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72 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Albariño - (Ahl-ba-REE-n'yo)
Spanish white-wine grape from Galicia.
Aleatico - (Ah-lay-AH-tee-co)
Red grape used for an Italian red wine, also found in California.
Alicante Bouschet - (Ah-lee-KAHNT Boo-SHAY)
Red-wine grape of Southern France and California's Central Valley, usually used in hearty jug wines.
Alicante Bouschet - (Ah-lee-KAHNT Boo-SHAY)
Red-wine grape of Southern France and California's Central Valley, usually used in hearty jug wines.
Aligoté - (Ah-lee-go-tay)
Burgundian white-wine grape, considered unimpressive but may turn up in modest white Burgundy of good value.
Barbera - (Bar-BARE-ah)
Grape used to make hearty red wines in the Piemonte of Northwestern Italy, also California.
Cabernet Franc - (Cab-air-nay FrahN)
French red wine grape, often used in a Bordeaux blend, also in the Loire and California. Probably best blended, but increasingly trendy as a varietal, in which blueberry aromas are often descriptive.
Cabernet Sauvignon - (Cab-air-nay So-veen-yawN)
One of the noblest red wine grapes, used in Bordeaux, also as either a 100 percent varietal or in red blends in the U.S., Australia, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and wherever wine grapes grow.
Carignan - (Cah-reen-yawN)
Red grape from Southern France, once lightly regarded, but coming into its own with the emergence of quality wines from Languedoc. Red-fruit character, sometimes peppery like Syrah.
Chambourcin - (Sham-boor-saN)
One of the more palatable red French-American hybrid wine grapes, widely used for making table wines in Eastern U.S. regions where vitis vinifera grapes don't thrive.
Chancellor - (CHAN-suh-ler)
Another French-hybrid grape used to make hearty red wines in the Eastern U.S.
Charbono - (Shar-BOE-noe)
Italian-style grape used to make a simple, robust red wine in California.
Chardonnay - (Shar-doe-nay)
One of the world's most well-known white wine grapes. Originated in Burgundy, where many argue that it still reaches its pinnacle, but widely planted in the U.S., Australia and all over the world. In modern times, "Chardonnay" has become almost synonymous in the mass market with a generic "glass of white wine." Apple and green-apple aromas are the classic descriptor, although tropical fruit and pineapple show up commonly, especially in American and Australian Chardonnays, and when aged in oak -- as New World Chardonnays often are -- it may add the vanilla, spice and tropical fruit flavors typical of oak.
Chasselas - (Shah-s'lah)
White wine grape best known in dry Swiss whites.
Chelois - (Shel-wah)
French-hybrid grape used in Eastern U.S. wines, makes a rather light and fruity red.
Chenin Blanc - (Shay-naN BlaN)
Noble French grape, most common in the Loire, making very fine white wines both dry and slightly sweet. Also found in California and elsewhere, though it rarely reaches the same heights as in the Loire. Variable in the glass, although pleasant honeydew, persian and cantaloupe melon flavors and light muskiness are common.
Cinsaut - (SaN-so)
dark red French grape, sometimes spelled "Cinsault." Most common in Languedoc, also a parent (with Pinot Noir) in the South African grape crossing called "Pinotage."
Concord - (CAHN-curd)
American native grape (vitis labrusca) used in making old-fashioned country-style red wines with the "Welch's Grape Jelly" aroma and flavor that wine tasters call "foxy."
Dolcetto - (Dohl-CHET-toe)
Tasty red-wine grape of the Piemonte in Northwestern Italy, making a delightful wine that's usually light and fruity, but not sweet as the name (literally "little sweet one") might suggest.
French Colombard - (Cole-um-bar)
Productive white-wine grape used primarily in California's Central Valley to make cheap, neutral jug wines.
Fumé Blanc - (Foo-may BlahN)
U.S. synonym for Sauvignon Blanc, invented by Robert Mondavi during the 1970s as a marketing ploy and widely imitated. Originally denoted a dry style, but any past distinction between Fumé and Sauvignon is lost.
