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Grape varieties Australia

 

Varieties of grapes

128 grape varieties

by Toni Paterson Master of Wine

What style of wine is Chenin Blanc? Does Riesling originate from Germany or France? This page gives a quick summary of 128 grape varieties.

Variety
Origin
Comment

Dessert Wine Varieties

Chanel Paradisa

Chile

Research by Richard Smart has revealed that this variety arrived in Australia from the Pacific Island Futuna.  It is grown in tiny quantities and is used to produce sweet wines.

Riesling

Germany

Traditionally used in the great sweet wines of Germany and Alsace. Also widely planted in Austria and Australia.

Sauvignon Blanc

France (Bordeaux)

A significant component of the great sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.

Semillon

France (Bordeaux)

A significant component of the great sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.

Muscadelle

France (Bordeaux)

A minor component of the great sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.

Gewürztraminer

France (Alsace)

A spicy, aromatic variety. Late harvest examples include Vendange Tardive from Alsace.

Furmint

Hungary (Tokaj-Hegyalja)/Austria

A primary variety of the noble sweet wine Tokaji.

Hárslevelü

Hungary (Tokaj-Hegyalja)

A secondary variety of the noble sweet wine Tokaji.

Chenin Blanc

France (Loire Valley)

A classic French variety. The basis of some of the world's greatest and long-living sweet wines.

Muscat Blanc À Petits Grains

Greece

The finest variant of Muscat, famously used in the great Rhone Valley sweet wine Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.

Muscat of Alexandria

Egypt

Widely grown. The variety of Muscat de Rivesaltes, a sweet wine of Rousillon.

Corvina

Italy

A primary component of Italy's famous sweet wine Recioto.

Muscat Ottonel

France (Loire)

Commonly used in the aromatic Muscat wines of Alsace and Austria. Famously used in the botrytised wine of Neusiedlersee.

Fortified Wine Varieties

Port Varieties

Touriga National

Portugal

The most important variety in high quality Port.

Touriga Francesa

Portugal

An important variety for red Port.

Roriz

Spain

Used in the production of red Port.

Tinta Barocca

Portugal

Used in the production of red Port.

Tinta Cão

Portugal

A high quality variety used in the production of Port.

Bastardo

Portugal

An inferior Port variety. Small amounts are grown in a range of wine growing countries including Australia.

Sousão

Portugal

A less known and used red Port variety.

Tinta Amarela

Portugal

A less known and used red Port variety.

Other Fortified Varieties

Palomino

Spain (Andalucia)

The predominant variety used to make Sherry and Sherry styles.

Pedro Ximénes

Spain

Renowned for the production of rich, raison-like fortified wine.

Doradillo

Spain

Predominantly grown in Australia for use in basic fortified wines.

Muscat of Alexandria

Egypt

Renowned for the rich fortified wines of Spain known as Moscatel. Also used under the synonym of Muscat Gordo Blanco to make inexpensive sweet sherry styles in Australia.

Brown Muscat

Greece

A dark skinned form of Muscat Blanc À Petits Grains used to make the rich liqueur muscats of Australia.

Grenache

Spain

Traditionally used for fortified wine production in Australia.

Muscat Ottonel

See sweet wine section.

Sercial

Portugal

Used to make light, dry styles of Madeira.

Verdelho

Portugal

Used to make nutty, medium dry styles of Madeira.

Bual

Portugal

Used to make rich, raison-like styles of Madeira

Malvasia

Greece

Used to make the highly sweet Madeira style known as Malmsey.

Topaque (Tokay)

France (Bordeaux)

Topaque is Australian for Tokay which is a synonym of Muscadelle, used to make the great Liqueur Topaque (Tokay) wines of Australia.

Sparkling Wine Varieties

Chardonnay

France

A principal component of Champagne and many new world sparkling wines.

Pinot Noir

France (Burgundy)

A principal component of Champagne and many new world sparkling wines.

Pinot Meunier

France

An important component of Champagne.

Chenin Blanc

France (Loire)

Used in Loire Valley sparkling wines: Saumur Mousseux and Crémant de Loire

Macabeo

Middle East

A component of the Spanish sparkling wine Cava.

Xarello

Spain (Catalonia)

A component of the Spanish sparkling wine Cava.

Parellada

Spain (Catalonia)

A component of the Spanish sparkling wine Cava.

Ondenc

France

Historically used in sparkling wines at Great Western in Australia.

