Wines of the World







Alsace
Very perfumed, aromatic dry white wines with spicy flavours; white varietals – Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Tokay-Pinot Gris, Muscat (and some Sylvaner, Chasselas and Pinot Blanc). Reds – Pinot Noir. Most of these are bottled as single varietals, with the exception of Edelzwicker (see below).
Amarone
A strong, dry, long-lived red from the Veneto region, made from a blend of partially dried red grapes.
Armangac
The ‘klein krokodil’ of brandies, but still a krokodil. It is produced in Armangac, to the South of Bordeaux
Asti Spumante
A slightly sweet sparkling wine.
Auslese
A white wine made from selected bunches of grapes that are very ripe and thus high in sugar, and in the best years have been affected by noble rot. The word Auslese means “selection.”
Banyuls
An unusual dessert wine made from late-harvest Grenache grapes. The steep hillside vineyards in the small village of Banyuls are above the Mediterranean at the southern limit of Roussillon.
Bardolino
A light, red, slightly-sweet wine produced in the Veneto region, blended from several grapes and sometimes lightly sparkling. The wine is a garnet color, dry and slightly bitter. Bardolino is best drunk when young.
Barolo
One of the most highly regarded Italian reds, made from Nebbiolo grapes grown in Piedmont. The wine is dark, full-bodied and high in tannin and alcohol; it can improve over decades of aging.
Barsac
A sweet wine from Bordeaux, Barsac (a neighbour of Sauternes) may call its wine either AOC Barsac or AOC Sauternes. Also made from botrytis-affected Semillon and Sauvignon grapes, Barsac wines are often slightly less sweet and more fruity than Sauternes.
Beaujolais
Mostly red wines made from Gamay grapes. Synonymous with fresh, fruity, easy drinking light wines that are versatile, and an excellent choice with meals. Some white and rosé Beaujolais are also made.
Beerenauslese
Exceedingly rare, individually picked grape berries. Very rich and rare dessert wine.
Bergerac
Dordogne, south-western France. Bergerac blanc is either a crisp or full-bodied, slightly sweet white blend of Sauvignon, Sémillon and Muscadelle. The reds are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.
Bordeaux
White Bordeaux: a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and sometimes Muscadelle. Red Bordeaux: a blend of varying ratios of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Sometimes Petit Verdot and Malbec as well.
Burgundy
White Burgundy – Chardonnay and some Aligoté. Red Burgundy – Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir
Cava
A popular sparkling wine made using méthode Champenoise, the traditional French method of bottle-fermenting champagne.
Chablis
Burgundy’s steely, flinty wines with higher acid. By appellation rules, the wines are 100% Chardonnay
Champagne
Sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region using the traditional method (Méthode Champenoise) Pinot Noir and Meunier and/or Chardonnay. Styles – white and rosé, vintage and non-vintage. By treaty, other European countries may not use the name for their sparkling wines.
Chianti
Medium to full bodied red table wine of Tuscany in Italy. Chiantis are usually mainly Sangiovese blended with Canaiolo Nero/Colorino/Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot.
Chianti Classico
A DOC (Quality designation) red from a designated inner portion of the Chianti wine district. To be labeled Chianti Classico, both the vineyards and the winery must be within the delimited region.
Cognac
The ‘groot krokodil’ of all brandies, produced in Congac, to the North of Bordeaux.
Crémant d’Alsace
Alsace. Crisp, dry sparkling wines made from Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir (Auxerrois, Chardonnay and Riesling are also permitted), using the traditional method.
Edelzwicker
Alsace. Light-bodied white blend, based mainly on Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc.
Eiswein
A sweet, literally “ice wine”, made from grapes harvested and crushed after they have frozen on the vine. The freezing concentrates the sugars in the grapes prior to harvesting. True German Eisweins are rare and costly. Elegant and rich, but not as intense as a Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese.
Fino
The lightest and driest Sherries.
Frascati
A fruity, golden white wine from the hills around Rome; made from a blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and Greco it can be dry or sweet.
Gattinara
A red made in the Piedmont region from Nebbiolo blended with other grapes. A powerful, long-lived wine, though less so than Barolo.
Grappa
A spirit distilled from grape skins. Dry and high in alcohol, it is typically consumed after dinner.
Kabinett
Light, very dry white wines made without additional sugar that are relatively low in alcohol (7%-9%). Can also refer to the driest wine from a given vineyard or producer in any vintage.
Liebfraumilch
A blended white, semi-sweet and fairly neutral, which accounts for up to 50% of all German wine exports.
Madeira
A rich, white fortified wine resembling Sherry originally produced on and named after the Portuguese island on which its grapes are grown.
Marsala
Produced on the island of Sicily, Italy’s most famous fortified wine. Usually contains about 17% to 20% alcohol. May be dry or sweet and is commonly used in cooking.
Orvieto
A blend of Trebbiano, Verdello, Grechetto, Canaiolo Bianco and Malvasia.
Pouilly-Fuissé
The Mâcconnais region, Burgundy. Distinctive Chardonnay wines that are rich and full-bodied
Rhône blend
White Rhône blend: Marsanne, Roussanne and occasionally Viognier. Red Rhône blend: Grenache blended with Cinsaut, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah.
Rioja
(pronounced ri-o-ha) Red blend: Tempranillo, Garnacha and sometimes, Graciano and Carignan. White blend: Macabeo, Garnacha Blanco and Malvasia.
S Rhône blend
White blend – Bourboulenc, Clairette, and Grenache Blanc. Red blend– Grenache, Carignan, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre and Syrah
Sauternes
Bordeaux. Sweet wine made from botrytis grapes, blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Chateau d’Yquem is considered one of the greatest sweet white wines of the world.
Sèlection de Grain Nobles
An outstanding wine from Alsace. Similar to Vendange Tardive (see below) but the grapes have been affected by botrytis or noble rot. Sweetness levels vary dramatically but the wines are rich in flavour.
Sherry
A fortified wine made in Sherry, Spain, mainly from Palomino. Much of the best South African ‘sherry’ is however made from Chenin Blanc.
Soave
A blend of mainly Trebbiano and Garganega.
Spätlese
Late harvest, riper, fuller-bodied and generally sweeter.
Strohwein
Very sweet wines rich in extracts which are pressed from fully-ripe grapes that were previously stored and dried on reeds or straw in warm, well-aerated rooms. Nowadays, instead of storing the grapes on straw or reeds, the grapes are dried on wire trellises.
Tavel
Produced in the S Rhône, France’s most famous dry rosé.
Tokay/Tokaji Aszú
Hungary’s famous sweet wine. Blend of Furmint and Hárslevelü and Muscat, comparable to a highly aromatic, dramatically vital Sauternes with a searing finish. Also dry table wine of character.
Trockenbeerenauslese
Individually picked grapes left on the vine until they become raisins. Made only in great vintage years.
Vendange Tardive
The other outstanding wine from Alsace. Made in outstanding vintages from late-picked grapes of that single vintage, can be made from one of four varietals: Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. The wines can vary from ultra dry to sweet. If the grapes are affected by Botrytis or Noble Rot, the wine is known as Sèlection de Grain Nobles .