What’s in a name? The linguistic nature of wine labels can be discouraging for the avid student. There’s little joy to exploring wines when one knows little of what’s inside or fails to have the resources to find out which grapes are responsible for the deliciousness in the glass. Names such as Bordeaux, Champagne, Rioja, and Chianti are all appellations which produce wines using certain grape varieties. Sometimes the wines are blends of different grapes and other times the wines are produced solely from one variety, and thus are called, “varietal wines”. It all depends upon the rules defining each wine zone.
The following video is a commentary by Andrea Farinetti of Giacomo Borgogno e Figli Winery opining on the grape used to make the famous wines from the Barolo appellation in northwestern Italy.
Below is a list of the more common appellations with their respective grape varieties used for wine production. May this serve as a roadmap as you delve deeper into the splendors of the vine…
Sancerre (Loire Valley, France) – White: Sauvignon Blanc; Red: Pinot Noir
Burgundy (France) – White: Chardonnay; Red: Pinot Noir
Barolo (Piedmont, Italy) – Red: Nebbiolo
Chianti (Tuscany, Italy) – Red: Sangiovese
Rioja (Spain) – White: Viura; Red: Tempranillo
Ribera del Duero (Spain) – Tempranillo
Pouilly-Fume (Loire Valley, France) – White: Sauvignon Blanc
Pouilly-Fuissé (Burgundy, France) – White: Chardonnay
Taurasi (Campania, Italy)– Red: Aglianico
Lujan de Cuyo (Mendoza, Argentina) – Red: Malbec
Champagne (France) – Sparkling: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
Bordeaux (France) – White: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon; Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot
Chablis (Burgundy, France) – White: Chardonnay