Wine grape varieties : types and particularities

Published : 2023-08-30 09:35:33
Categories : Wine

Wine grape varieties : types and particularities

Wine, this age-old beverage, is the fruit of a complex alchemy between earth, climate and human skills. At the heart of this alchemy is the diversity of vines and their varieties of grapes used to produce wine. But what are these grape varieties and how to distinguish them ? Let’s dive into the fascinating universe of wine grape varieties.

What are the different types of wine grape varieties ?

Wine is much more than just a drink; it's a symphony of flavors, aromas and colors that tells the story of a region, a terroir and a know-how.

At the heart of this symphony are the grape varieties, which, depending on their nature and origin, give rise to an incredible diversity of wines. Different grape varieties, such as red, black, rosé or white, offer a rich palette of flavors and aromas that shape the unique identity of each wine.

Red varieties :

The world of red wine is vast and diverse. Among the most emblematic varieties are Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Cabernet Sauvignon originates from Bordeaux and is famous for its robustness and capacity to age beautifully. It produces wines with aromas of black berries, green pepper and sometimes cedar. Merlot is also from Bordeaux, but it is softer and fruitier with notes of prunes, cherries and chocolate. Pinot Noir is a temperamental and delicate variety from Bourgogne, it produces elegant wines with nuances of red berries, soil and rose.


Black varieties :

Although their names may be confusing, the black varieties are not necessarily used to produce red wines. Black grenache for example, is a mediterranean variety which produces fruity, spicy and often alcoholic wines. Mourvèdre is another black variety but originates from Spain, though it is perfectly acclimated to other regions such as Provence in France. It is known for its notes of black berries, leather and spices.


Rosé varieties :

Rosé wine is often considered as the perfect companion for sunny days. But behind its delicate color is hidden a wide range of grape varieties. For example, Grenache is often used for its capacity to produce fruity and refreshing wines. Cinsault and its floral, spicy notes, is another popular variety for rosé wines. Syrah, with its aromas of red berries and pepper, may be used alone or as part of a blend to give body and complexity to rosé wine.


White varieties :

White wines, with their color palettes which vary from pale green to golden yellow, are produced from a wide range of grape varieties. Chardonnay is one of the most popular white varieties in the world, appreciated for its versatility. It can produce light and citrusy wines or stronger ones with notes of apple, pear and vanilla. White Sauvignon is another staple white variety, with aromas of redcurrant, cut grass and sometimes passion fruit. Chenin, which originated from Loire in France, is famous for its capacity to produce sweet to dry wine with notes of green apple, quince and honey.


How to distinguish different varieties ?

Identifying grape varieties goes beyond the simple wine color. Each variety has its own particularities which influence the taste, aroma and texture of the wine.

  •        Flavor : The grape varieties bring specific notes to the wine. For example, a wine produced from Merlot will most likely have notes of red berries, whereas a Chardonnay may offer aromas of apple or pear.
  •        Wine : The wine texture and structure are also influenced by the grape variety. Some varieties produce tannic and full-bodied wines, and others produce lighter and fruitier wines.
  •        Region : The grape varieties are often associated with specific winemaking regions. For example, Pinot Noir is emblematic of Bourgogne, and Tempranillo is typical of Rioja in Spain.


Grape varieties are the heart of the magic of wine production. Not only do they determine the color but also the flavor, aroma and texture of wine. Understanding grape varieties is understanding wine itself, and appreciating the richness and diversity it has to offer. The next time you will enjoy a glass of wine, take a moment to think about the variety which is hiding underneath, and the story it tells.