Wine grape varieties are the heart and soul of every bottle, contributing distinct flavors, aromas, and characteristics unique to each varietal. Each grape’s individuality is shaped not only by its inherent genetic traits, but also by the region, sub-region, and specific microclimate in which it is grown.

The concept of terroir, or the environmental factors that influence a wine’s character, plays a significant role in this process. Factors such as soil composition, altitude, and climate can dramatically alter the taste and aroma of a particular grape variety, leading to a diverse range of expressions in the resulting wines.

List of White and Red Wine Grape Varieties

Explore our curated list of wine grape varieties below to learn more about each grape’s unique properties, and be sure to sample some of our recommended wines to experience the magic of how these diverse factors come together to create exquisite, one-of-a-kind flavors.

*Note: We are classifying these grapes as both white and red based on the most common production practices. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most red wine grapes have red skins with white flesh (with the exception of Teinturier grapes like Alicante Bouschet and Chambourcin), meaning many “red grapes” could potentially be vinified as white if a winemaker chose to do so. Pinot Noir is a good example of this and has been in practice for a long time in the production of Champagne.

White Wine Grapes

Set sail on a flavorful journey as we dive into the world of white wine grapes. Just as enchanting as their red counterparts, white wine grapes offer a enticing range of flavors, aromas, and textures that echo the diverse environments where they’re cultivated.

From the verdant vineyards of Burgundy where the Chardonnay grape reigns supreme, to the rocky soils of Rías Baixas in Spain where Albariño finds its true expression, each white wine grape tells a different story.

Each of these white wine grapes, and countless others, has its own tale of terroir to tell, its flavor profile influenced by the unique symbiosis of genetic traits, soil, climate, and human intervention.

White Wine Grape Icon


Albariño primarily hails from the coastal Rías Baixas region of northwest Spain and the Vinho Verde region in Portugal, where it’s known as Alvarinho. Offering distinctive stone fruit and citrus flavors, Albariño is often recognized for its bright, zesty character, underpinned by a subtle salinity that reflects its maritime roots. When it comes to food pairings, the wine’s refreshing acidity and dominant notes make it an outstanding companion to seafood, notably shellfish like mussels or clams. Simultaneously, its complexity also holds up well against richer, cream-based sauces.

White Wine Grape Icon

Antão Vaz

Hailing from the warm, sun-drenched plains of the Alentejo region in southern Portugal, Antão Vaz is a white wine grape renowned for its ability to maintain balance and complexity despite high temperatures. It produces full-bodied and aromatic wines that showcase ripe tropical fruit characteristics, such as mango and passionfruit, accompanied by a distinctive mineral streak likely attributed to the region’s diverse soils. The wine’s voluptuous body and complex flavors harmonize beautifully with richer poultry dishes, particularly when prepared with creamy sauces or local Portuguese spices. Also, consider pairing it with matured cheeses to fully appreciate the versatility of Antão Vaz.

White Wine Grape Icon


Arinto is a white wine grape indigenous to Portugal, prominently cultivated in the wine regions of Bucelas, Tejo, and Vinho Verde. With an innate ability to retain high acidity even in warmer climates, it produces wines that are vivaciously fresh and well-structured. Tasting notes often reveal crisp apple, lemon, and mineral flavors, underpinned by an intriguing hint of floral aroma. Arinto’s high acidity and pronounced citrus profile make it an exceptional pairing for a range of seafood dishes, particularly cod, a Portuguese staple. It also pairs elegantly with soft cheeses, enhancing their creaminess while cutting through with its bright acidity.

White Wine Grape Icon


Assyrtiko is a robust white wine grape native to Greece, most famously cultivated on the volcanic island of Santorini. The grape thrives in the island’s challenging growing conditions, producing wines that express a captivating mix of freshness, minerality, and bold structure. Assyrtiko wines are known for their vibrant citrus notes, hints of saline, and a distinctive smoky mineral undertone that often reflects the volcanic terroir.

Assyrtiko’s intensity and crisp acidity make it a natural companion to a variety of seafood dishes, from grilled fish to delicate shellfish. It also pairs beautifully with tangy, creamy cheeses, providing a counterbalance with its citrusy freshness.

White Wine Grape Icon


Chardonnay, arguably one of the most recognized white wine grape varieties in the world, is a native of Burgundy, France, but has found success in various wine regions across the globe, from California’s sun-kissed valleys to Australia’s cool-climate vineyards. Its vinification can result in a spectrum of flavor profiles, ranging from lean, mineral-driven wines with crisp apple and citrus notes, to full-bodied and creamy expressions showcasing tropical fruit, butterscotch, and toasty oak influences. Chardonnay’s inherent versatility also extends to food pairings. Leaner styles pair exceptionally well with light seafood dishes and fresh salads, while richer, oak-aged versions can stand up to creamier dishes, roasted poultry, or even veal.

White Wine Grape Icon

Chenin Blanc

Originating in the Loire Valley of France, Chenin Blanc is a versatile white wine grape variety that has also gained considerable fame in South Africa. In its classic expression, Chenin Blanc offers a range of profiles from dry to sweet, with a common backbone of high acidity and a palette of flavors including quince, apple, pear, and honey. Notably, it can also develop intriguing notes of wet wool and lanolin as it ages. When considering food pairings, Chenin Blanc’s acidity and spectrum of sweetness levels make it adaptable to a wide range of dishes. It can complement anything from fresh seafood and salads to richer poultry dishes, and it stands up impressively to spicy cuisines such as Thai or Indian.

RELATED: Best Loire Valley Wineries & Castles to Visit This Year

White Wine Grape Icon


Originating from the volcanic soils of Campania in Southern Italy, Falanghina is an ancient grape variety that holds a distinctive place in Italian viticulture. A sip of Falanghina unfolds a lively bouquet of citrus and green apple flavors, often complemented by subtle floral notes. The wine is notable for its refreshing acidity and mineral undertones, which can be traced back to its unique terroir. A remarkably versatile partner at the table, Falanghina pairs exquisitely with a wide range of dishes. Traditional Italian seafood dishes, such as linguine with clams, highlight its crispness, while its acidity can cut through the richness of a creamy risotto. For a global twist, try it with a Thai green curry or a citrusy ceviche to complement its zesty profile.

White Wine Grape Icon


Garganega is an ancient white wine grape primarily grown in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. It’s most notably known as the backbone of the esteemed Soave wines, where it often comprises the majority of the blend. Characteristically, Garganega produces light to medium-bodied wines with a bouquet of almond, citrus, and floral notes, along with a vein of minerality and bright acidity. When grown in volcanic soils or aged on lees, it can develop a rich complexity, presenting hints of honey and ripe pear. In terms of food pairings, its delicate flavors and freshness harmonize beautifully with a variety of seafood dishes, risottos, and lighter poultry dishes, making Garganega a versatile choice at the dining table.

