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Wine Selection Guide

Red Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon
("cab bear nay'
so veen yon")

Medium to full-bodied, with currant, cedar, cassis, mint, and berry flavors. Often dense and tannic in its youth and will gain smoothness and complexity with age. Major growing areas include California (Napa & Sonoma) and Bordeaux (Medoc).

("zin' fan del")

Medium to full-bodied, with pepper, blackberry, raspberry, and smokey flavors. Mainly produced in California, it is a versatile grape, mainly used today to produce White Zinfandel (a blush wine) and a full-bodied red wine. Major growing areas are in California.
("ne bee oh' lee oh")
Medium to full-bodied, with earth, spice, tar, and rose petal flavors. Known as the "noble grape" it has high amounts of both tannins and acid which make it tough. Major growing areas are in Italy (Piedmont & Barolo).
Syrah/Shiraz ("seer rah")
Medium to full-bodied with violet, tar smoke, and roasted black fruit flavors. Known as Syrah in the United States and France or Shiraz in Australia, it produces a deep colored wine with firm tannins and aromas. Major growing areas are Australia, California, and France (Northern Rhone - Hermitage & Cote Rotie).
("mehr lo")
Light to medium-bodied, with blackberry, cassis, and plum flavors. Known as a friendlier Cabernet Sauvignon. Lower in tannin and with very accessible fruit and velvety texture, a supple and aromatic. Major growing areas are California (Napa & Sonoma) and Bordeaux (Pomerol & St. Emillon).
Light to medium-bodied, with black cherry, spice tobacco, and earth flavors. Known as a primarily Italian grape used in Chianti wines, it has medium tannins, fruity aromas and flavors. Major growing areas are Italy (Piedmont & Barolo) and California.
Light to medium-bodied with spice, cherry, vanilla, and raspberry flavors. Mainly a Spanish grape, it has deep color, low acidity and only moderate alcohol. Major growing area is Spain (Rioja district).
Pinot Noir
("pee' no nwah")
Light to medium-bodied with cherry, raspberry, spice, and clove flavors. Pinot Noir is a finicky, troublesome enigmatic wine. Relatively high in alcohol, medium to high acidity, and medium to low tannin. Typically used to make wines, however, it is used in making sparkling wines as well. Major growing areas are France (Burgundy & Champagne), California (Carneros), and Oregon.
("greh nosh'")
Light to medium-bodied, with spice, red berry, and white pepper flavors. Spanish in origin, the grape has thrived in warm climates and is primarily grown for blending wine or as a rose. It possesses attractive fruit flavors, color, and soft tannin. Major growing areas are California and France (Rhone - Chateauneuf de Pape and Gigondas).
Gamay Beaujolais ("gam may boh joh lay'")
Light bodied with cherry, raspberry, and candied fruit flavors. Deep in color and relatively low in tannin. The wine known as Valdigue or Napa Gamay, from California, is often categorized as Gamay actually not from the same grape source. Nouveau wines are often made from gamay grapes. Major growing areas are France (Beaujolais).

White Wines
("shar doe nay")
Medium to full-bodied, with citrus, vanilla, melon, and toast flavors. One of the main grapes of Champagne and is commonly used in many sparkling wines. Chardonnay has a range of fruity aromas and flavors and is very compatible with oak aging. Apple flavors dominate Chardonnays from cooler wine regions to tropical fruit, especially pineapple, in warm regions. Main growing areas are California and France; Champagne and Burgundy (Puligny & Chablis).
("vee ohn yay")
Medium to full-bodied, apricot, floral, peach, and mineral flavors. Mainly used in the past as a blending grape of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Main growing area is France (Rhone Valley) and growing amounts in California.
Sauvignon Blanc
("so veen yon blonk")
Medium to light-bodied, with citrus, grass, herbs, hay, and melon flavors. Sauvignon Blanc is relatively high in acidity, great if you like crisp wine. This wine often receives oak aging in California but rarely in Europe. Main growing areas are California, France; Bordeaux and Loirre (Sancerre & Pouilly Fume).
("sem ee yohn")
Medium to light-bodied, with melon, pear, honey, and orange flavors. Mainly used in blending Sauvignon Blanc. Relatively low in acid and has relatively subtle aromas and flavors. Major growing areas are Australia, Bordeaux (Sauternes), South Africa, California, and emerging in Washington State.
Chenin Blanc
("shem in blonk")
Medium to light-bodied with floral, pear, melon, and slate flavors. Often soft and uncomplicated, this wine has relatiely high acidity and a fascinating 'oily' texture. Major growing areas are California, France; Loire (Vouvray & Savennieres), and South Africa. Referred to as "Steen" in South Africa.
Pinot Grigio, Gris, Blanc
("pee no greg ee yo")
("pee no greez")
("pee no blonk")
Medium to light-bodied with floral, slate, earth, and smoke flavors. Pinot is one of several grape varieties called Pinot: Pinot Blanc (white Pinot), Pinot Noir (black Pinot), and Pinot Gris (gray Pinot). Pinot Gris are believed to have mutated from Pinot Noir and produce a slightly colored wine with low acidity and a fairly neutral aroma. Pinot Grigio represents approximately 60% of all Italian white wine consumed. Major growing areas are Oregon, France (Alsace), Germany (Rulander), and Italy.
Light bodied with earth, crisp, and lean flavors. Called Ugni Blanc in France. It is heavily used in Italian wine making. High acidity, low sugar, and a neutral aroma. Major growing area is Italy.
("rees ling")
Medium to full-bodied with floral, petrol, spice, and earth flavors. There are two distinct groups of Rieslings. One is quite dry in style, Alsace Riesling, German Rieslings, and a handful of American Rieslings. The second style is sweet and rich. Rieslings often are used to produce dessert wines. These wines are low alcohol, high acidity, and rich aromas and flavors. Riesling wines are sometimes labeled as White Riesling or Johannisberg Riesling (both synonyms for the Riesling grape). Major growing regions are America; California, Washington, New York (Finger Lakes district), France (Alsace), and Germany; Rhine & Mosel.
("guh vurtz tra mee ner")
Medium to full-bodied with honeysuckle, apricot, pear, spice, and lychee nut flavors. It means "spicy grape from Tramin" in German. It refers to a town that is actually located in a German-speaking part of northern Italy called Terlano. Gewurtztraminer is relatively high in sugar but low in acid. The best selling style in the U.S. is light and sweet. But those in the Alsace region of France and "dry Gewurztraminer" from Washington and Oregon are actually dry. Major growing regions are California, France (Alsace), New York, Washington and Oregon.