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Have you ever been to the Cabernet region of France?

Probably not.
Cabernet is a grape.
The naming conventions used in wine can be quite confusing, as a result of one simple fact. French wines, historically, were always named after the region in which they were grown. As the American winemaking industry developed, wines were more often named after the grape used in the production of the wine. As the winemakers in various countries like Australia, America, and South Africa refine their methods, eventually regions that have unique characters may evolve, and at that time, we'll refer to a Napa red, or a Columbia Valley white, and be referring to a clearly defined wine. For now though, if you're not already familiar with the various regions of winemaking around the world, we've assembled a quick overview below. Last month, we talked about Grape types. If you're not familiar with grapes mentioned below, please refer to our tutorial. It covers most of the more familiar types.

So, kick back with that nice bottle of Burgundy you picked up in Chardonnay last spring, and enjoy.....

 

Australia
Barossa Valley
Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon
Clare Valley
Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Coonawarra
Cabernet Sauvignon
Hunter Valley
Chardonnay
France

Wine
Region
Grape
Banyuls
Pyrenees
grenache
Beaujolais
Burgundy
gamay
Bordeaux
Bordeaux
cabernet sauvignon, merlot, etc
Chablis
Burgundy
chardonnay
Champagne
Champagne
chardonnay, pinot meunier, pinot noir
Côte d'Or
Burgundy
pinot noir & chardonnay
Macon
Burgundy
pinot blanc, chardonnay gamay noir, pinot noir, pinot gris
Sancerre
Loire Valley
sauvignon blanc, pinot noir
Sauternes
Bordeaux
semillon, cabernet, muscadelle
Vouvray
Loire Valley
chenin blanc


 



There's so much to cover regarding French Wine that we'll be devoting several future issues to the topic.

This chart is a good starting place though. Be sure to check out last month's piece on grapes.

 

Germany


In Germany, wines are
defined more by classifications:


Wine
Region
Grape
Liebfrauenmilch
various
Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Kerner
Qualitätswein
various
various
Sekt
various
various

Italy

Wine
Area
Grape
Amarone
Venice
corvina veronese, rondinella, molinara
Asti Spumanti
Turin
muscat
Barolo
Piedmont
nebbiolo
Chianti
Tuscany
sangiovese, canaiolo, trebbiano, malvasia
Gavi
Piedmont
cortese
Marsala
Sicily
grillo, catarratto, inzolia, damaschino, pignatello, calabrese, nerello mascalese, nero d’avola
Montepulciano
d'Abruzzo Abruzzi
montepulciano
Soave
Venice
garganega, trebbiano di soave

In Italy, they make it even trickier. The wine typically has a name that's derived from neither the grape nor the area in which it's grown.

In spite of the reputation the French have regarding wine, they probably wouldn't do it as well as they do if it weren't the winemakers of ancient Rome. More on this in an upcoming installment.

Spain

As you can see, a wide variety of grapes go into Spanish wines.

We'll be doing a piece soon specifically about Spain and it's wines.

Wine
Region
Grape
Cava
Spain
Macabeo, Xarello, Parellada
Malaga
Spain
pedro ximénez, moscatel de málaga
Rioja
Spain
tempranillo, garnacha tinta, graciano, mazuelo, viura, malvasia, garnacha blanca
Sherry
Sherry
palomino, pedro ximenez, muscatel