White Wine Grape Icon


Originating from the Alsace region of France, Gewürztraminer is a white wine grape known for producing highly aromatic and full-bodied wines. Now grown in various cool-climate regions worldwide, including northern Italy, Germany, and parts of the United States and Australia, it’s celebrated for its rich, heady flavors. Gewürztraminer wines exhibit a distinctive lychee aroma along with notes of rose petal, ginger, and exotic spices, complemented by a slight sweetness and low acidity. On the palate, it’s often full-bodied, with a viscous, almost oily texture. As for food pairings, Gewürztraminer is particularly adept at complementing spicy Asian cuisines, smoked meats, and pungent cheeses, owing to its intense flavors and aromatics.

White Wine Grape Icon

Greco di Tufo

Greco di Tufo, named after the small village of Tufo in Campania, Italy, is a white grape variety that’s noted for its distinctive mineral character and complex flavor profile. Originating from Southern Italy, this wine is steeped in history, with cultivation believed to date back to the Greeks in the 8th century BC.

The wine’s appeal lies not just in its ancient origins, but also in its unique taste characteristics. Thriving in high-altitude vineyards with sulfur and tuff-rich soils, Greco di Tufo draws a strong mineral aspect from its terroir. This, coupled with its pronounced fruit flavors and balancing acidity, marks it out amongst other white wines. Its versatility at the table, pairing well with a range of dishes from traditional Italian cuisine to global fare, has further propelled its popularity amongst wine enthusiasts and culinary aficionados alike.

White Wine Grape Icon

Grenache Blanc

Grenache Blanc, a white grape variant of the widely planted Grenache Noir, originates from Spain but has also found a home in southern France, particularly in the Rhône Valley. It produces full-bodied, plump wines that are often marked by their generous mouthfeel and a balance between richness and acidity. The taste profile of Grenache Blanc typically showcases green apple and citrus flavors, accented by hints of herbs and, often, a touch of honeyed warmth. When grown in wind-swept vineyards or older vines, it can reveal a striking mineral complexity. Food pairing-wise, Grenache Blanc’s textural richness and flavor profile pair wonderfully with grilled white meats, hearty seafood stews, and dishes with a touch of spice.

White Wine Grape Icon

Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner, the signature white wine grape of Austria, is revered for its versatility and unique flavor profile. Mostly grown along the steep, river-side vineyards of Wachau, Kamptal, and Kremstal, it produces wines that range from lean and racy to rich and full-bodied. Grüner Veltliner’s distinctive tasting notes often include green apple, white pepper, and a characteristic hint of lentil, underpinned by vibrant acidity and a subtle mineral streak. Thanks to its fresh and dynamic character, Grüner Veltliner pairs remarkably well with a variety of dishes. Its affinity for herbs and green vegetables makes it a rare match for challenging ingredients like artichokes and asparagus, while its structure allows it to stand up to richer poultry or pork dishes.

White Wine Grape Icon


Malvasia, a group of ancient white grape varieties, is primarily found across the Mediterranean, with significant plantings in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Greek Islands. While the grape’s expressions can vary significantly based on regional factors and winemaking techniques, it typically gives rise to wines that are aromatic and full-bodied. Tasting profiles often reveal notes of ripe peaches, apricots, and tropical fruits, accompanied by a honeyed richness in sweeter styles. When vinified dry, Malvasia can exhibit a heady floral aroma with refreshing acidity and notable minerality. As for food pairings, its fragrant profile and weight make it an excellent match for seafood pasta dishes, creamy sauces, and roast poultry. Additionally, sweeter expressions of Malvasia pair wonderfully with fruit-based desserts or blue cheese.

White Wine Grape Icon


Marsanne, native to the Rhône Valley in southern France, is a white grape variety that is admired for its deep, rich, and complex character. It thrives in various wine regions worldwide, including Australia’s Victoria region, where it produces wines that are richly textured and full-bodied. Marsanne’s tasting profile typically unveils flavors of ripe pear, melon, and sweet spice, often with an appealing nutty or honeysuckle undertone that develops as the wine matures. With relatively low acidity, the wine’s richness is its defining feature. Marsanne’s full body and complex flavors stand up well to richer dishes like creamy pasta, lobster, or roast chicken, ideally with aromatic herbs and spices.

White Wine Grape Icon

Melon de Bourgogne

Melon de Bourgogne, a white grape variety native to the Burgundy region of France, is perhaps best known for its role in the production of the distinctively crisp and saline wines of Muscadet in the Loire Valley. Often vinified sur lie (aged on dead yeast cells), the wines achieve a creamy texture that balances their naturally high acidity and lean structure. Melon de Bourgogne is celebrated for its fresh citrus and green apple flavors, accented by a pronounced minerality that often carries an intriguing note of sea spray. Its bright acidity, subtle fruit, and briny undertones make it an exemplary companion to a wide range of seafood, especially oysters and other shellfish.

White Wine Grape Icon


Muscadelle is an aromatic white grape variety largely grown in Bordeaux, France, where it is often used in small amounts to add aromatic complexity to the region’s sweet and dry white wines. It is also found in Australia, where it is used in both dry and fortified wine styles. Muscadelle wines are celebrated for their floral and grapey aromas, with notes of blossom, honey, and musk underscored by crisp acidity. Muscadelle’s aromatic character and brightness can be skillfully married with a range of dishes, from fresh seafood platters to lightly spiced Asian dishes.

White Wine Grape Icon


Muscadine, a native North American grape, thrives in the humid conditions of the southeastern United States, particularly in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Producing wines that are often sweet and robustly flavored, Muscadine presents a taste profile bursting with ripe fruit flavors, often evoking notes of banana, peach, and tropical fruits, with a distinct musky undertone. Considering its bold, fruit-forward nature, Muscadine wines pair delightfully with spicy Southern dishes, barbecued meats, or as a refreshing counterpoint to salty, sharp cheeses.

White Wine Grape Icon


Muscat, one of the oldest and most widespread grape families in the world, is renowned for producing intensely aromatic wines, ranging from bone dry to lusciously sweet, including the famous Italian Moscato d’Asti and French Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. While its manifestations vary dramatically, common tasting notes often include rose petal, peach, lychee, and citrus, overlaid with a distinctive musky note. Turning to food accompaniments, the vibrant fruit and floral characteristics of Muscat wines shine alongside diverse dishes. Dry styles stand up to spicy Asian cuisine, while sweeter versions make a delectable dessert pairing, complementing fruit tarts or blue cheeses.

