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Originating from Burgundy in France, Pinot Noir produces deliciously smooth wines that are soft and silky with juicy, red berry flavours and aromas that, with age, develop into delightful gamey and ‘earthy’ notes. This delicate grape variety is notoriously difficult to grow, but climatic conditions mean it thrives in Burgundy, California and Marlborough in New Zealand. Pinot Noir is also a primary grape variety used to produce champagne, often blended with Chardonnay.
Known both as Shiraz and Syrah (Syrah in France and Shiraz in the New World), this thick-skinned black grape produces full-bodied wines with jammy, dark fruit flavours and spicy notes of liquorice and pepper. Grown throughout the world, Shiraz flourishes in hot climates and is most established in Australia, California and the Rhône Valley in France.
Often known as the king of red wine, this thick-skinned black grape variety originates from the Bordeaux region of France. It produces a deeply coloured, full-bodied wine with high tannins, blackcurrant flavours and aromas of cedar and tobacco. It is an excellent match for red meats and cheese.
This is a fantastic red grape variety producing soft and plummy wines that are fruit-forward and easy to drink. Merlot is the most commonly grown grape in France, often used for blending as it brings body and softness to wine. It produces an array of flavours, including plum, raspberry and cherry with leafy and herbaceous notes.
Known as Spain's ‘noble grape’, Tempranillo is renowned for producing full-bodied reds that exude berry flavours, as well as those of plum, tobacco, vanilla, and fresh herbs. Native to Spain, it is the main grape used in the majority Spanish wines, particularly the fine wines of Rioja. Tempranillo wines are a rich ruby red in colour and make great accompaniments to cured meats and tapas.
Frequently grown in Beaujolais and the Loire Valley, this purple-coloured grape dates back as far as the 15th century and tends to product light-bodied, fruity wines. Though it carries deeper floral notes, including lilac and violets, this vibrant variety is known for producing wines with playful raspberry and strawberry aromas. Gamey's light, fresh flavours are often best served lightly chilled.
Originating in Italy, the Sangiovese grape is the most widely planted red variety there today, producing elegant wines with fresh fruit flavours. Young Sangiovese grapes offer flavours of strawberry and notes of spice, but once aged in barrels, Sangiovese wine can take on rich oaky tones. The grape is best known for creating the classic wines of Chianti.
Requiring hot, dry growing conditions, this popular grape variety is widely planted in California, Australia and the South of France, as well as Spain (where it is called Garnacha). Grenache is renowned for being soft on the palate, while delivering a spicy, berry-flavoured bouquet and is usually blended with the likes of Syrah and Tempranillo.
This punchy black grape produces full-bodied wines with plummy flavours and dark, inky colours. An intense fruity grape, it's famously one of the six varieties permitted in the blend of red Bordeaux wine. In recent years Argentina has made this variety its own, with the hot, dry growing conditions coaxing an array of rich fruit flavours from the grapes.
Most famously grown in California, this red grape produces robust wines, dominated by red berry fruit flavours. The taste of the wine will depend on the ripeness of the grapes at the time of harvest and the climate in which they were grown - but will most commonly feature notes of blackberry, raspberry, pepper and anise.