needs blending (and careful growing).
Ugni Blanc [Ugni Bl] See TREBBIANO.
Ull de Llebre See TEMPRANILLO.
Verdejo The grape of Rueda in Castile, potentially fine and long-lived.
Verdelho (Godello) Great quality in Australia, and in Spain as Godello – probably Spain’s best
white grape. Rare but gd (and medium-sweet) in Madeira.
Verdicchio Potentially gd, muscular dry wine in central-eastern Italy. Makes the wine of the same
Vermentino Italy: sprightly, satisfying texture and ageing capacity. Potential here.
Vernaccia Name given to many unrelated grapes in Italy. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is crisp,
lively; Vernaccia di Oristano is Sherry-like.
Vidal French hybrid much grown in Canada for Icewine.
Maria Gomes (Fernão Pires) Portugal: aromatic, ripe-flavoured, slightly spicy whites in
Barraida and Tejo.
Marsanne (Ermitage) Principal white grape (with ROUSSANNE) of the northern Rhône
(Hermitage, St-Joseph, St-Péray). Also gd in Australia, California and (as Ermitage Blanc)
the Valais. Soft, full wines that age v. well.
Melon de Bourgogne See MUSCADET.
Misket Bulgarian: mildly aromatic; the basis of most country whites.
Morillon CHARD in parts of Austria.
Moscatel See MUSCAT.
Moscato See MUSCAT.
Moschofilero Pink-skinned, rose-scented, high-quality, high-acid, low-alcohol Greek grape.
Makes white, some pink, some sparkling.
Müller-Thurgau [Müller-T] Aromatic wines to drink young. Gd sweet wines but usually dull,
often coarse, dry ones. In Germany, most common in Pfalz, Rheinhessen, Nahe, Baden,
Franken. Has some merit in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli. Sometimes called RIES x
SYLVANER (incorrectly) in Switzerland.
Muscadelle Adds aroma to white Bordeaux, esp Sauternes. In Victoria used (with MUSCAT, to
which it is unrelated) for Rutherglen Muscat.
Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne) Makes light, refreshing, v. dry wines with a seaside tang
around Nantes in Brittany. Also found (as Melon) in parts of Burgundy.
Muscat (Moscatel, Moscato, Muskateller) Many varieties; the best is Muscat Blanc à Petits
Grains (alias Gelber Muskateller, Rumeni Muškat, Sarga Muskotály, Yellow Muscat). Widely
grown, easily recognized, pungent grapes, mostly made into perfumed sweet wines, often
fortified, as in France’s Vin Doux Naturel. Superb, dark and sweet in Australia. Sweet,
sometimes in Spain. Most Hungarian Muskotály is Muscat Ottonel, except in Tokaj
where Sarga Muskotály rules, adding perfume (in small amounts) to blends. Occasionally (eg.
Alsace, Austria, parts of south Germany) made dry. Sweet Cap Corse Muscats often superb.
Light Moscato fizz in Italy.
Muskateller See MUSCAT.
Narince Turkish; fresh and fruity wines.
Neuburger Austrian, rather neglected; mainly in the Wachau (elegant, flowery), Thermenregion
(mellow, ample-bodied) and north Burgenland (strong, full).
Olaszrizling See WELSCHRIESLING.
Palomino (Listán) The great grape of Sherry; with little intrinsic character, it gains all from
production method. Of local appeal (on a hot day) for table wine. As Listán, makes dry white
in Canaries.
Pansà Blanca See XAREL-LO.
Pecorino Italian: not a cheese but alluring dry white from a recently nr-extinct variety. IGT in
Colli Pescaresi.
Pedro Ximénez [PX] Makes sweet Sherry under its own name; in Montilla, Málaga. Also grown
in Argentina, the Canaries, Australia, California, South Africa.
Pinela Local to Slovenia. Subtle, lowish acidity; drink young.
Pinot Bianco See PINOT BL.
Pinot Blanc (Beli Pinot, Pinot Bianco, Weissburgunder) [Pinot Bl] Cousin of PINOT N, similar
to but milder than CHARD. Light, fresh, fruity, not aromatic, to drink young. Gd for Italian
spumante; potentially excellent in northeast, esp high sites in Alto Adige. Widely grown.
Weissburgunder in Germany and best in south: often racier than Chard.
Viognier Ultra-fashionable Rhône grape, finest in Condrieu, less fine but still aromatic in Midi.
Gd examples from California, Virginia, Uruguay, Australia.
Viura (Macabeo, Maccabéo, Maccabeu) Workhorse white grape of northern Spain, widespread
in Rioja, Catalunya. Also in Southwest France. Gd quality potential.
Weissburgunder PINOT BL in Germany.
Welschriesling (Graševina, Laski Rizling, Olaszrizling, Riesling Italico) Not related to RIES.
Light and fresh to sweet and rich in Austria; ubiquitous in Central Europe, where it can be
remarkably gd for dry and sweet wines.
Xarel-lo (Pansà Blanca) Traditional Catalan grape for Cava, with Parellada, MACABEO. Neutral
but clean. More character (lime cordial) in Alella, as Pansà Blanca.
Xynisteri Cyprus’s most planted white grape. Can be simple and is usually DYA, but when
grown at altitude makes appealing, minerally whites.
Zéta Hungarian; BOUVIER x FURMINT used by some in Tokaji Aszú production.
Zierfandler (Spätrot, Cirfandl) Found in Austria’s Thermenregion; often blended with
ROTGIPFLER for aromatic, orange-peel-scented, weighty wines


Post a Comment