White Wine Grape Icon

Pedro Ximénez

Pedro Ximénez, often abbreviated to PX, is a white grape variety extensively grown in the Andalucía region of Southern Spain, particularly in the Denominaciones de Origen (DOs) of Montilla-Moriles and Jerez, where it’s used to produce a remarkably sweet, dark, and lusciously rich style of Sherry. The typical tasting profile of Pedro Ximénez wines reveals intensely concentrated flavors of raisin, fig, molasses, and chocolate, often with a hint of coffee or nutty nuances. When it comes to the culinary scene, the decadently sweet nature of Pedro Ximénez makes it a dream pairing with a variety of desserts, especially those featuring chocolate or dried fruits. It can also serve as a stunning contrast to rich blue cheeses.

RELATED: Sherry Wine Guide: Everything You Need to Know

White Wine Grape Icon

Petit Manseng

Petit Manseng, a white grape from the southwest of France, particularly the Jurançon region, is renowned for its role in crafting vibrant and richly textured dry and sweet wines. The grape’s small, thick-skinned berries are naturally high in sugar and acidity, producing wines with a compelling balance of opulence and freshness. Tasting notes often reveal flavors of tropical fruits, apricots, and honey, supported by a striking vein of acidity.

Petit Manseng’s combination of sweetness (in its sweet forms) and acidity make it an interesting partner for a range of dishes. The sweet versions are excellent with foie gras or blue cheese, while the dry styles match well with a variety of seafood and poultry dishes, especially when prepared with a hint of spice.

White Wine Grape Icon

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio, known as Pinot Gris in France and Grauburgunder in Germany, is a white grape variety that thrives in various wine regions worldwide. However, it is perhaps most famous for the crisp, light-bodied style produced in the cool climates of northern Italy. A Pinot Grigio typically presents a taste profile marked by pear, green apple, and citrus flavors, often with a refreshing minerality and a lean structure. Depending on the region and winemaking techniques, it can also display honeyed, nutty, or smoky characteristics. For food pairings, Pinot Grigio’s bright acidity and clean flavors make it a wonderful companion for light fish dishes, summer salads, or as a refreshing aperitif.

White Wine Grape Icon


Rkatsiteli, a white grape variety of ancient Georgian origin, boasts a viticultural history dating back thousands of years. Though still prevalent in Georgia and parts of Eastern Europe, Rkatsiteli has found a new home in the Finger Lakes region of New York, largely thanks to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Konstantin Frank in the 1950s. Rkatsiteli wines are admired for their high acidity and complex flavor profile, which typically includes notes of crisp apple, pear, and zesty citrus, often overlaid with a delightful floral bouquet. Depending on the winemaking approach, some styles also exhibit spicy or honeyed characteristics. Rkatsiteli’s zesty nature and complex flavors make it a versatile match for a range of dishes, from grilled seafood to hearty stews.

White Wine Grape Icon


Roussanne, a white grape variety originally from the Rhône Valley in France, is cherished for producing full-bodied and deeply aromatic wines. The grape has also made a successful leap to New World wine regions, including California and Washington State in the U.S. Roussanne wines typically reveal flavors of ripe pear, honey, and herbal tea, accompanied by a rich texture and high acidity. The complexity often deepens with age, developing intriguing notes of honey and nuts. The full body and pronounced flavors of Roussanne make it a wonderful match for rich and creamy dishes. It complements foods such as lobster, roast chicken, or creamy pastas, especially when they are prepared with herbs and spices that echo the wine’s own aromatic profile.

White Wine Grape Icon


Riesling, a noble grape variety originating from Germany, is revered globally for its remarkable versatility and expressive nature. Thriving in a range of climates, from the steep river banks of the Mosel in Germany to the cool-climate regions of Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, Riesling produces wines of varying sweetness, all marked by racy acidity and pronounced aromatics. Common tasting notes include green apple, citrus, and peach, often underpinned by a distinctive mineral or petrol-like character.

Riesling’s bright acidity and range of sweetness levels make it one of the most food-friendly wines available. It pairs splendidly with dishes as diverse as spicy Asian cuisine, rich pork dishes, or even tangy goat cheese.

White Wine Grape Icon

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a white grape variety that originates from the Bordeaux region of France. It has gained international acclaim and is now grown in wine regions worldwide, including Loire Valley in France, Marlborough in New Zealand, and California in the U.S., among others. Depending on where it’s grown, Sauvignon Blanc wines can range from intensely grassy to tropically fruity. The common tasting notes typically include vibrant citrus, green apple, and gooseberry, often highlighted by herbaceous overtones such as grass or bell pepper. With food, Sauvignon Blanc’s crisp acidity and range of fruit flavors make it a versatile companion for a wide array of dishes. It pairs exceptionally well with fresh seafood, goat cheese, or dishes featuring herbs and green vegetables.

White Wine Grape Icon


Semillon, originally from Bordeaux in France, is a white grape variety prized for its remarkable transformation both in the vineyard and bottle. It’s grown in various wine regions around the world, with particularly notable expressions hailing from Hunter Valley in Australia. Semillon wines often display flavors of citrus and green apple when young, which evolve into complex notes of honey, nuts, and toast as they age. In Bordeaux, Semillon is typically blended with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle to produce both dry and sweet wines, including the highly esteemed Sauternes.

When thinking about culinary matches, Semillon’s range of expressions open up numerous possibilities. Dry styles complement seafood and poultry dishes, while aged or sweet versions provide a delightful contrast to blue cheeses or can be savored with desserts such as crème brûlée. We’ve even experienced unbelievable quality pairings of Sweet Bordeaux variations alongside sushi.

RELATED: 30 Best Bordeaux Wineries You Can’t Miss on Your Next Trip to France

White Wine Grape Icon

Seyval Blanc

Seyval Blanc, a hybrid grape variety that thrives in cooler climates, has found a comfortable home in regions like England and the northeastern United States, particularly in New York’s Finger Lakes. Seyval Blanc wines are generally light to medium-bodied, with vibrant acidity and flavors of citrus, green apple, and often a noticeable minerality. Some winemakers choose to oak-age their Seyval Blanc, which can introduce subtle notes of vanilla and a creamier texture. Seyval Blanc’s crisp acidity and fresh flavors make it a fitting match for dishes such as grilled white fish, fresh oysters, or salads with goat cheese.

White Wine Grape Icon


Torrontés is an aromatic white grape variety primarily grown in Argentina, where it’s recognized as the country’s signature white wine. The high-altitude vineyards of Salta produce particularly acclaimed expressions, recognized for their pronounced floral aromas and fresh, fruity flavors. A typical Torrontés wine unveils a bouquet of roses, jasmine, and white peaches, with a citrusy, often spicy, palate and a crisp finish. The fragrant profile and lively acidity of Torrontés makes it an excellent companion to a wide range of foods. It shines with Asian dishes featuring sweet and spicy flavors, and beautifully complements seafood and grilled white meats.

