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Know your grapes

  • The primary flavour of all wine is dictated by the grape variety.
  • There are over 4,000 types of grape species used in wine making.
  • 12 varietals make up over 70% of all wine sales*.
    *Source: Nielsen, MAT value sales Aug 2011.

Learn more about the different grape varieties below:

Chardonnay

Chardonnay produces fruit flavours that vary greatly depending on where it is grown. In cool regions such as Chablis, it's all about green fruits (apple, pear) whereas in warm regions, such as Australia, tropical fruits are more dominant (peach, pineapple).

Sauvignon Blanc

These grapes need a cool climate to develop the strong green fruit and vegetation aromas such as gooseberry, elderflower and asparagus that they are famous for. They produce wines that are very dry and mouth watering with fresh fruity acidity.

Semillon

These grapes produce great sweet wines but the drier styles can be fairly neutral. They are often blended with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc where they provide body and help sustain fruit flavours.

Chenin Blanc

These grapes produce a wide range of wine styles. Young wines will taste of fresh apples and exotic fruit, while the flavours become richer and more rounded and honeyed with age.

Pinot Grigio

This grape produces a light wine with delicate apple aromas and a fairly neutral taste.

Colombard

These wines are fresh, dry and fruity, with grassy character and citrus acidity. It makes an ideal blending partner to the fuller bodied chardonnay.

Carbernet Sauvignon

A well known grape with intense black fruit flavours of blackcurrents and black cherries. This grape produces deep coloured wines with lots of tannins and is often blended with merlot to produce a softer finish.

Merlot

A popular grape with big red and black fruit flavours of raspberries, ripe strawberries, plum and blackberry, giving the wine a softer taste.

Shiraz

This wine produces huge, spicy, peppery wines and is not for the faint hearted.

Pinot Noir

These grapes are difficult to grow but delicious in taste, producing a soft red wine.

Zinfandel

Growing in popularity and full of black and red berry fruits, these grapes produce both red and rosé wines. In red wine, this grape shows characters of black fruit such as blackberry and prune. Rosé wines are often medium sweet, refreshing and taste of strawberries.

Tempranillo

The main grape variety used to produce Spain's most famous wine, Rioja. It produces wines with flavours of strawberries, a hint of spice and vanilla when matured in oak.
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