Learn More About Wine

There are over 10,000 documented varieties within species Vitis vinifera. Of these, on a commercial scale, primarily three are used for raisin production and less than a dozen for table grapes, while about 230 have some prominence in the world of fine wines. The wine consuming public, however, tends to focus on only a hand full of these.

Chardonnay tends to have broad base and rich depth of fruit (green apple/peach/melon) before being influenced by oak and a higher alcohol level than most wines. Also tends to take oak well, which is unusual for white wines, and to age well. Produces French white Burgundy and perhaps the most popular wines.

Chenin Blanc is the major grape planted in the French Loire Valley and is a light, well balanced wine. It has a fresh, delicate floral characteristic.

Riesling is a cool climate grape that offers a range from steely to voluptuous, always positively perfumed, and with ageing potential far beyond any Chardonnay. Germany is the great Riesling producer. Also grown in South Australia, Alsace, Pacific Northwest, Ontario, California and South Africa.

Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc is a component of the French dessert wine, Sauternes and the white wines of Bordeaux. Sauvignon Blanc (also known as Fume Blanc) is best know for its grassy, herbal flavour and is very popular with fish and shellfish.

Semillon is one of the major varieties grown in Bordeaux. It can often have a grassy (or herbaceous) note, but also may have notes of ripe figs. It is a component of Sauternes and the white wines of Bordeaux.

Gewurztraminer has a floral smell and is often drunk with spicy foods. Gewurztraminer also makes a good 'late harvest' sweet dessert wine. More common in Alsace, Italy, and the United States than in Germany and many 'experts' say Alsace makes the best.