White Wine Grape Icon


Traminette, a hybrid white grape variety developed in the U.S., is a cross between Gewürztraminer and Joannes Seyve, combining the fragrant allure of the former with the latter’s hardiness to cooler climates. Mostly cultivated in the Eastern and Midwest U.S., Traminette produces wines that are medium to full-bodied with lively acidity. Tasting a Traminette wine can reveal notes of rose petals, lychee, and spicy ginger, complemented by flavors of stone fruits like peaches or apricots. In terms of mealtime matches, Traminette’s floral and spicy profile pairs wonderfully with diverse cuisines. It matches particularly well with Asian or Middle Eastern dishes that carry a bit of heat, or can balance rich, creamy cheeses with its vibrant acidity.

White Wine Grape Icon


Vermentino is a white grape variety most often associated with the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy. It’s renowned for producing refreshing, high-acidity wines perfect for warm climates. Sardinia and Liguria in Italy and Corsica in France are particularly known for their Vermentino (or Rolle in French) wines. Tasting a Vermentino usually reveals bright citrus and green apple flavors, alongside floral and almond notes, often underscored by a distinct minerality reminiscent of the sea. When it comes to pairing, Vermentino’s seaside heritage makes it a natural partner to seafood dishes. It excels alongside grilled fish, seafood pasta, or fresh Mediterranean salads.

White Wine Grape Icon

Vidal Blanc

Vidal Blanc, a hybrid grape variety developed in France, has found considerable success in the colder wine regions of North America, particularly in Ontario, Canada, and the northeastern United States. Best known for its role in producing luscious ice wines, Vidal Blanc also makes compelling dry and off-dry wines. Tasting a Vidal Blanc wine can reveal a symphony of flavors: grapefruit, apricot, and honey are common notes, with high acidity providing balance to its rich texture. For pairings, the wine’s versatile nature invites a variety of food matches. Dry versions pair beautifully with fresh seafood or poultry, while the sweet, ice wine styles can accompany a range of desserts or act as a dessert in their own right.

White Wine Grape Icon


Viognier, once a little-known white grape variety from France’s Rhône Valley, has experienced a global renaissance and is now grown in wine regions across the world, from California to Australia. Viognier wines are known for their heady aromatics, full body, and typically low acidity. Tasting a Viognier often reveals intense floral aromas of honeysuckle and violet, followed by flavors of ripe stone fruits like peaches and apricots, often with a hint of creamy vanilla if the wine has seen oak. When considering what to serve alongside Viognier, its perfumed character and full body make it a natural match for aromatic, spiced dishes. Think Moroccan tagines, Indian curries, or grilled shrimp with a peach salsa.

Red Wine Grapes

When we talk about red wine grapes, we are referring to a variety of grapes that are characterized by their red or black skins, which infuse wine with color and tannins. These tannins, natural compounds found in the skins, seeds, and stems, lend the wines their structure and capacity for aging. During the process of fermentation, tannins, along with flavor compounds and pigments, are extracted from the skins. This extraction results in the vast spectrum of colors and complexity we find in red wines, from the delicate ruby hue of a French Pinot Noir to the inky depth of an Argentine Malbec.

As we navigate the world of red wine grape varieties, we will explore each grape’s unique profile, how its expression can vary depending on where it is grown, and the taste experiences it offers. From the full-bodied and blackcurrant-laden Cabernet Sauvignon grown under the Californian sun, to the cherry-scented Sangiovese thriving in the Tuscan hills, or the spicy, dark fruit notes of Syrah from the stony soils of Rhône Valley. We will also venture off the beaten track to discover gems like the powerful Tannat from Uruguay or the vibrant, peppery Blaufränkisch from Austria.

RELATED: 15 Best Tuscany Wine Tours & Wine Tastings to Experience This Year

Red Wine Grape Icon


Aglianico is a black-skinned grape variety native to southern Italy. It’s renowned for producing full-bodied, intensely flavored wines with good aging potential. Its heartland is in Basilicata and Campania, where it thrives on volcanic soils and gives rise to expressive wines with a distinct minerality. Aglianico wines are typically characterized by their firm tannins and high acidity, coupled with complex flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and plum, often underscored by smoky, spicy notes. When it comes to the table, Aglianico’s bold character pairs well with equally robust foods. A hearty osso buco or a dish of wild boar ragù would complement the wine’s robust flavors

Red Wine Grape Icon

Alicante Bouschet

Alicante Bouschet is a unique grape variety in the world of winemaking due to its classification as a teinturier, meaning it possesses red flesh— a rarity among red wine grapes, which typically have white flesh. This grape, largely grown in the Alentejo region of Portugal and in parts of Spain and France, is known for producing deeply colored, full-bodied wines. Alicante Bouschet wines carry distinct flavors of dark berries, plum, and licorice, often complemented by a touch of earthiness and hints of spice. For a harmonious pairing, consider robust dishes such as braised lamb with rosemary or smoked sausage cassoulet, which can stand up to Alicante Bouschet’s bold profile.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Barbera is a red grape variety indigenous to Italy, widely cultivated in the Piedmont region, where it thrives in the rolling hills and variable soils. Wines made from Barbera are admired for their vibrant acidity, plush tannins, and profusion of juicy dark fruit flavors like cherry, blackberry, and plum. An underlying note of anise often dances in the background, while aging in oak can introduce hints of vanilla. This grape is also grown with success in California, where it produces a slightly different profile with often more pronounced fruit-forwardness. Barbera’s high acidity and medium body make it an extremely versatile food wine. It shines when matched with a range of dishes, from tomato-based pasta sauces to grilled sausages or a classic Margherita pizza.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Barbera is a red grape variety indigenous to Italy, widely cultivated in the Piedmont region, where it thrives in the rolling hills and variable soils. Wines made from Barbera are admired for their vibrant acidity, plush tannins, and profusion of juicy dark fruit flavors like cherry, blackberry, and plum. An underlying note of anise often dances in the background, while aging in oak can introduce hints of vanilla. This grape is also grown with success in California, where it produces a slightly different profile with often more pronounced fruit-forwardness. Barbera’s high acidity and medium body make it an extremely versatile food wine. It shines when matched with a range of dishes, from tomato-based pasta sauces to grilled sausages or a classic Margherita pizza.

RELATED: Learn How to Pair Pizza with All Kinds of Wines

Red Wine Grape Icon

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a black-skinned grape variety known for its captivating aroma and balanced profile. It’s celebrated globally. While originating from the Basque region in France, it is notably grown in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux. In the Loire, it gives rise to elegant wines with pronounced red fruit flavors like raspberry and red currant, combined with a distinctive note of bell pepper and graphite. In contrast, Bordeaux expressions, often used in blends, provide depth and structure, adding an aromatic complexity. The grape has also flourished in cooler North American regions, including New York’s Finger Lakes and Canada’s Niagara Peninsula, where it delivers uniquely expressive wines. Cabernet Franc’s balanced tannins and vibrant acidity make it a great match for a variety of dishes. It complements poultry, like roast chicken, and handles earthy flavors well, making it a fine partner for dishes featuring mushrooms or root vegetables.

