There are literally thousands of varietals of grapes grown around the world, plus about a thousand more waiting to be discovered. Some are grown for wine, some are grown for juice, but each tells a story of the land it comes from. The varietal is the actual grape from which a wine or juice is made but not the name of the wine itself.
For instance, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are both varietals as they are the type of grape but a red Bordeaux is made of both of those (plus others) and therefore is named differently, in this case it’s named for the region from which it comes.
With so many different regions discovering and producing new and traditional wines around the world, we thought we’d round up the most common varietals and discuss them.
Are you surprised? Maybe you saw this coming.
Five of the six noble grapes are represented here, which isn’t shocking, as their nobleness does tend to make them the most popular.
You’ve also probably heard of the Tempranillo– we sure have talked about it plenty here- and it’s rise to fame as a solo red or a blending grape. Syrah is another that tends to be a common choice among red wine drinkers who want something that goes a little outside the norm but it’s considered a classic at this point and is well known throughout the globe.
Trebbiano Toscano has made its way up the ranks in the recent decades as a truly fantastic white. It’s extremely popular in Italy and France but it’s becoming widely known in other regions because of its ability to alter slightly based on the region it comes from, making it quite interesting and unique.
The 7th most common grape in the world is the Grenache, which has been said to be just as important to the wine community as the Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s got a lighter color that is unexpected compared to the fullness of the flavors, and has this unmistakable cinnamon taste that can only come from a Grenache. Three main regions are responsible for its growth, France, America, and Spain, and each one is distinct in its flavor profile.
And if there was anything on here you weren’t familiar with, it was most likely the Airen. Coming in at number three is actually Spain’s most widely planted grape, and is commonly used for Brandy. Some winemakers have realized its potential and have begun revitalizing the vines to make a slightly dry, refreshingly fruity white wine that is delicious on its own but is also used in many blends.
Unless someone finds a magical grape that changes the world, it’s highly unlikely that these ten will be toppled as the most common varietals, simply because of the history. They’ve been planted in so many places over the last few thousand years that it would be impossible to grow anything fast enough to compete. That being said, this top ten is pretty outstanding, so if you aren’t acquainted with any of them, we recommend heading to your favorite shop and picking them up as soon as you can.
What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?
The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
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