A Majestic Mystery Tour: Grape Varieties 101

Lovely Grapes!

Laure Soeters, Majestic Wine Training Manager, helps you to tell your Pinot from your Piquepoul…

This month, we’re taking a whistle stop tour through some well-known grape varieties as well as some that are more obscure but becomingly increasingly popular.

And don’t forget, there are always wines to try on the tasting counter at every Majestic store, so pop in and chat to your local staff, who’ll grab any excuse to share their passion with you.

Argentina’s signature grape variety is hugely popular in the UK, and with good reason. Attractive wild berry and bramble notes join sweet spice and a rich, velvety texture.

This well-known grape variety produces easy-drinking, softly textured reds displaying berries and plum fruit. Chilean examples are usually very ripe, rounded and fruit focused.

The thin-skinned nature of this grape results in wines with soft, light tannins and seldom deep in colour. Expect perfumed notes of red cherries, raspberries and strawberries.

Otherwise known as Syrah, Shiraz is thought to be one of the oldest grape varieties in the world. It is typically deep in colour, with blackcurrant and black pepper characters, menthol note.

Widely planted throughout the world, Sauvignon Blanc tends to display green characters reminiscent of freshly cut grass and gooseberry, matched by a refreshingly crisp acidity.

A popular light and crisp style of wine. The tendency is to harvest grapes early to retain acidity and avoid the development of too much fruit. Citrus, pear and floral notes prevail.

This grape is used in the production of Cava, where it’s blended with other grape varieties. The trademark character is distinctly that of apples, as you’ll find in this popular Spanish still white wine, where it is blended with the Garnacha Blanca grape variety.

This increasingly popular grape variety produces light-bodied wines with zesty lemon, lime and green apple notes and extremely high acidity; so much so that the literal translation is ‘lip stinger’.

In warmer regions, such as these examples from Down Under, Chardonnay tends to be slightly fuller bodied, with characters leaning melon, peach and spice.


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