Muscat Blanc À Petits Grains

Greece

Used to make the perfumed Italian sparkling wines known as Asti.

Mauzac

France

A principal component of Blanquette de Limoux, a sparkling wine of South West France.

Riesling

Germany

A principal component of the German sparkling wine Sekt.

Prosecco

Italy (Veneto)

Used to make Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine.

Red Table Wine Varieties

Aglianico

Italy

A high acid, dark skinned variety with significant plantings in Southern Italy.  Limited plantings exist in Australia and California.

Aleatico

Italy

A very rare, fragrant, dark skinned variety.

Alicante Bouschet

France

A red fleshed, red skinned variety.

Alvarelhão

Portugal

Widely planted throughout Portugal.

Barbera

Italy

Produces light, fresh fruity wines with prominent acidity.

Blaufränkisch

Unknown

Planted in Southern Germany and Austria. Produces medium-bodied red wine.

Cabernet Franc

France (Bordeaux)

A component of Bordeaux blends and Loire Valley reds. It has leafy red-berry characters.

Cabernet Sauvignon

France (Bordeaux)

A principal component of Bordeaux reds. Grown world wide to produce well structured, full bodied red wines.

Carignan

Spain (Aragon)

An inferior red grape variety.

Carmenère

France

Although a traditional Bordeaux variety, Carmenère has risen to prominence and acclaim in Chile

Chambourcin

France

A hybrid variety grown successfully by Cassegrain in NSW, Australia

Cienna

Australia

A new variety developed by the CSIRO through the crossing of Sumoll and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has intense berry flavours.

Cinsault

France

A prolific variety of Southern France.

Concord

America

The most important variety grown outside California in the US, belonging to the American vine species Vitis labrusca.

Corvina

Italy

The predominant variety of the Valpolicella region of Italy

Dolcetto

Italy

Produces soft and fruity wines.

Durif

France

A French variety which is a crossing of Shiraz and the rare variety Peloursin.  Successfully grown in Australia, as well as North and South America.

Flora

California

A hybrid of Gewürztraminer and Semillon.

Gamay

France

Used in the production of Beaujolais

Graciano

Spain

A rich, perfumed grape with deep colour.

Grenache

Spain

Widely grown producing a range of styles from light rose to full bodied reds.

Lagrein

Italy

A soft medium-bodied red from Northern Italy. It is a vigorous variety with only a handful of producers in Australia

Lambrusco

Italy

Used to produce a fruity, effervescent Italian wine.

Malbec

France

A successful varietal in Argentina. Also used in Bordeaux blends.

Malian

Australia

A unique Cabernet variety with bronze/pink grapes that originated in the vineyards of Cleggert Wines in Langhorne Creek, Australia.

Merlot

France (Bordeaux)

Produces wines of great softness and richness. Varietal wines are made worldwide. A key component in Bordeaux.

Mondeuse

Italy

Powerfully flavoured, deeply coloured variety.

Montepulciano

Italy

A deeply coloured red grape widely planted throughout Italy.

Mourvèdre

Spain

Widely planted.

Nebbiolo

Italy (Piedmont)

A powerful Italian black grape variety

Petit Syrah

Various

An ambiguous term for a number of grape varieties.  In Australia, it is the more elegant term for Durif.

Petit Verdot

France (Bordeaux)

A minor component in Bordeaux blends.

Pinotage

South Africa

A hybrid variety widely grown in South Africa.

Pinot Noir

France (Burgundy)

A light skinned, aromatic variety, most famous as the variety of red Burgundy. Successfully grown throughout the new world.

Rondinella

Italy

Used in the production of Valpolicella

Ruby Cabernet

America (California)

A hybrid variety: a Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon cross.

Rubired

America (California)

A hybrid variety, commonly used in blends due to its deep colour.

Sangiovese

Italy (Tuscany)

Widely planted throughout Italy. It is the principal variety used in Chianti

Saperavi

Southern Russia

A cool climate variety grown on two vineyards in North East Victoria.

Shalistan

Australia

A unique 'white cabernet' variety that originated in the vineyards of Cleggett Wines in Langhorne Creek.

Shiraz

France (Rhone)

A powerful and flavoursome variety, highly renowned in the Rhone, as well as Australia.

Tarrango

Australia

A hybrid variety: a Touriga and Sultana cross.

Tannat

Spain

A dark skinned, astringent variety.

Tempranillo

Spain

An important component of Rioja

Terret Noir

France

Grown in Southern France

Teroldego

Italy

A northern Italian variety with intense and expressive berry flavours.