Red Wine Grape Icon

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is another globally recognized red grape variety, renowned for its full-bodied, robust wines with a substantial aging potential. The grape’s origins trace back to Bordeaux, France, where it serves as the backbone of the region’s revered blends, offering structure, tannic heft, and deep, dark fruit flavors.

However, Cabernet Sauvignon’s acclaim isn’t confined to Bordeaux – it thrives in a multitude of terroirs, most notably California’s Napa Valley, where it produces opulent, fruit-forward wines, often with a generous dose of oak. In Washington State, for example, it has adapted well to the varied microclimates of sub-regions like Walla Walla and Red Mountain, yielding wines that offer a delicate balance between Old World structure and New World fruit intensity. Cabernet Sauvignon has also proven its versatility in cooler, less likely regions, like New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, where it produces varietal wines and blends with a unique freshness and vibrancy.

Common tasting notes include blackcurrant, black cherry, and bell pepper, often layered with vanilla, spice, and tobacco when aged in oak. With its high tannins and vibrant acidity, Cabernet Sauvignon pairs wonderfully with rich meats, such as a juicy steak or a lamb roast.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Carignan is a red grape variety known for its resilience and high yields, originating from Spain but achieving distinctive expression in southern France, particularly the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The grape is appreciated for its depth of color, high acidity, and substantial tannins. A sip of Carignan reveals rich flavors of ripe plum and wild berries, punctuated with spicy and herbal undertones.

Though its use has traditionally been as a blending grape to add color and structure, the narrative of Carignan is continually evolving. There’s a growing appreciation for varietal Carignan wines, admired for their hearty character and rustic charm. This change is not only confined to its traditional homes; other regions are also rediscovering Carignan. Spain’s Priorat region is producing some remarkable examples, where the grape contributes to the region’s powerful, mineral-laden reds. Similarly, on the Italian island of Sardinia, Carignan (locally known as Carignano) thrives on sandy coastal soils and old vines, delivering wines with surprising freshness and depth.

Carignan has also found a welcoming environment in the New World. California’s winemakers are increasingly working with this variety, and old-vine Carignan in Chile is drawing attention for its concentrated, expressive character.

When considering food pairings, Carignan’s robust profile holds up well against bold flavors. Think along the lines of rich dishes like grilled lamb chops, a hearty ratatouille, or a robust chorizo sausage stew.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Carménère is a red grape variety that originated in Bordeaux, France, but today it finds its most expressive form in Chile. Mistaken for Merlot for many years, it was only in the mid-1990s that Carménère was recognized and has since become Chile’s flagship grape. The variety thrives in Chile’s warm and dry climate, producing full-bodied wines with soft tannins and a distinctive red fruit profile, punctuated by hints of green pepper and spices.

A particular charm of Carménère is its overlay of smoky, spicy, and earthy notes, bringing an intriguing complexity to the wines. Although Chile remains the grape’s main protagonist, Carménère has also started to gain a foothold in other regions such as California and Washington State, where it forms part of Bordeaux-style blends.

In the culinary world, Carménère makes a delightful partner to a variety of dishes. Its ripe, fruity character and peppery undertones marry well with hearty meat dishes like beef stew or lamb, while its earthy nuances can beautifully complement dishes featuring mushrooms or lentils.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid grape variety, prized for its resistance to fungal diseases and ability to adapt to various climates. First appearing in the mid-20th century, Chambourcin has found success in the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern United States, particularly in states like Missouri, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as in cooler regions of Australia and New Zealand.

Chambourcin wines are deeply colored, often exhibiting a rich purple hue. The flavor profile typically features vibrant notes of red and black fruits, accompanied by a touch of spice and sometimes a hint of earthiness. Unlike many hybrid grapes, Chambourcin has the capacity to produce wines of high quality, often with moderate tannins and balancing acidity.

When pairing with food, Chambourcin’s juicy fruit-forward character and spicy undertones make it a versatile companion. Its bold fruit flavors work harmoniously with barbecued meats and rich stews, while its spicy elements can resonate with dishes featuring herbs and spices.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Cinsault is a heat-loving and drought-resistant red grape variety predominantly grown in southern France, particularly in the Rhône Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon. It plays a significant role in many Provence rosés and Châteauneuf-du-Pape blends, providing freshness and aromatic complexity. Cinsault is cherished for its light, airy qualities, with lower tannins and soft red fruit flavors, accented by subtle notes of spice.

While it is often overshadowed by more muscular grape varieties in blends, varietal Cinsault wines have a unique charm. They’re typically bright and perfumed, offering a delicious balance of juicy fruit, floral elements, and peppery nuances. South Africa’s Swartland region has also gained recognition for its old-vine Cinsault, producing vibrant, expressive wines that highlight this variety’s potential.

In terms of food pairings, Cinsault’s bright red fruit character and light body make it a versatile partner. Its delightful fruit notes complement dishes like grilled salmon or roast chicken, while its peppery accents can stand up to spiced dishes.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Corvina is a red grape variety that’s indigenous to the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, playing a central role in some of the region’s most prestigious wines, including Valpolicella and Amarone. Wines made from Corvina are appreciated for their cherry-driven fruit profile, moderate tannins, and a subtle bitter almond finish.

The grape truly shines in the traditional appassimento method used to make Amarone, where harvested grapes are dried to concentrate sugars and flavors, leading to a rich, full-bodied wine with an impressive balance of fruit, tannin, and acidity. Yet, Corvina is not confined to Italy. It has found new homes in Argentina and Australia, where producers are exploring its potential in warmer climates.

When considering its culinary companions, Corvina-based wines’ hearty and robust nature makes them excellent partners for rich, savory dishes. The concentrated flavors of Amarone hold up against braised beef or venison, while the lighter, more accessible Valpolicella wines are delightful with pizza or pasta in a tomato-based sauce.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Gamay is a light-bodied red grape variety most renowned for its star role in the wines of Beaujolais, a region in eastern France. Wines made from Gamay are celebrated for their bright, juicy flavors of red fruit, notably cherry and raspberry, underscored by accents of earth and spice. When vinified using the traditional carbonic maceration technique, these wines are especially vibrant, with soft tannins and a refreshing acidity.

While the heartland of Gamay is undoubtedly Beaujolais, the grape is also grown in the Loire Valley and has been successfully transplanted to Canada’s Niagara Peninsula and Oregon’s Willamette Valley, amongst other New World regions. Each region adds its own signature to the Gamay profile, but the essence of bright, fruit-forward charm remains.

