Vines, Grapes and Wines A – C
Black grape, grown extensively in the south of France and a little in California. It has never been used for fine wines, but it can be useful as it is very prolific in yield. It tends to lack colour, so that growers find it necessary to use some other grape that will serve to tint the must. Other names for the Aramon include Ugni Noir and Pisse-vin.
A black grape, much cultivated in Italy, where it is used in many blends and also for the wines that bear its name. It is especially successful in Piedmont, where the Barberas of Asti, Monferrato and Alba are well known. Barbera makes good red wines, though sometimes they need age to shed their astringency. Some petillant and slightly sweet Barberas may also be found locally.
Classed 5th growth of Pauillac making very firm, full wine.
Local name used in Chablis for the Chardonnay grape.
Blanc de blancs
Literally ‘white from whites’, that is, a white wine made only from white grapes. The term is mainly associated with such Champagnes as are made solely from the Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc grapes and are very light and elegant; what might be categorised as ‘morning Champagnes’. Unfortunately the fictional character James Bond made this type of Champagne very fashionable – although he knew little about wine – and it is by no means invariably ‘the best’. As a result, many other wines make more use of the term nowadays; sometimes absurdly, as with a straight Sauvignon labelled blanc de blancs. How could a white wine, made from one white grape, be anything else?
Blanc de noirs
A white wine made from black grapes. As most grape juice is vaguely grapefruit-juice colour (the only exceptions being certain types of grapes known as teinturiers and not widely used), it is quite possible to make a white wine from black grapes if the skins of the grapes are not allowed to tint the must. In the Champagne region, such a wine may sometimes be found, the most notable being some of the wines of Ay. There has recently been a vogue for white still wines made from the Cabernet Sauvignon or other black grapes, notably in South Africa.
Although other names are Oporto in Hungary, and Oporto Rebe in Germany, this black grape is of Austrian origin. It appears to be cultivated in various regions, including the Tarn. It can also be used as a table grape.
This black grape, possibly originating in Burgundy, is a late ripener as its name implies. It was first planted in Germany in the 14th century.
Red wine from the Brescia region in Lombardy, Italy, between the lakes of Iseo and Garda. Philip Dallas reports that it can contain up to 15% of wine from other regions and also several different grapes from Piedmont, the Alto Adige and Tuscany.
Local name in the St Emilion region of Bordeaux for the Cabernet grape. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the Petit Bouchet, the Cabernet Franc the Gros Bouchet. Do not confuse this name with Bouschet, the surname of a man who evolved a number of hybrid vines, used for bulk cropping.
Classed 3rd growth of Margaux, the wine itself being made at Ch. Pouget.
Classed 4th growth of St Julien, now owned by M. Tapie, formerly in the wine business in Algeria.
Brane-Cantenac (Pronounced ‘Bran’) Classed 2nd growth of Cantenac-Margaux, which was bought and developed by Baron de Brane at the beginning of the 19th century. It has the A.O.C. Margaux.
Name given to the Cabernet Franc grape in Touraine, supposedly because in the 17th century Cardinal Richelieu’s intendant in the region was the Abbe Breton, who had vine cuttings sent up from Bordeaux to improve the vineyards.
Bual, Boat (Pronounced ‘Bwahl’) The second version of the name is the Portuguese spelling. This is one of the Madeira grapes, making a full, opulent wine, usually deep brown in tone, with a luscious style.
Grape grown for wine in South Africa, where it makes an unusually scented white wine.
The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Franc are two of the great red wine grapes of the world, being used in the Bordeaux region. The Cabernet Franc is used for the finer red wines of the Loire. They are cultivated in many other parts of the world, including the U.S., South Africa and Australia, as well as in other European countries. If the term ‘Cabernet’ is used on an eastern European wine label, this usually means the Cabernet Franc. The two grapes make quite different styles of wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives the backbone and nobility to claret, makes firm, sinewy, lengthy wines; the Cabernet Franc makes very fresh, lightly fruity, crisp wines with pronounced colour.
The Italian and German name of the wines made around the Lago di Caidaro in the Alto Adige region of Italy. The wines are red and highly reputed.
Classed 3rd growth of St Estephe and one of the larger properties. Its name comes from calon or calonne, the medieval French term for a skiff used as a ferry across the Gironde, and from the President de Segur, its owner in the 18th century. Although he owned Lafite and Latour as well, he always said his heart belonged to Calon – which is why there is a heart on the label. The wine is always a big one and you either like it very much or find it too assertive.
Classed 5th growth of the Medoc. Being in the commune of St Laurent, which has no separate A.O.C., it bears the A.O.C. Haut-Medoc. It is a wine seldom seen nowadays.
One of the black grapes used for Chianti.
Sardinian wine named after the grape from which it is made. There is a white wine of this name, but the red and rose, which may be either dry or slightly sweet, are possibly better known.
A 5th classed growth of the Medoc in the parish of Macau which, not having a specific A.O.C., necessitates the wine having the A.O.C. Haut-M£doc. The wine is very fine indeed, with all the fascination, charm and distinction of great claret, plus an elegance and subtlety typical of the vineyard. Under vines since the Middle Ages, the estate was run for over 60 years in this century by the late M. Pierre Dubos. He was famous in Bordeaux for his dedication and the way in which he kept a detailed record of each day’s temperatures, every procedure relating to the vines and wine. The property is one of the most liked and respected in the Medoc. It is now run by M. Henri Binaud, head of the firm of Beyerman. The property of La Tour de Mons, at Soussans in Margaux, also belongs to the estate and makes good wines.
