With strong flavor in grassy, mixed fruit flavors of black currant and mulberry, the main function of this light wine is to reconcile the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, though the world-famous Chateau Cheval Blanc are mainly grown with Cabernet Franc. Low temperature and moist soil areas suit more for the growth of Cabernet Franc. Mediterranean climate suit Cabernet Sauvignon to grow, while Cabernet Franc grows better in continental climate.
In France, Cabernet Franc is mainly found in the Loire Valley, Bordeaux Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. Others, such as the northeast of Italy and the north shore of California, Cabernet Franc is also widely planted.
In the world of red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular grape variety. Its skin is thick and the fruit is small. It can resist general mold and disease. With easy cultivation, it is suitable for planting in well-drained gravel soil. Diverse flavor and taste can be generated after aging. Since the tannin of the thick-skinned blue-black Cabernet Sauvignon is too strong, therefore other grapes, such as Merlot, must be used to neutralize the strong dryness. Experienced winemakers will adjust the proportion of grape varieties accordingly depending on the weather of the year. Wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon has the aroma of blackcurrant and blackberry. After being cultured in oak barrels, vanilla, cedar and smoked flavor are developed, resulting the aroma and mouth become more complex.
Cabernet Sauvignon is vastly grown in Bordeaux of France and many famous wines are made from it. Many wine farmers in Southern France are starting to replace old conventional grape varieties by Cabernet Sauvignon. Many New World wine regions are exercising this cultivating method, and Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California is the most highly recognized for their exceptional quality.
Northern Rhone Valley in France is the home and also the best place to plant Syrah. Syrah is suitable for mild climate and performs the best on the hillside of igneous rock. The dark red wine grown is full-bodied, rich and varied. It yields a powerful, deep-colored wine with an intense nose of violets and black berries when it is young. As it ages, it develops a hint of pepper, tar and leather, forming a well-structured and rich taste with strong tannin, which is a strong antioxidant with age potential. Long-term cultivation in oak barrels before consuming is necessary for Syrah to develop its sophisticated taste and complexity.
Besides France, Australia is the most important region to produce Syrah grape. Cote Rotie and L'Hermitage are two of the most famous wine regions in the world, comparable to the high-end Bordeaux wine.
Originating from Bordeaux of France, Merlot is the most widely planted grape varieties in Bordeaux with early-ripe and high yield. Compared with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is famous for its aroma of fruit. With high alcohol content and supple tannin texture, the mouth feel of Merlot is rounded and thick, with low acidity as well. Although with good aging potential, wine grown from Merlot always reaches the drinking period sooner compared with that made from Cabernet Sauvignon.
In Bordeaux, Pomerol and Saint-Emilion are in cooler climate than Medoc. They are suitable for the growth of Merlot. In these regions, Merlot is usually blended with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in order to strengthen the sense of balance and enrich the aroma.
Originating from Burgundy of France, Pinot Noir is the only grape varieties in the region. It is an early-ripe type with low and unstable yield. Pinot Noir suits colder climates, and has the best performance in lime clay. Since it requires more requirements for planting environment, therefore Pinot Noir is not as common as Cabernet Sauvignon. Although the color is not deep, Pinot Noir is well- structured and rich in palate when grown under good condition. It is very suitable for aging. The wine has aroma of red fruits such as raspberry and cherry at young age. After aging, the flavor will change to a wide range of animal, cherry wine and truffles.
Besides red wine, Pinot Noir is also suitable for producing white and Rose sparkling, making it one of the most important varieties of the Champagne region. When blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, wine made from Pinot Noir is generally rich with high aging potential compared with other grape varieties.
Zinfandel is grown in California, USA with the largest planting area. It is mainly used for the production of general dinner wine, sweet wine and sparkling wine. However, if planted in the cooler gravel hillside with maceration for a long time, Zinfandel can produce high quality wine that is suitable for long-term aging. Typical Zinfandel wine has a high percentage of alcohol along with the aroma of rich fruit, flower and spices.
Wine made from Zinfandel is with rich fragrance, often with flavor of black and red berry. All in all, Zinfandel wine is one of the most aromatic red wines.
Originating from Burgundy, Chardonnay is the world's most popular early-ripe variety wine grape. It is easy to grow because it is suitable for different climates in combination with its high yield and stable characteristics. Chardonnay is the most suitable variety of oak barrels’ cultivation. The wine grown is rich in flavor, round in palate, and even goes richer and full-bodied after aging. Dry white wine and sparkling wine are mainly produced from Chardonnay. The characteristics of Chardonnay change with the variable environment. In cold region, such as the Champagne, the wine produced is in high acidity but low alcoholicity, resulting in aroma of green apples; in warm region, such as Napa Valley, the taste is suppler, resulting in aroma of tropical fruits. The Champagne region in France is the most well-known for producing sparkling wine grown by Chardonnay.
Riesling is the most superb and delicate grape variety in Germany and Alsace. It is a late-ripe type that is suitable for continental climate by planting on the hillside towards the sun and sandy clay as well. Riesling has the highest yield compared to the other famous grape varieties. With the distinctive characteristics, Riesling is with elegant aroma of flower, mixed with the fragrance of plants, and often accompanied by honey and mineral aromas. The high acidity often can be balanced with the sweetness of the wine. The wine grown is rich, detailed, balanced, and very suitable to age.
Originating from the Bordeaux region, Sauvignon Blanc grows well with mild climate and lime soil. It is mainly used to produce dry white wine suitable for consuming at a young age, or noble rot sweet wine is grown when blended with Semillon. Wine produced from sauvignon Blanc is sour, spicy, with full-bodied with a unique flavor. It is easy to identify with the flavors of green apple and currant. In lime soil region, the wine grown from it is commonly recognized with flavor of flint and white fruit. When compared with other fine varieties, Sauvignon Blanc appears to lack sophistication and complexity.
Originating from Bordeaux, Semillon is planted the most in Chile, followed by France. It is suitable for growing under mild climate with large output. The size of the fruit is relatively small with high sugar content and tends to oxidize easily. Compared to other varieties, the characteristics of dry white wine produced from Semillon is not very bold. The wine is with pale taste, but thick in palate. Because of low acidity, it is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to fill the deficiency, suitable for drinking when young. In some producing areas, the wine is enriched by oak barrel’s fermentation.
The production of noble rot sweet wine is well-known. Grape skin of Semillon is suitable for the growth of mold Botrytis cinerea. These bacteria not only absorb moisture in the grapes and enrich sugar content of the grape, but also increase the acidity of the wine because of the chemical reaction on the grape skin. As a result, extremely rich flavor such as honey and candied fruit can be produced.
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