On the table, Gamay’s fresh and light-bodied character makes it an extremely versatile wine for food pairing. It can play well with a broad spectrum of dishes, from grilled chicken or fish to heartier fare like sausages or stews.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Graciano is a Spanish red grape variety known for its deep color, strong acidity, and aromatic complexity. Primarily grown in the Rioja and Navarra regions of northern Spain, Graciano often plays a supporting role in traditional Rioja blends, where it contributes acidity, color, and unique flavor profiles. Although not as widely planted as Tempranillo, the grape’s distinctive characteristics are being rediscovered, leading to an increase in single-varietal Graciano wines. Graciano wines are marked by their vivid red color and robust structure, showcasing flavors of dark berries, plum, and herbal notes, often with hints of pepper or spice. The grape’s pronounced acidity ensures that it can age well, developing more nuanced, earthy characteristics over time.

Pairing Graciano with food opens up a world of possibilities. Its robust structure and lively acidity make it suitable for rich meats like lamb or beef, especially when accompanied by Mediterranean herbs or a touch of spice. For those who prefer something lighter, Graciano’s fresh berry flavors can beautifully complement roasted vegetables or mushroom-based dishes.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Grenache, also known as Garnacha in Spain, is a red grape variety celebrated for its versatility and ability to thrive in hot, dry conditions. It’s a key component in many Southern Rhône blends, including Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it imparts ripe red fruit flavors, soft tannins, and a hint of spice. Its home is Spain, particularly the regions of Priorat and Navarra, but it has traveled far and wide, reaching Sardinia, Australia, and California’s Central Coast, among others.

Grenache is known for its signature strawberry and cherry notes, often with a dash of white pepper or anise. In warmer climates, it can develop rich, jammy characteristics, while cooler climates bring out more delicate, herbal nuances. With careful aging, it evolves into a complex medley of fruit, spice, and earth.

When it comes to food companions, Grenache is a master of flexibility. Its ripe fruit profile and mild tannins make it excellent alongside a range of dishes, from grilled meats to tomato-based pastas. It pairs remarkably well with spicy dishes too, thanks to its fruit-forward nature and hint of peppery spice.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Lambrusco is a family of red grape varieties originating from Italy, most famously associated with the frizzante (lightly sparkling) red wines from the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions. These wines are cherished for their refreshing, fruity flavors and gentle bubbles. Lambrusco refers to both the grape and the wine, which can vary significantly in style from dry (secco) to sweet (dolce), and from lightly colored rosés to deep, inky reds.

Typical Lambrusco wines burst with flavors of ripe red and black berries, often accompanied by floral and earthy undertones. Despite their playful effervescence, many Lambrusco wines possess a surprising depth of flavor and can demonstrate substantial structure.

In the realm of food pairing, Lambrusco shows remarkable versatility. The wine’s vibrancy and fizz make it a natural companion to a variety of dishes. From Emilia-Romagna’s rich culinary tradition, consider pairing it with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or Prosciutto di Parma. Its light sparkle and fruity profile also make it an excellent match for spicy foods or barbecue.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Malbec is a deep, dark, and robust grape variety that originally hails from the southwest of France but has found its most successful expressions in the high-altitude vineyards of Argentina. Known for its intense color, ripe fruit flavors, and smooth tannins, Malbec produces wines that are both powerful and approachable. In its native France, Malbec is a key component in the wines of Cahors and also plays a supporting role in Bordeaux. However, it is Argentina where Malbec has truly shined, becoming the country’s flagship grape and producing wines with intense blackberry, plum, and black cherry flavors, often accompanied by hints of violets and sweet tobacco.

When it comes to food pairings, the rich and fruit-forward profile of Malbec is a natural fit for hearty meat dishes. Think Argentinian Asado (barbecue) or a classic French Cassoulet. Alternatively, the grape’s inherent spice notes lend themselves well to pairing with dishes that feature a kick of heat, such as spicy barbecued chicken or lamb curries.

RELATED: Best Mendoza Wineries to Visit for Wine Tasting This Year

Red Wine Grape Icon


Merlot is a versatile and expressive grape variety hailing from Bordeaux, France. Known for its rich, dark fruit flavors, soft tannins, and smooth mouthfeel, it plays both starring and supporting roles in some of the world’s most acclaimed wines. While Merlot’s heartland is the Right Bank of Bordeaux, it thrives in various climates, including the rolling vineyards of California and Washington State. From the fresh and elegant Old World styles to the fuller-bodied, fruit-forward New World interpretations, Merlot’s diversity is part of its charm. When pairing Merlot with food, its softness and depth make it a suitable companion for dishes ranging from grilled red meats to earthy mushroom risotto, showcasing its culinary adaptability.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Mourvèdre is a sun-loving grape variety known for its deep color, high tannin, and complex flavor profile. Originally from Spain, where it’s known as Monastrell, Mourvèdre thrives in hot climates and has found a home in the vineyards of southern France, particularly in the Bandol region, and in Spain’s Jumilla.

In the glass, Mourvèdre unveils a range of dark fruit flavors such as blackberry and plum, often combined with earthy, gamey undertones and hints of black pepper or dark chocolate. Due to its bold character and significant structure, wines made from Mourvèdre are excellent candidates for aging.

When it comes to food, Mourvèdre’s robust profile calls for equally hearty dishes. The wine’s meaty, earthy qualities lend themselves well to pairings with game, lamb, or beef, particularly when prepared with herbs and garlic. Stews and other rich, slow-cooked dishes also make a superb match, promising a meal brimming with savory delights.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Nebbiolo is an illustrious grape variety that originates from the foggy hills of Piedmont, Italy. It’s the powerhouse behind the renowned wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, lauded for their depth, complexity, and longevity. Despite being a tricky grape to grow due to its early budding and late ripening nature, Nebbiolo produces wines that are truly worth the wait.

The character of Nebbiolo is one of bold tannins, high acidity, and an alluring bouquet of flavors, ranging from red cherries and raspberries to roses, tar, and truffles. As Nebbiolo wines age, they develop nuanced tertiary aromas including dried fruit, leather, and anise.

Pairing Nebbiolo with food calls for dishes that can stand up to its intensity. Braised beef, truffle-infused risotto, or aged cheeses are particularly adept at complementing Nebbiolo’s complex profile, creating a harmonious interplay of flavors that is a signature of the Italian dining experience.

Red Wine Grape Icon

Nero d’Avola

Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most important and widely planted red grape variety. Thriving under the Mediterranean sun, it produces robust, full-bodied wines that mirror the warm and vibrant character of Sicily itself. Nero d’Avola wines are known for their intense color, significant tannins, and concentrated flavors of dark fruits like black cherry and plum, often accompanied by notes of licorice, cocoa, and spice. Despite their power, these wines retain a surprising freshness, thanks to the grape’s natural acidity.

