Grape Variety Profiles

Get to know the personality of Wine Grape Varieties from around the World


Hola, My Name is… Tempranillo

My amigos often call me… Tinto Fino, Aragonez, Cencibel, Tempranilla, Tinta de Toro, Tinta Roriz, Tinto del Pais, Ull de Llebre.

I have… skin as black as the ace of spades

I grew up in… under the Medditerrean sun in the regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero in Spain

I usually hung out with… Granacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell.

People most like me because… I’m trendy and everyone in the know wants to be associated to “the next big thing”. I became trendy because of my brains, rather than my brawn. I am very dark, intensely complex and a little spicy!!

I’d most like to live… I am not too fussy, but prefer moderate climates. I am not a huge fan of the heat.

I do my best work for… Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero. Here I am the King and primarily responsible for Spain’s top red wine, “Unico”. In 2004 a magnum of this prestigious wine was sold at auction for US$65,000.

I bet you didn’t know… as an important part of Port production in Portugal, I am one thing Spanish that the Portuguese actually embrace.

The celbrity most like me is… Will Smith, I’m not to everyone’s tastes, but you can’t deny I’m cool.


Bonjour, My Name is… Merlot

My friends often call me… Merlau, Vitraille, Crabutet, Bigney, Sémillon Rouge or Médoc Noir

I have… dark red (or noir) skin and white flesh

I grew up in… Bordeaux in the south-west of France, mainly on the Right Bank.

My parents told me never to mix with… Syrah, Grenache or any of the spicy gang

They did let me hang out with… Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and even some times Malbec and Petit Verdot

People most like me for… my sweet dark fruits flavours and softness. But I can also so them plenty of complex and interesting characters like herbs, black olives and sweet spice notes.

I most annoy others by… growing like a weed and rarely fulfilling my potential.

I’d most like to live… in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California, Hawkes Bay on the east coast of NZ, Margaret River in Western Australia or even the Coonawarra.

I do my best work with… Château Petrus! I am happy to work with Château Cheval and will work with any mug winemaker who is looking to flesh out their weedy Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

I bet you didn’t know… I am the third most planted red variety in the world and the fifth most planted in total.

The celebrity most like me is… Tom Hanks because, we are both smooth, loveable and dependable but not very trendy.

Chenin Blanc

Bonjour, My Name is… Chenin Blanc

My friends often call me… Steen, Pineau de la Loire, Gros-Pineau de Vouvray, Blanc d’anjou, Confort or Franc-Blanc

I have… white skin and white flesh

I grew up in… the Loire Valley on the central-west of France.

My parents told me never to mix with… my parents were very accepting. They let me play with any grape as long as they had white skin

I usually hung out with… Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon.

People most like me for… for my intense, if somewhat overt, racy nature. In a good year I can grow into some of the most luscious, delicious stickies in the World. I think sometimes, though, people just like me because I am cheap and cheerful.

I most annoy others by… by getting flabby and fruity, even a little boring, if grown in warm areas.

I’d most like to live… anywhere cold. But if you want me to yield you lots, grow me anywhere, give me lots of water and I’ll give you truck loads of fruit.

I do my best work with… the quality conscience folks in the central Loire Valley. There they treat me like a queen.

I bet you didn’t know… I am a large part of the success of the classic Western Australia wine, Houghton’s ‘White

The celebrity I am most like is… Lindsay Lohan, sometimes I am all class and sophistication, sometimes I am just embarrassingly tragic.