Grape guide

Your no-nonsense guide to 25 common grapes, and the wines they make - with suggestions of great food matches.

Red wine

Red wine in glasses

Barbera
Can be cheap and cheerful or rich and complex – a good all rounder

Cabernet Sauvignon
A global classic – perhaps the most noble of the noble great varieties

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Gamay
The grape behind Beaujolais – perfect summer drinking

Grenache
The flavour of summer holidays

Malbec
An increasingly popular grape after falling out of favour in recent years

Merlot
Produces hugely popular, easy to drink wines – perfect for a Friday night in

Nebbiolo
The James Dean of the Italian wine industry

Negroamaro
A regional speciality that’s gaining international fame

Pinot Noir
A worldwide charmer, hard to grow but can produce wine of exceptional quality

Pinotage
South Africa’s unique grape, created in 1925

Sangiovese
The basis of Tuscany’s Chianti wine

Syrah / Shiraz
One of the international celebrities on the grape scene

Tempranillo
The most popular of Spanish red grapes

Zinfandel
A grape with a long history that produces dark, plummy wines

White wine

White wine in glass

Albariño
Spain’s seafood white – drink it young, fresh and cold

Chardonnay
One of the few grape varieties that’s become more famous than the wines made from it

Chenin Blanc
Could easily be classified as one of the great ‘noble’ grapes – find out about this grape’s range

Colombard
An easy-to-grow stalwart of the supermarket bracket – the wine blender’s favourite

Gewürztraminer
The wine student’s favourite – packed with exotic aromas

Muscat
A grape with a long history – it actually tastes and smells of grapes

Pinot Gris
A grape that produces delicately floral wines

Riesling
The wine writer’s favourite – this grape has capacity to produce great wines across the world

Sauvignon Blanc
Produces mouthwatering and fresh wines in a global charm offensive

Semillon
A chameleon grape and great mixer

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Viognier
One of the great success stories of recent times