Nero d’Avola’s richness and hearty structure make it a match for equally robust dishes. Traditional Sicilian cuisine is a natural choice: think pasta alla Norma, caponata, or hearty meat dishes. Spiced lamb or rich tomato-based dishes also work beautifully with Nero d’Avola, showcasing the grape’s versatility and its Sicilian charm.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Norton, often referred to as the “Cabernet of the Ozarks,” is a red grape variety that holds the honor of being North America’s oldest native grape. This resilient grape thrives in the Midwest United States, particularly in Missouri and Virginia, where it stands up well against disease and adverse weather conditions.

Norton wines are deeply colored and known for their strong tannic structure. They often exhibit a distinctive profile of dark fruit, like blackberry and cherry, accompanied by earthy and spicy undertones. These wines can benefit from aging, allowing their flavors to mellow and harmonize over time.

Norton’s bold character makes it a fitting pairing alongside hearty dishes. Consider barbecue meats, stews, or strong cheeses, which can stand up to Norton’s pronounced tannins and deep fruit flavors, offering a genuine taste of American viniculture.

Red Wine Grape Icon

Pinot Meunier

Pinot Meunier is a red grape variety, cherished for its vital role in the world of Champagne. While it might play second fiddle to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in terms of reputation, Pinot Meunier is a critical contributor to the region’s classic blends, providing fruitiness and approachable charm. The wines produced from Pinot Meunier often exhibit a plush fruit-forward profile with notes of red berry fruits like strawberry and raspberry, rounded out by earthy undertones. Its charm lies in its early-ripening nature and ability to flourish in cooler conditions, a trait that makes it a dependable choice in the challenging Champagne climate.

Food pairings that complement Pinot Meunier’s fruit-forward and fresh nature are varied. Seafood appetizers, light pasta dishes, or even poultry in a creamy sauce can be wonderful accompaniments. Of course, nothing pairs with Champagne-style wines quite like celebratory toasts and joyful gatherings.

Red Wine Grape Icon

Petit Sirah

Petit Sirah, also known as Durif, is a red grape variety that’s won acclaim, especially in California. Born of a cross between Syrah and Peloursin in the Rhône Valley, this grape found its true home in the Golden State’s sun-kissed vineyards, where it thrives in the hot, dry climate.

The wines from Petit Sirah are recognized for their inky deep color, bold tannins, and full-bodied character. Expect an intense bouquet of dark fruits like blackberry and blueberry, interwoven with spice, pepper, and often a touch of dark chocolate. With its robust flavors and solid structure, Petit Sirah is a natural match for rich, hearty dishes. To create a harmonious gastronomic experience, pair it with slow-roasted meats, barbecued ribs, or strong cheeses.

Red Wine Grape Icon

Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is a red grape variety that, while originating in Bordeaux, has found considerable success in New World wine regions like California and Australia. Historically, Petit Verdot was used in small quantities to add color and structure to Bordeaux blends, but its late-ripening nature often proved challenging in Bordeaux’s cooler climate.

Petit Verdot wines are deeply colored, rich, and full-bodied, with firm tannins that lend well to aging. They often express flavors of dark fruit like blackberry and plum, layered with notes of violet, spice, and sometimes a hint of leather. When it comes to culinary pairings, Petit Verdot’s powerful tannic structure and rich flavors demand dishes of similar heft. Consider pairing it with hearty meat dishes, such as grilled steaks or lamb, or rich stews that can match the wine’s intensity.

Red Wine Grape Icon

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the world’s most revered red grape varieties, originating from the Burgundy region in France but thriving in many regions around the globe today. Its elegance, versatility, and ability to express terroir make it a favorite among both wine enthusiasts and winemakers.

Wines made from Pinot Noir tend to be lighter-bodied, with a delicate balance of fresh red fruit flavors like strawberry and raspberry, nuanced by earthy undertones, floral notes, and often a subtle hint of spice. The grape’s thin skin results in lighter tannins and color, yet it is notoriously difficult to cultivate and vinify, demanding perfect conditions and careful handling.

Food-wise, Pinot Noir is one of the most flexible red wines due to its lighter body and high acidity. It pairs beautifully with a range of foods—from roasted poultry to salmon, mushroom-based dishes, or even a classic beef Bourguignon.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut and a red grape variety that has become South Africa’s signature grape. Created in the 1920s by viticulturist Abraham Izak Perold, Pinotage struggled to gain recognition initially but has since evolved to be a distinct, proud representation of South African winemaking. Wines made from Pinotage exhibit bold, robust flavors with high tannins and an abundance of dark fruit characteristics. Notes of blackberry, plum, and sometimes a unique hint of banana, are complemented by a smoky, earthy undertone, offering a complex palate experience.

Pairing Pinotage with food invites a celebration of bold flavors. Think slow-cooked barbecued meats, hearty stews, or game dishes that mirror the wine’s robust character. Even spiced dishes, like a traditional South African bobotie, can offer an exciting, harmonious pairing.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Primitivo is a red grape variety indigenous to Italy, specifically to the Puglia region in the heel of Italy’s boot. Its genetic twin across the Atlantic is known by another name: Zinfandel. Both grapes share the same Croatian parentage, adding a layer of intrigue to this sun-loving grape. Primitivo wines are typically high in alcohol and full-bodied, offering a generous, fruit-forward profile. Expect a burst of dark berry flavors, such as blackberry and ripe cherry, along with hints of spice, licorice, and often a touch of smoky, savory undertones.

Primitivo holds its own with rich, flavorful dishes. Consider pairing it with hearty Italian fare—think lasagna or a meat-based ragù. Spicy sausages or smoked meats can also complement the bold, ripe flavors of Primitivo

Red Wine Grape Icon


Sangiovese is a red grape variety that forms the backbone of many distinguished Italian wines, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Its roots are deep-seated in the central Italian regions of Tuscany and Umbria, but it’s also grown in California, Argentina, and Australia.
Sangiovese is known for its bright acidity, medium to high tannins, and flavors that can range from tart red cherries to savory notes of herbs, tobacco, and spices. Its versatility in the vineyard and winery allows for a spectrum of styles, from youthful, fresh wines to robust, age-worthy expressions.

On the culinary front, Sangiovese’s high acidity and savory profile make it an ideal partner for a variety of dishes. From classic Italian pizzas and pastas to grilled meats or a rustic Tuscan stew, the grape’s inherent versatility shines

Red Wine Grape Icon

St. Laurent

St. Laurent is an aromatic red grape variety primarily grown in Austria, where it is considered one of the most important red grape varieties, alongside Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. The grape’s name hints at its early ripening nature, typically around the feast day of St. Lawrence on August 10th. St. Laurent wines are characterized by their deep, dark color and pronounced cherry flavor. The wines also express soft, velvety tannins, medium to high acidity, and intriguing notes of spice, often with a touch of earthiness, which can add complexity to these inviting red wines.