Furmint - (FOOR-mint)
Hungarian white-wine grape, used to make the renowned dessert wine Tokay (which see).
Gamay - (Gam-may)
Red-wine grape of Beaujolais, a light, fresh and fruity red wine from the region of the same name in Southern Burgundy, France. Source of some confusion, as the grape grown in California as "Gamay Beaujolais" is actually a clone of Pinot Noir, while the California grape known as "Napa Gamay" is probably Valdiguié.
Garnacha - (Gahr-NAH-cha)
Spanish for "Grenache," a red-wine grape.
Gewürztraminer - (Geh-VERTZ-trah-mee-nur)
White wine grape best-known in Alsace, Germany, the U.S. West Coast and New York; the tongue-twisting name has been jokingly suggested as a good one to use in field sobriety testing. Highly aromatic, makes wines (often off-dry to sweet, though less so in Alsace) with much concentration, although the alleged "spice" (literal translation of the German "Gewurz") may be hard to find.
Grenache - (Gray-NAHSH)
Red-wine grape commonplace in Languedoc and the Rhone, also California and, as Garnacha, in Spain. Typically makes hearty, peppery wines.
Gruner Veltliner - (GREW-ner Felt-LEE-ner)
Excellent Austrian grape, producing light but crisp and racy dry white wines.
Malbec - (Mahl-bek)
Malvasia - (Mahl-va-SEE-ah)
Italian white-wine grape, often blended with other grapes (including the traditional Chianti), occasionally seen as a 100 percent varietal.
Marechal Foch - (Mah-reh-shal Fosh)
French-hybrid grape used to make red wines in the Eastern U.S.
Marsanne - (Mahr-sahn)
Excellent white-wine grape of the Rhone, increasingly planted in California.
Mataro - (Mah-TAH-roe)
Spanish name for Mourvèdre, which see.
Mavrodaphne - (Mahv-roe-DAHF-nee)
Greek red-wine grape usually used in a sweet, strongly fortified dessert wine that can represent very good value.
Merlot - (Mare-low)
Very good red-wine grape, a key player in the Bordeaux blend, more recently grown as a varietal in its own right, especially in California and, increasingly, Washington State. Because it makes a smooth and mellow red wine, it has become an "entry" wine for new red-wine drinkers, especially those inspired by recent publicity about red wine's purported benefits for cardiovascular health. Accordingly, in recent years, for many people, "a glass of Merlot" has become all but synonymous with "a glass of red wine." Black-cherry and herbal flavors are typical.
Mourvèdre - (Moor-VED'rr)
Red grape commonplace in Southern France, Languedoc and the Rhone, also Spain (where it is known as Mataro) and, increasingly, California. Rich in color and extract, it often imparts earthy aromas to the wine; one common descriptor is "tree bark."
Muscadet - (Moos-cah-day)
A light, dry Loire white wine made from a grape of the same name (alternatively named Melon "May-lawN"), sometimes showing a light musky or cantaloupe quality.
Muscat - (Moos-caht)
Aromatic, ancient grape, considered by some to be an ancient ancestor of most other vitis vinifera grapes; makes wines, often sweet and always fruity, with a characteristic grapefruity and musky (as the name implies) aroma.
Müller-Thurgau - (MEW-lehr Toor-gow)
Relatively modern grape, perhaps a Riesling-Sylvaner cross, widely planted in Germany although it tends to make a simpler, lighter wine than Riesling. Also a mainstay of England's small vineyard industry.
Nebbiolo - (Nay-BYOH-low)
Noble grape of Northwestern Italy's Piedmonte region, source of such powerful and ageworthy red wines as Barolo, Barbaresco and Gattinara. Typical aroma and flavor descriptors include "violets" and "tar" and intense black fruit.
Optima - (OP-tee-mah)
Modern German grape, a Sylvaner x Riesling x Müller-Thurgau cross. Primarily a blending grape but turns up occasionally as a varietal.
