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Grape Varieties


Glossary terms

Gaglioppo (red)

The main red grape variety of Calabria in Italy's south, whose robust tannins and rich flavours, particularly around the town of Cirò, have earned it a reputation as 'the Barolo of the South'.

 

Gamay (red)

Gamay is the Beaujolais grape, and, as such, carries with it an innate inferiority complex next to the red burgundy grape, Pinot Noir. It's a pity because when it's good, Gamay can make a deliciously, gushingly juicy everyday red with a refreshing nip of acidity and flavours ranging from strawberry and cherry to hints of banana. In the ten Beaujolais crus, it's also capable of making a more serious, ageworthy red. Also grown with moderate success in the Loire, Switzerland and former Yugoslavia and known for some strange reason in California as Valdiguié.

What does it taste like?

  • bubblegum and banana
  • cherry and strawberry flavours


  • GAMAY, the beaujolais grape, is the gluggiest of all grape varieties, partly because of the carbonic maceration or whole berry fementation method used, which helps preserves the naturally refreshing juiciness of the variety. Carbonic maceration is responsible for a variety of aromas and flavours ranging from bubblegum and banana through to strawberry and cherry.

Garganega (white)

This is the classic white grape of Soave, notorious for its vapid character, although when made well from low-yielding, hillside vineyards, it can be delicately almondy and crisp.

 

Gewürztraminer (white)

One of the most distinctively perfumed grapes in the world, Gewürz is the Alsace grape which smells of fragrant rose petals and Turkish Delight and tastes of lychees.

Its boudoir spiciness make it an extremely popular wine with newcomers to wine, although it can be on the heavy side. In its late-harvest form, it makes deliciously rich, sweet, exotic whites. It can be difficult to get the balance right in the vineyard, but is widely grown in Europe, notably Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe as well as in small quantities in Chile, South Africa, Oregon, California, Australia and New Zealand too.

What does it taste like?

  • fragrant rose petal and lychee
  • dusting of Turkish Delight


  • Like walking into the perfume section of a department store, GEWURZTRAMINER is the grape variety with the most overt and recognisable range of aromas in the world. It smells of ginger and cinnamon, fragrant rose petals and pot pourri with a dusting of Turkish Delight and tastes of deliciously exotic lychees and mango. It is so spicy as to be instantly appealing, but its all-encompassing fragrance can rapidly pall.

Grechetto (white)

One of Italy's more characterful dry white grape varieties principally responsible for the slightly fennel-like Umbrian whites of Orvieto and also Vin Santo.

 

Greco (white)

Grape variety of Greek origin, hence the name, grown in Campania, the best examples of which are Greco di Tufo and Greco di Bianco.

 

Grenache/Garnacha (red)

One of the world's most widely planted grapes, Grenache is a quintessentially Mediterranean red variety which does best as a low yielding bush vine. It produces powerful, warming, raspberryish reds whose greatest expression, from old, low-yielding vines, is to be found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Château Rayas) in France and in Australia's Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

 It also makes good fortified reds as in Banyuls, Rivesaltes and Maury. Known in Spain as Garnacha tinta, where it's widely planted, particularly in Rioja and Priorat, it fleshes out the tempranillo. It's grown in California and in Italy too.

What does it taste like?

  • white pepper and raspberry
  • thyme and rosemary scents


  • The light-coloured GRENACHE is a quintessentially Mediterranean red variety and as a result it often mingles the classic Mediterranean garrigue scents of thyme, fennel and rosemary with white pepper and its warming, raspberryish fruit flavours. It tends to be low in tannin and hence soft and supple and, at its apogee in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it takes on heady aromas and spicy, robust fruit flavours which can border on the raisined.

Grignolino (red)

Native of the same north-western Italian alpine foothills as Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo, producing youthful, attractively scented, everyday reds.

 

Grillo (white)

Sicilian variety which has traditionally been used as the basis for the fortified wines of Marsala but also used to make a honeyed, still dry white with good acidity.

   

Grüner Veltliner (white)

Austria's most widely planted grape variety, where, in quality regions like the Wachau, Kamptal and Kremstal, it can produce an assertive, steely, rich dry white capable of rivalling the best Rieslings,.

Around Vienna it is used for the young 'Heurige' wines. It has a unique aroma and flavour with elements of white pepper and celery marking it out from any other variety. It's also grown to a certain extent in Slovakia and Hungary.

What does it taste like?

  • white peper and celery
  • an alluring herbiness


  • Austria's widely planted grape variety produce an assertive, steely, rich dry white with a unique aroma and flavour. For some it hints at white pepper and celery, while others prefer the descriptors of gherkins and dill. Either way, there's often an unusual, alluring herbiness in what, at its best, can be an excellent, steely dry white.


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Glossary terms