Touriga National

Portugal

Gaining prominence in the Dao region of Portugal for the production of good quality dry red wine.

Trollinger

Germany

Widely planted in Württemberg, Germany. Produces light-bodied, fresh, fruity red wines which are often sweet.

Tyrian

Australia

A new variety developed by the CSIRO through the crossing of Sumoll and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has a deep colour and intense berry/spice characters.

Zinfandel

Italy

Substantial plantings in both California as well as Italy, where it is known as Primitivo.  It produces full-bodied and richly flavoured wines.

White Varieties

Alvarinho

Portugal

Widely grown in Northern Portugal and Spain. Also known as Albarino.

Arneis

Italy

A fresh, lightly scented variety grown in Piedmont.  Small plantings can also be found in Australia and California.  Pear flavours are often seen.

Chardonnay

France

\Widely grown throughout the world. Prized for its generous flavours and weighty mid palate.

Chasselas

Unknown

Widely planted around the world. Good quality wines produced in Switzerland.

Chenin Blanc

France (Loire)

Widely planted throughout the world, including the Loire Valley and South Africa.

Clairette

France

An old fashioned variety grown throughout France

Colombard

France

Widely grown in California and Australia.

Crouchen

France

A neutral variety

Doradillo

Spain

A neutral variety grown in Australia

Frontignac

Greece

The Australian synonym for Muscat Blanc À Petits Grains. Produces highly fragrant, delicate white wines.

Furmint

Hungary (Tokaj-Hegyalja)/Austria

Planted throughout Hungary, Austria and Slovenia

Garganega

Italy

Widely planted throughout Italy. The principal grape used in the production of Soave.

Gewürtztraminer

France (Alsace)

Produces highly fragrant and spicy wines.

Hárslevelü

Hungary (Tokaj-Hegyalja)

Planted throughout Hungary

Grüner Veltliner

Unknown

The most commonly planted variety in Austria

Kerner

Unknown

A Trollinger x Riesling cross. Produces delicately perfumed, leafy wines that are similar in style to Riesling. Substantial plantings in Germany.

Macabeo

Middle East

Planted throughout Spain and France

Marsanne

France (Rhone)

Most popular in the Rhone Valley in France. Also grown in California and Australia.

Mauzac

France

An important grape variety in South West France.

Melon

France (Burgundy)

Renowned for the production of Muscadet.

Müller-Thurgau

Germany

A mediocre German hybrid

Muscadelle

France (Bordeaux)

An aromatic variety.

Muscat Blanc À Petits Grains

The commonly used synonym in Australia for white wines in Frontignac.

Muscat of Alexandria

Egypt

An inferior variety of Muscat

Negroamaro

Greece

A fragrant dark skinned variety.  Significant plantings are found in Southern Italy.

Orange Muscat

Syria

Small amounts planted in California and Australia.

Petit Manseng

France (Pyrennes)

Thick skinned variety producing a semi-sweet wine.

Picolit

Italy (Friuli region)

Used to make sweet white wine.

Pinot Blanc

France (Burgundy)

Widely planted throughout Alsace

Pinot Gris

France

A delicately perfumed variety. Widely planted.

Riesling

Germany

A noble white variety producing some of the world's greatest wines.

Rousanne

France (Rhone Valley)

Widely grown throughout the Rhone Valley, France.

Sauvignon Blanc

France (Bordeaux)

A highly aromatic variety

Semillon

France (Bordeaux)

Widely grown throughout Bordeaux and Australia

Siegerrebe

Germany

A Madeleine-Angevine/ Gewürtztraminer cross. Widely grown in Germany.

Sultana

Eastern Mediterranean

A neutral variety

Sylvaner

Austria

A neutral variety

Taminga

Australia

A neutral variety

Trebbiano

Italy

A neutral variety

Tocai Friulano

Unknown

Widely planted in the Friuli region of Italy

Verdelho

Portugal

Produces a full flavoured, spicy wine

Verdicchio

Italy

A classic Italian white grape variety

Vermentino

Unknown

A faintly aromatic white grown in significant quantities in both Italy and France.  Scattered vineyards can be found in Australia and California.

Villard Blanc

France

A French hybrid. It is part of the Seyve Villard
group of hybrids. Known to have a bitter taste.

Viognier

France (Rhone Valley)

A full flavoured, aromatic white grape variety

Welschriesling

Unknown

Widely planted in Austria.

© Toni Paterson 2008