Perequita - (Pay-reh-KEE-tah)
Portuguese grape, produces hearty, robust dry reds.
Petit Verdot - (Peh-tee Vehr-doe)
Petite Sirah - (Peh-teet See-rah)
California red grape, probably the same as the Durif of the Rhone. Makes an inky-dark red wine that can last forever, but typically one-dimensional in flavor, with the warm, plummy notes typical of grapes grown in a warm climate.
Pinot Blanc - (Pee-noe BlahN)
White wine grape, making a dry, full white wine that some liken to Chardonnay, but typically medium in body and sometimes showing melon scents.
Pinot Grigio - (Pee-noe Gree-joe)
French and Italian names, respectively, for the same grape, typically making a dry and very crisp and acidic white wine, often with a light musky aroma, well-suited to accompany seafood and fish. Common in Alsace, Northeastern Italy, and increasingly Oregon, where it takes the French name.
Pinot Gris - (Pee-noe Gree)
French and Italian names, respectively, for the same grape, typically making a dry and very crisp and acidic white wine, often with a light musky aroma, well-suited to accompany seafood and fish. Common in Alsace, Northeastern Italy, and increasingly Oregon, where it takes the French name.
Pinot Meunier - (Pee-noe Mehr-n'yay)
Relatively uncommon as a varietal, but frequently used in the Champagne blend.
Pinot Noir - (Pee-noe Nwahr)
Classic red grape, widely acceptes as one of the world's best. Burgundy is its home, and it has proven difficult to grow and vinify well elsewhere, but California and Oregon increasingly hit the mark (albeit with usually a somewhat different style), and wine makers in many other parts of the world are still trying. At its peak, it makes wines of incredible complexity, difficult to describe (although cherries and "earthy" qualities are typical), known as much for its "velvety" texture as its flavor.
Pinotage - (Pee-noe-tahj)
A cross between Pinot Noir x Cinsaut of the Rhone, grown commercially only in South Africa, where it makes a fruity, dark red wine with an odd earthy character often described as "paintbox."
Riesling - (REESE-ling)
Roussanne - (Roo-sahn)
White Rhone grape, often grown with and blended with Marsanne, but somewhat supplanting the latter for economic reasons -- it is considered more productive and easier to grow.
Sangiovese - (Sahn-joe-VAY-zeh)
The predominant red-wine grape of Tuscany in Central Italy, primary player in the Chianti blend; also sometimes used as a varietal there and in California. Makes a hearty, dry red with flavors of black cherries, often with a characteristic orange glint in the color.
Sauvignon Blanc - (So-veen-yawn BlahN)
Noble white grape, native to the Loire and Bordeaux (where it is usually blended with Semillon); also widely planted in the Western U.S., South America, Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere. The wine comes in many styles, depending largely on canopy management or leaf pruning (shaded grapes make a "green," "grassy" style while grapes exposed to sunlight make a characteristically citric style) and whether the wine maker chooses to age the wine in oak. One of my favorite white varietals and, in my opinion, preferable to Chardonnay as a table wine with meals.
Scheurebe - (SHOY-ray-beh)
Modern German grape, a Riesling x Sylvaner cross, still rather uncommon but seen increasingly in sweeter, late-harvest wines from the Rhine. The better examples resemble Riesling, with a raisiny fruitiness.
Sémillon - (Say-mee-yoN)
White wine grape, native to Bordeaux and used there primarily in a blend with Sauvignon Blanc; increasingly seen as a varietal in the U.S. and Australia, where it makes a soft, medium-bodied, sometimes pleasantly musky white wine.
Seyval Blanc - (Say-vahl BlahN)
French-hybrid grape so widely used to make white wines in the Eastern U.S. that it's sometimes jokingly called "Indiana (or fill in your state of preference) Chardonnay." It makes a dry, crisp white wine that's often aged in oak to enhance its otherwise rather neutral "vinous" flavor.
