RED GRAPE VARIETIES
ALICANTE-ALICANTE BOUCHET – is a red-fleshed grape that must be blended with other varieties. Even though the wine is very intense in color, the wine has very little acid and actually is light in body. A little Alicante in any blend will add some nice color.
BARBERA – is a grape that has a high level of natural acid but low tannins when fully ripe. Its wine can be intense but with medium bouquet and flavor. Blending Barbera with Petite Sirah or other high tannin wines could make a truly great wine.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON – with its remarkable concentration of tannins, pigments and flavor pigments it will produce deeply colored rigorous wines whose bouquet will only improve with age. For a wine that will mature sooner, do some blending with varieties with lower tannins and maybe a little more fruit.
CABERNET FRANC – wine is typically light to medium bodied with more fruit flavors and less tannins than a Cabernet Sauvignon. It will, therefore, mature earlier. It is great for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties.
CARIGNANE – is another variety that should be blended. It has good acidity, tannins, and color but lacks flavor and charm. It is great to blend with stronger flavored varieties like a Syrah or Zinfandel to make a little lighter smoother wine.
CARNELIAN – grape is a variety that was developed from the Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, and Grenache. The wine has some of the characteristics of all these grapes. It produces a fine red wine.
GRENACHE – is used mainly for blending and the making of Rose and Blush Wines in California. If it is blended with a variety that has good color, it can produce a fruity, spicy, medium-bodied wine. The grapes usually have high sugar and Grenache can strengthen a wine with potential low alcohol.
MERLOT – is a medium acid wine that is soft and mild and is easy to drink when it is young. Color can range dark to light red. A great blender for the stronger flavored high acid and high tannin varieties.
MISSION – is the first variety planted in California. It usually has high sugar and low acid. The grape must be blended to attain any color. It is a great grape to help make a sweet wine.
PETIT SIRAH – produces a wine that is long-lived and deep colored with lots of tannin. It is a dry wine that has a very distinctive, recognizable flavor. A little Petit Sirah in any wine will add flavor, body and color to the wine.
PINOT NOIR – produces a fine wine with a pleasant fruitiness that has lower levels of tannin and color. The grapes are so versatile that they are also used to make champagne.
RUBY CABERNET – grapes were developed as a combination of Carignane and Cabernet Sauvignon. It produces a fine varietal wine.
SANGIOVESE or BRUNELLO – grapes form the basis for Chianti wines. The wines have noticeable tannins and acidity with just fair color. The riper grapes produce a wine that has great plum flavors and leathery texture.
SIRAH-SHIRAZ – is a wine that is spicy and leathery with smooth tannins and subtle texture. It can be drunk when it is young or it can be aged. It is a great grape to blend with the Cabernets.
VALDEPINA or TEMPRANILLO – grapes are thick skinned and capable of making a deep colored long lasting wine with low acid. Great to blend with a more flavorful variety.
ZINFANDEL or PRIMITIVO – makes a dry, sturdy vigorous red wine. The wine usually has a great fruity bouquet with medium acid. A blend with Petit Sirah is just excellent. White Zinfandel is made from the low sugared early harvest Zinfandels.