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As to follow-up the Italian black grapes post, other countries around the world have their own local grapes which are of importance to them. Known & less known to wine lovers across the globe, these reflect the unique terroirs they’re produced in.
Gamay – Gamay originates from the Beaujolais wine region, South of Burgundy, France. It loves the moderate climate its grown in. It’s a grape with medium-high acidity, light-medium body, light tannins with red fruit & spice. Gamay is a wine that needs to be drunk & even lightly chilled as it’s a perfect all-pleaser. Within the Beaujolais, the Cru’s will undergo some bottle aging before release. Great with chicken, turkey or pork. Meaty stews will go well too or even a charcuterie with fatty cured meats.
Tempranillo – Grown across Spain, with the most important wine regions Rioja, Ribera Del Duero & Navarra, Tempranillo is often blended with the other Spanish grape Garnacha, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. It has medium acidity, tannins, medium-full body with red fruit flavours. Oak aging will add toast & sweet spice like vanilla & coconut. You may find some Tempranillo in Portugal too, under the names of Tinta Roriz & Aragonez. Other Spanish names are Tinto Del Toto, Tinta Fina & Tinta Del Pais. Tempranillo wine goes well with roasted vegs, BBQ, cured meats & Mexican food.
Touriga Nacional – The typical depth in colour, high in acidity & tannins with black fruit & spice are the characteristics of this Portuguese grape. The most important region for this grape is Douro, where you will often find this grape blended with other local varieties. Fatty foods, meat, soft cheeses & spicy food will go well.
Pinotage – Family of the Pinot Noir, but prefers the more medium-hot climates. Produced in South-Africa this full body, medium tannins with red fruit & leather with tobacco flavours wine goes well with rich fatty meats, lamb & other red meats.
Carmenere – Originally from Bordeaux, France, Carmenere is now widely planted in Chile. It loves hot regions like Aconcagua, where it develops a deep colour with medium-high acidity, tannins, full body with high alcohol & red fruits. Its often blended with Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. Food wise, white meat, stews, lamb roasted vegs & soft-medium cheeses will do.
Zinfandel – Produced in California, USA, this is a big, bold, full body red high in alcohol. It has black fruits, dried fruit, liquorice & sweet spice flavours. You can also find Rosés of this grape, with the name White Zinfandels. Other names for this grape is the Italian version Primitivo. With food, think bold. Red meat & BBQ.
Read more about other world whites here.