Shiraz - (Shee-rahz)
Australian synonym for Syrah, now also turning up on occasion in South Africa.
Sylvaner - (Sill-VAH-ner)
German grape (sometimes spelled Silvaner there), considered secondary to Riesling in quality but planted widely as a blending grape. Vinified as a varietal, it makes a light, fruity quaffing wine.
Syrah - (See-rah)
The classic Rhone red grape allegedly brought back from Shiraz in Persia by the 14th-Century crusader Gaspard de Sterimberg. Blended in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and standing alone in Hermitage, Cote-Rotie and other Rhone reds, it makes tannic, ageworthy wines easily identified by a very characteristic floral black-pepper fragrance.
Tempranillo - (Temp-rah-NEEL-yo)
Excellent Spanish red-wine grape. Like Nebbiolo and Sangiovese in Italy, it historically takes a second place to Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir in the world "noble grape" sweepstakes but probably shouldn't; it makes wines in Rioja and Ribera del Duero (which see) that are arguably world-class. Black fruit is the usual descriptor, although most Tempranillo-based wines show spicy oak as an integral component, and are also characterized by the hearty, robust and acidic structure that the grape imparts.
Tocai Friulano - (Toh-KYE Fr'yoo-LAH-noe)
Italian white-wine grape grown in the far Northeast, no kin to Hungarian Tokay, but capable of producing a delightfully distinctive and aromatic white wine with a unique floral scent; also occasionally seen in California.
Torrontés - (Tohr-ROHN-tayss)
White grape from Galicia in Spain, gaining recent there and in Argentina for producing racy and aromatic white wines of real character.
Trebbiano - (Treb-YAH-no)
Widespread but rather forgettable Italian white grape, producing a neutral dry white wine.
Valpolicella - (Vahl-poe-lee-CHELL-ah)
Lightweight but refreshing red wine from the Veneto of Northeastern Italy. As Recioto della Valpolicella, a thoroughly different wine, powerful and robust, may be sweet or dry (Amarone).
Verdicchio - (Vehr-DEEK-yo)
Italian white-wine grape from the Adriatic coast of Central Italy; at its best, tart and suffused with an appealing bitter-almond quality.
Vidal Blanc - (Vee-dahl BlahN)
French-hybrid white-wine grape widely used in Eastern U.S. wines, sometimes crisp and dry but with a sometimes unfortunate pine resin or turpentine quality.
Vignoles - (Vee-NYOLE)
Also Ravat 51, a French-hybrid white-wine grape seen in the Eastern U.S. One of the most successful French hybrids, in my opinion; I've seen it vinified as a luscious sweet wine and also, with lightly toasted oak, as a full-bodied dry white of real quality.
Villard Blanc - (Vee-yar BlahN)
Yet another white French-hybrid grown in the Eastern U.S. Usually rather neutral in quality.
Viognier - (Vee-ohn-yay)
Long a seldom-seen grape used only in the rather rare French Condrieu and Chateau-Grillet, this white grape is gaining considerable attention as a varietal in California and, now, Southern France. It makes a light, lean wine with a very characteristic floral scent, not meant for aging but best consumed early.
White Riesling - (Reese-ling)
Sometimes seen in the U.S. (and required in Oregon) for Riesling. "Johannisberg Riesling" is also often used as a California marketing term to heighten the grape's German heritage.
White Zinfandel - (Zin-fahn-DELL)
"Blush" wine, usually California, usually simple and often slightly sweet, made by removing red Zinfandel grapes from the juice before they impart significant color. See Zinfandel, below.
Zinfandel - (Zin-fahn-DELL)
Declared the American wine grape because it reaches its highest level in California, it's now been shown to be the same as the Southern Italian Primitivo, and it's thought that both may go back to an earlier Balkan progenitor. At its best, it makes an exuberantly fruity, ripe and big red wine full of mixed blackberry and raspberry scents (known botanically as "bramble fruit").