- Cabernet Sauvignon -
Regions: Bordeaux (France), Australia, California, Washington, Chile, Italy
Aromas & Flavors: Black Currants, green peppers, chocolate and spice
Tannin: moderate to prominent
Body: Moderate to full
Major mixing partners: Sangiovese(Tuscany), Merlot( Bordeaux), Shiraz (Australia)
- Typical tasting comments on young Cabernets usually praise the black currant, bell pepper, chocolate, and spice flavors. With its forthright fruit flavors, Cabernet Sauvignon benefits from contact with new oak, which lends balance and further complexity.
- Chardonnay -
Regions: Burgundy(France), California, Oregon, Washington, Australia, South Africa
Aromas & Flavors: varies greatly by region; peas, vanilla, tropical fruits, toast, and nuts
Acidity: moderate to high
Body: light to moderate
Major mixing partners: Semillon (Australia)
- Chardonnay is the most popular and most versatile white grape in the world. Chardonnay grapes are used to make the austere, bone-dry wines of France's chablis subregion; they are truly great seafood wines. Chardonnay is a crucial component of Champagne and the sole grape in the premium Champagne labeled Blanc de Blancs. Because Chardonnay has such a range of styles, one needs to consider the type of Chardonnay when trying to find the right wine for a meal . Chablis is best for seafood, especially shellfish. California cuisine comes into play if you want a fruitier Chardonnay.
- Merlot -
Regions: Bordeaux (France), California, Washington, Australia, Chile
Aromas & Flavors: plums, blueberries, and cherries
Tannin: low to moderate
Major mixing partners: Cabernet Sauvignon(Bordeaux)
- Merlot is a distant relative of cabernet sauvignon. The biggest difference is that the skin of the merlot grape is thinner than that of cabernet sauvignon; therefore, Merlot is the earlier ripening and less tannic of the two. Merlot has a reputation for making soft, round and drinkable wines with low acidity and generous fruit flavors of plum, blueberry, and cherry along with a pleasantly chalky texture.
- Pinot Grigio -
Regions: Italy, Alsace(France), Oregon, California
Aromas & Flavors: somewhat muted, minerals, pine, orange rind
Acidity: medium (generally higher in Europe)
Body: Medium (generally heavier in the U.S.)
Major mixing partners: None
- Because it doesn't have prominent fruit flavors, Pinot Grigio is relatively easy to match with food. The drier, more acidic versions are excellent with seafood, whereas the fuller-bodied versions can accompany chicken and pasta dishes, as well.
- Sauvignon Blanc -
Regions: Bordeaux(France, Loire (France), California, Washington, South Africa
Aromas & Flavors: Cut grass, herbs, lemon
Major mixing partners: Semillon (Bordeaux)
- Sauvignon Blanc will be very acidic which makes it a great pairing for seafood. "Grassy" and "herbaceous" are common descriptions of Sauvignon Blanc's fruit components.
- Syrah/Shiraz -
Regions: Rhone (France), Australia, California
Aromas & Flavors: Prunes, Spices, and berries
Acidity: Low to moderate
Tannin: Moderate to prominent
Major mixing partners: Grenache (Rhone) & Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)
- The syrah grape known as Shiraz in Australia and South Africa is a noble grape variety held in high esteem by many red wine lovers. The subtle spiciness in its aroma, often a combination of cinnamon, rose petals, and orange rind, complements flavors of raspberry and black pepper.
- Zinfandel -
Aromas & Flavors: Blackberry jam and black pepper
Acidity: Low to moderate
Tannin: Moderate, can be substantial in some versions
Body: Medium to full
Major mixing partners: Often blended, but rarely credited (California)
- The key to good white zinfdandel lies in the color. While many of the palest pink versions are rather bland, the darker versions tend to have more fruit flavors. Zinfandel is a good match with roasted lamb and other Mediterranean dishes, even hearty vegetable dishes. Zinfandel stands up well to garlic and powerful seasonings.
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