Chardonnay (SHAR-doe-nay):The world's most popular dry white;
medium-to full-bodied, with rich apple and citrus flavors and sometimes buttery tone from fermentation and aging
in oak barrels; a good choice for simply prepared seafood and poultry
Sauvignon Blanc (SO-vin-yawn BLONK): Generally lighter than
Chardonnay, with bright melon and citrus aromas and a herbal character
suggesting bell pepper or freshly mown grass; a versatile food wine for
shellfish, lighter fish and chicken dishes, pasta with pesto and Caesar
A light bodied wine of German origin with flowery aromas of honeysuckle, apples, and peaches; Rieslings
range from slightly to very sweet and can be either table or dessert wines. Drier versions go well with
chicken and pork dishes, as well as spicy foods.
Another aromatic variety of German origin with aromas of rose petals, peaches, grapefruit, lychees, and
allspice, and full, fruity, spicy flavors ideal with Asian food, ham, pork, and grilled sausages.
Chenin Blanc (SHEN-in Blonk):
A relatively light, fruity variety with melon, apple, and peach/apricot aromas and flavors; used to be
more popular than it is today; a nice wine by itself or with casual meals (salads, sandwiches, etc.)
A very flowery dessert-style wine, with floral and peach/apricot aromas and flavors; great with desserts
of fresh fruit or fruit/nut tarts.
Cabernet Sauvignon (CA-burr-nay SO-vin-yawn):
The king of red wines; makes the great red Bordeaux wines of France, and among the finest reds in
California, Chile and Australia; full-bodied with rich currant flavors, but can be somewhat rough (tannic)
when young; best with simply prepared beef and lamb dishes.
Similar to Cabernet, but softer and fruitier, with cherrylike flavors and hints of tobacco and mint; the
current fab-rave among novice wine consumer, because it's easy both to drink and pronounce.
Pinot Noir (PEE-know Na-WAHR):
Makes the great reds of Burgundy in France, and good wines from California and Oregon; more delicate than
Cabernet or Merlot, with strawberry and tea-leaf aromas and flavors;
excellent with grilled salmon, roast chicken and grilled lamb.
California's native red (nobody's figured out where it came from) and perhaps the world's most versatile
wine grape, making everything from blush wine (White Zinfandel) to light,
Beaujolais-style reds, rich, heavy reds, and
even ports; has a zesty berryish flavor perfect for tomato based pastas, pizza, and grilled and
A hearty, spicy red that excels in France's Rhone Valley, California and Australia; wonderfully wild
black-fruit aromas and flavors with overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat; great with steak,
beef, wild game, stews, etc.
The grape that produces the fine reds of Italy's Chianti region and, of late, good wines from California;
the primary style is medium-bodied with fresh berry and plum flavors and a hint of dried flowers; a good
choice for Italian and other Mediterranean-style cuisines.
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