On the food pairing front, St. Laurent’s inherent acidity and medium body make it versatile with many dishes. Traditional Austrian cuisine, such as Wiener schnitzel or tafelspitz, are excellent choices. It’s also amenable to game dishes, mushroom-based plates, or a simple, flavorful sausage platter.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Syrah, also known as Shiraz in Australia and South Africa, is a robust and versatile red grape variety originating from the Rhône Valley in France. It has since found success in many other regions of the world, including Australia, California, Washington State, and South Africa.

Syrah wines can vary tremendously based on the climate and soil of the region they’re grown in. Cooler climate Syrah, like those from Northern Rhône, tend to be more structured and savory, with flavors of blackberry, black pepper, and often a distinct note of olive tapenade. Warmer climate Syrah, such as those from Australia or California, lean towards riper, fruit-forward expressions with jammy blackberry, plum, and licorice flavors, often coupled with chocolate and sweet spice undertones.

If you’re wondering about food companions for Syrah, look for dishes that can match its rich flavors and substantial body. Lamb dishes, whether roasted or in a hearty stew, can be particularly harmonious. Syrah also pairs well with grilled meats, game, and rich vegetarian dishes like lentil stews or eggplant Parmesan.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Tannat is a high-tannin red grape variety originally from the Madiran region of Southwest France. It’s also the signature grape of Uruguay, where it was introduced in the late 19th century and has since thrived, gaining international recognition for the country’s wine production.

Tannat wines are typically full-bodied, with high levels of tannins and notable acidity. Flavor-wise, they can offer a complex mix of dark fruit like blackberry and plum, alongside subtler notes of smoke, dark chocolate, and often a hint of spice. Due to their tannic structure, these wines have excellent aging potential.

Tannat’s high tannins and robust flavors call for rich, hearty dishes. Think along the lines of steak, game, or other red meats, preferably grilled or roasted. For vegetarians, consider hearty dishes with lentils, mushrooms, or other robustly flavored vegetables. This can help balance out the wine’s tannic structure, creating a harmonious combination.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Tempranillo is a noble red grape variety that is predominantly grown in Spain, where it forms the backbone of the renowned Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines. It has also found a home in Portugal’s Douro Valley (known there as Tinta Roriz), and in regions as varied as California and Australia.
Tempranillo wines are typically medium- to full-bodied with moderate acidity and tannins. The flavor profile can include red fruits like strawberries and cherries when young, developing into more complex notes of tobacco, leather, and dried fig with age. Tempranillo is also often aged in oak, which can impart flavors of vanilla and coconut.

Tempranillo pairs beautifully with a wide variety of foods due to its balanced nature. Traditional Spanish dishes, particularly those involving lamb or jamón ibérico, are a natural fit. For a vegetarian option, consider a hearty paella or a dish with robust flavors like smoked eggplant.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Teroldego is a lesser-known but highly-prized red grape variety indigenous to the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy. Specifically, it’s the star of the small, sun-drenched Teroldego Rotaliano DOC, where it thrives in the mineral-rich soils of the area. Teroldego wines are deeply colored with a full body, vibrant acidity, and firm tannins. They are prized for their pronounced flavors of dark cherries and blackberries, complemented by hints of cocoa, earth, and often a distinctive mineral streak. Over time, Teroldego can evolve in the bottle to develop complex tertiary notes of leather and spice.

When considering food pairings, think about hearty dishes that can stand up to Teroldego’s robust character. It’s a classic match with speck, a smoked ham from its home region. Also consider other cured meats, robust pasta dishes, or a simple grilled steak. Vegetarian dishes with earthy mushrooms or hearty legumes can also work wonderfully with Teroldego.

Red Wine Grape Icon

Touriga Nacional

Touriga Nacional is a thick-skinned red grape variety that serves as the cornerstone of Portugal’s premium wine production. Originally from the Dão region, it’s also a key grape in the Douro Valley, where it contributes to the iconic Port wines and increasingly impressive dry reds. Wines made from Touriga Nacional are known for their deep, dark color and concentrated flavors of black fruits like blackberry and cassis, often laced with floral notes such as violets and bergamot. The wines usually have robust tannins, high acidity, and are often aged in oak, which can add layers of spice and vanilla.

Touriga Nacional’s powerful profile works best with equally bold dishes. Traditional Portuguese cuisine like braised lamb, hearty stews or spicy sausages are excellent choices. If you’re looking for a vegetarian pairing, try a dish with robust flavors and textures, like a mushroom risotto or a hearty vegetable stew, to stand up to this powerful wine.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Trousseau is a red grape variety native to the Jura region of Eastern France. While not as globally well-known as some of its French brethren, it’s cherished by enthusiasts for its unique expression. Moreover, it’s gained a foothold in regions such as Portugal (where it’s known as Bastardo) and in pockets of California’s wine country. Wines produced from Trousseau are often light-bodied and delicate in color, yet packed with a surprising depth of flavor. Expect a core of red fruit like strawberry and cherry, underscored by a savory, earthy quality, and sometimes hints of spice. Its high acidity makes it refreshingly drinkable.

Trousseau’s balanced nature makes it quite versatile for food pairings. It shines with lighter meats like chicken or duck, and can also work well with fatty fish like salmon. For vegetarians, a beetroot salad or a mushroom-based dish could complement the wine’s earthy undertones. The wine’s moderate tannin level makes it flexible and forgiving with a variety of dishes.

Red Wine Grape Icon


Zinfandel is a versatile red grape variety that’s become something of an American icon, primarily grown in California. Despite its U.S. fame, the grape’s roots trace back to Croatia (where it is known as Crljenak Kaštelanski) and Italy (as Primitivo). Zinfandel wines can range from light and fruity to dense and jammy, depending on the winemaker’s style and the specifics of the vineyard. They typically offer a bountiful fruit profile, showcasing flavors like blackberry, cherry, plum, and sometimes tropical fruits in warmer climates. These wines often carry a signature peppery spice and are frequently aged in American oak, which lends flavors of vanilla and coconut.

Zinfandel’s bold nature and fruity sweetness make it a natural partner for barbecued meats and spicy dishes. Think pulled pork, spicy BBQ chicken, or even a tangy vegetarian chili. Its rich fruitiness can balance out spice and smoky flavors, and its sturdy structure can hold up against heartier fare. The wine’s versatility doesn’t stop there – lighter, more fruit-forward styles can even complement lighter dishes like pasta with red sauce or margherita pizza.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wine Grape Varieties

You are reading “List of White & Red Wine Grape Varieties” Back To Top

types of wine grapes, Vitis vinifera, hybrid grape varieties: educational wine articles & guides

If you enjoyed this guide, make sure you register to become a Winetraveler for free! You’ll get access to all of our content and interact with other Winetravelers and for travel inspiration around the world. Be sure to follow along with us on Twitter and Instagram as we continue to feature more exciting destinations.

Get Articles Like These Directly in Your Inbox!

Subscribe to Winetraveler and receive notifications when new articles are published. It's free!