Classed 3rd growth of Cantenac-Margaux. The imposing chateau has nowadays no connection with the vineyard.
The district in the Mldoc adjoining Margaux, which is the commune to give its name to the A.O.C. Sometimes people are confused because properties such as Brane-Cantenac, Palmer, Kirwan, and Le Prieure are referred to as being ‘Cantenac’ although they bear the A.O.C. ‘Margaux’. This is because these vineyards have been permitted to use the commune name Margaux since 1954.
Carignan, Carignane, Carinena
This black grape is apparently of Spanish origin, coming from Aragon. But it is much cultivated in the south of France today, in the French Mediterranean regions, and also in northern regions of Spain. It is of enormous importance in California. It was said to be the most planted grape in France in 1968 and the second most important in California. It is much used in blends of grapes and appears to yield well, providing a slight toughness to the ultimate wine; personally, I often detect a slightly ‘tarry’ after taste from this grape. It does not make wines of finesse and quality, except in certain blends, but can provide sturdiness and a defined, well-coloured style in medium priced wines.
Black grape at one time planted in significant proportions in many of the finer vineyards in Bordeaux, but nowadays seldom included there.
White wine grape used in Sicily.
Carruades de Chateau Lafite
Wine made at Chateau Lafite, but from vines that have not yet reached complete maturity. It is always a good wine, but by no means cheap. But it should never be confused with the grand vin that is Lafite.
Sicilian grape, used in the blends of Marsala as well as for some Sicilian table wines.
This grape is native to the U.S. Where, about 1823. it was discovered on the banks of the Catawba River, in North Carolina. It is a light pink in colour and the wines it makes – white, red. Pink and sparkling – have a full, almost musky scent. Catawba wines became widely known in the 19th century and, although authorities seem hesitant to grade the grape and its wines as more than averagely pleasant, it yields wines that have been and are popular.
A red wine, crisp and high in acidity, light in character, from a small vineyard near Saumur in the Loire valley.
Sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Pinot Chardonnay, this is the great white grape of the fine white Burgundies, and of Champagne. It is also grown in many other parts of the world.
One of the great white wine grapes of the world, this is best known in France for the wines it makes along the Loire, varying from dry to very sweet, still to sparkling. Its local name there is Pineau de la Loire. It is also widely cultivated in many New World vineyards, where it seems to be used mostly for making dry or medium dry wines, although some sweet examples are also to be found. For me. The Chenin Blanc has an individual fragrance that I describe as ‘honey and flowers’. The fresh, flowery initial smell has an d underlying soft, honeyed note, even with the dry wines, rather evocative of the clover florets that children suck.
Chiaretto del Garda
Red and rose Italian wines from Lombardy. Some of them are made from the Merlot grape, others from a combination of Italian wine grapes. They are light in style and are often served cool.
Local name in the Valtelline region of Italy for the Nebbiolo grape.
Black grape, used extensively in the Rhone Valley, also planted in California, where its name is the Black Malvoisie. In South Africa, it is called Hermitage and is of considerable importance, also Australia. .
Name used in Australia for the Mauzac grape.
This is a white grape grown for centuries in many Mediterranean countries, where it makes a variety of wines, sweet and dry, and at one time was much used for vermouth. The full name is apparently Clairette Pointue or Clairette Verte. Should not be confused with the Australian name.
(Clairet) Not the same as claret, this means a pinkish wine from the Bordeaux region. Its production is governed by regulations. It can be a pleasant picnic or light meal wine, but no more. It is rarely exported.
Grape that may be used for Chianti.
This white grape was first planted in the Charente region of France. The authority on grapes, Lucie Morton, says that its wines appealed to the Dutch, who were trading with the area, more than the wines made from the established Foile Blanche. It is still used for Cognac and, in the Bordeaux area, is planted in the white wine regions of Entre-Deux-Mers and Blaye. It is also used in California.
This grape belongs to the Vitis labrusca strain. It is deep red and the majority of New York State vineyards are planted with it. The wines it makes are soft, both red and white, and very perfumed. It is used a great deal in the kitchen for making sweet dishes and as a flavouring, and it has become popular because of its use in making kosher wines.
Swiss red wine from Neuchatel.
Swiss name for the Pinot Noir.
Italian grape, used to make the dry, white Gavi Cortese in Piedmont.
Wine made in the Oltreod Pavese region of Italy.
The still wines of the Champagne region which, since 1974, have received their own A.O.C. Subject to strict controls, they cannot simply be made from any grapes or wines left over after Champagne is made. The proportion allowed to be made into Coteaux Champenois from the various vineyard regions is decreed by the C.I.V.C.
Most are white, made from the Chardonnay, but there are some red wines, notably those of Bouzy, Cumieres, Ambonnay, Ay, Dizy, Rilly, Verzenay and Ville dommange. Sometimes the Coteaux Champenois are put into bottles sealed with an ordinary cork; some use a crown cork: a few even have the agrafe still clipping down the first cork, because the wine always tends to have an innate liveliness. In style, both white and red are rather big. Assertive and, perhaps, somewhat lacking in subtlety. They are never cheap. As obviously the Champagne winemakers can, in good years, earn more from their wines if these are the sparkling type, the quantity of still wine is seldom great, but it enjoys a novelty value. In years when the vintage is sparse, most of the wine is needed for Champagne and little Coteaux Champenois will be made.
Vine used to make some of the red and pink wines of Lombardy, Italy, notably Frecciarossa.