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ALICANTE-ALICANTE BOUCHET is a red-fleshed grape that must be blended with other varieties. Even though the wine is very intense in color, the wine has very little acid and actually is light in body. A little Alicante in any blend will add some nice color.
BARBERA is a grape that has a high level of natural acid but low tannins when fully ripe. Its wine can be intense but with medium bouquet and flavor. Blending Barbera with Petite Sirah or other high tannin wines could make a truly great wine.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON with its remarkable concentration of tannins, pigments and flavor pigments it will produce deeply colored rigorous wines whose bouquet will only improve with age. For a wine that will mature sooner, do some blending with varieties with lower tannins and maybe a little more fruit.
CABERNET FRANC wine is typically light to medium bodied with more fruit flavors and less tannins than a Cabernet Sauvignon. It will, therefore, mature earlier. It is great for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties.
CARIGNANE is another variety that should be blended. It has good acidity, tannins, and color but lacks flavor and charm. It is great to blend with stronger flavored varieties like a Syrah or Zinfandel to make a little lighter smoother wine.
GRENACHE is used mainly for blending and the making of Rose and Blush Wines in California. If it is blended with a variety that has good color, it can produce a fruity, spicy, medium-bodied wine. The grapes usually have high sugar and Grenache can strengthen a wine with potential low alcohol.
MERLOT is a medium acid wine that is soft and mild and is easy to drink when it is young. Color can range dark to light red. A great blender for the stronger flavored high acid and high tannin varieties.
MISSION is the first variety planted in California. It usually has high sugar and low acid. The grape must be blended to attain any color. It is a great grape to help make a sweet wine.
PETIT SIRAH produces a wine that is long-lived and deep colored with lots of tannin. It is a dry wine that has a very distinctive, recognizable flavor. A little Petit Sirah in any wine will add flavor, body and color to the wine.
PINOT NOIR produces a fine wine with a pleasant fruitiness that has lower levels of tannin and color. The grapes are so versatile that they are also used to make champagne.
RUBY CABERNET grapes were developed as a combination of Carignane and Cabernet Sauvignon. It produces a fine varietal wine.
SANGIOVESE or BRUNELLO grapes form the basis for Chianti wines. The wines have noticeable tannins and acidity with just fair color. The riper grapes produce a wine that has great plum flavors and leathery texture.
SIRAH-SHIRAZ is a wine that is spicy and leathery with smooth tannins and subtle texture. It can be drunk when it is young or it can be aged. It is a great grape to blend with the Cabernets.
VALDEPINA or TEMPRANILLO grapes are thick skinned and capable of making a deep colored long lasting wine with low acid. Great to blend with a more flavorful variety.
ZINFANDEL or PRIMITIVO – makes a dry, sturdy vigorous red wine. The wine usually has a great fruity bouquet with medium acid. A blend with Petit Sirah is just excellent. White Zinfandel is made from the low sugared early harvest Zinfandels.
CHARDONNAY – wine is the largest selling white wine. It makes a dry and fruity white wine with good bouquet. At good sugar levels the variety may be low in acid so a little blending with a high acid white is recommended. It is a great wine for aging in oak barrels.
CHENIN BLANC – is the most versatile grape variety. It is capable of producing some of the finest sweet wines, a pleasant dry varietal and a basis for many sparkling wines. It has good acid. A blend with a little Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc is excellent.
FRENCH COLUMBARD – makes a neutral flavored light white wine that can be made into a varietal because of its high acid. That high acid makes it a good blender
MALAGA – is a late maturing grape with medium sugar and low acid. It makes a dry, light wine. It should be blended for balance.
MALVASIA BIANCA – makes a tangy wine with a real substance and character. It has a slight Muscat flavor. As a varietal, a little sweetness is desired. It is great blended with Muscat Canelli, Palomino, or Trebbiano.
MUSCAT (OF ALEXANDER) – is the common Muscat grape that is readily available. It makes a strong wine, sometimes sweet, with a strong Muscat bouquet and flavor.
MUSCAT CANELLI – makes a wine with a concentration of fine Muscat grape flavor, light in body with a nice bouquet. It can be a dry, but you will enjoy the wine a lot more, if it is made slightly sweet. In Italy it is used as the basis for Asti Spumante.
PALOMINO is a grape that is usually low in sugar and acid. Since the wine can oxidize easily, the Palomino is used quite often to make sherry. For dry wines it is a good blender for other varieties that have high sugar and acid.
PINOT GRIGIO – grapes are grayish blue to brownish pink. They produce a very light, crisp, white wine with mild flavors that is getting very popular worldwide.
SAUVIGNON BLANC – makes both a great dry and sweet varietal wine. It is light and racy with a piercing, easily recognizable, aroma. It is a great blender with Semillon and Chenin Blanc.
THOMPSON SEEDLESS – grapes are mainly used for raisins or table grapes. For wine making it should be blended with other white varieties. It can be blended with red varieties to make a Rose.
UGNI BLAND-ST. EMELION-TREBBIANO – grapes are planted world wide so extensively that it probably produces more wine than any other grape. As a varietal, its wine is light, white, and crisp, with good acid but not much flavor. It is a very good blender.
VIOGNIER – makes a floral and spicy white wine, medium to full-bodied and very fruity. The wine has deep yellow color and is low in acid. It should be made as a varietal. It can be drunk at a very young age.
66% Old Vine Zinfandel – 16% Carignane – 16% Petit Sirah
66% Petit Sirah – 33% Pinot Noir
66% Sirah or Petit Sirah – 17% Zinfandel – 17% Alicante
66% Old Vine Zinfandel – 33% Alicante
75% Cabernet Sauvignon – 25% Merlot
60% Cabernet Sauvignon – 40% Sangiovese —- Tuscany Blend
40% Cabernet Sauvignon – 30% Sangiovese – 30% Merlot —- Super Tuscany Blend
75% Cabernet Sauvignon – 25% Cabernet Franc
65% Cabernet Sauvignon – 15% Cabernet Franc – 15% Malbec – 5% Petit Verdot
66% Alicante – 16% Barbera – 16% Zinfandel
50% Zinfandel – 20% Carignane – 15% Petit Sirah – 15% Grenache
66% Ruby Cabernet – 33% Alicante
55% Cabernet – 40% Zinfandel – 5% Barbera
80% Cabernet – 20% Barbera
50% Alicante – 50% Petit Sirah
75% Zinfandel – 25% Carignane
75% Merlot – 25% Cabernet Sauvignon
66% Sangiovese – 16% Alicante – 16% Zinfandel
25% Cabernet Sauvignon – 75% Sangiovese —- Tuscany Blend
15% Cabernet Sauvignon – 70% Sangiovese – 15% Merlot —- Super Tuscany Blend
40% Sangiovese – 40% Primitive (Zinfandel) -20% Carignane
33% Grenache – 33% Sangiovese – 33% Alicante
16% Grenache – 34% Carignane – 34% Zinfandel – 16%Alicante
50% Alicante – 50% Grenache