Red wine grapes
4 Sep 2008 by Jancis Robinson

Please note that italics refer to grape varieties that have their own entries in this guide to hundreds of the most significant grapes currently grown around the world to produce red, and pink, wine.

Abouriou, minor variety in South West France which was also known as Early Burgundy in California.

Agiorgitiko, Nemea's St George, which can make substantial, very fruity Greek reds and some good rosé.

Aglianico, increasingly admired, deep, dark, late-ripening, densely graphite-scented grape most famously inspiring Taurasi of Campania and Aglianico del Vulture in Campania.

Aleatico, Italian vine making strangely grapey sweet reds. Also planted in New South Wales.

Alfrocheiro, deep-coloured northern Portuguese grape useful in blends.

Alicante Bouschet, often just called Alicante (which is also a Languedoc name for Grenache), red-fleshed grape once widely used to tint dilute southern French table wine, especially Aramon. Now found in Corsica, Tuscany, Calabria in southern Italy, Yugoslavia, Israel, North Africa, California, Portugal and Spain where it is known as Garnacha Tintorera. Vine breeder Henri Bouschet crossed one of his father's crossings with Grenache or Garnacha to produce this early-ripening variety in the late 19th century. Makes gutsy but short wine.

Aragonez, southern Portuguese name for Tempranillo.

Aramon, extraordinarily high-yielding, low-quality variety that dominated the plains of the Languedoc in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Replaced by Carignan in the 1960s.

Aspiran, historic Languedoc vine whose light, perfumed wine may still be blended in to Minervois.

Auxerrois, Cahors name for Malbec.

Baco Noir, Baco 1, French hybrid planted in north eastern America and Ontario to produce light reds untainted by 'foxy' flavours.

Baga, Bairrada's speciality, thick-skinned, small grapes producing some very tannic, acid wines in Northern Portugal.

Barbarossa, lively grape of Emilia-Romagna, known as Barberoux in Provence.

Barbera, the most common grape in north west Italy, where for long it was responsible for lightish, bitter cherry-flavoured wines with marked acidity. Produced at low yields and treated to barrel ageing it now makes exciting, if sometimes over-oaked, wines with more than a hint of nebbiolo's serious scent. About 15 times as much Barbera is grown in Piemonte than Nebbiolo. It is also widely grown in Lombardia, often blended with Bonarda, as well as in California, Mexico and Argentina.

Bastardo, undistinguished grape used in the Douro valley, port country.

Black Muscat, Muscat Hamburg.

Blau, Blauer, German for blue and a common prefix of red wine grape varieties.

Blauburger, Austrian crossing of Portugieser and Blaufränkisch making rather ordinary light reds.

Blauburgunder, Swiss German name for Pinot Noir.

Blauer Frühburgunder, early ripening strain of Pinot Noir, fashionable in parts of southern Germany.

Blauer Spätburgunder, an Austrian name for Pinot Noir.

Blaufränkisch, central European vine producing lively, fruity, sometimes peppery reds with sufficient substance in the best Burgenland examples to be worth oak ageing, or blending with Cabernet and/or Pinot Noir. It is called Limberger in Germany, Lemberger in Washington state, Franconia in Friuli, Gamé in Bulgaria (it was once confused with Gamay), Kékfrankos in Hungary and Frankovka in Slovakia and Vojvodina.

Bobal, Spanish vine making huge quantities of deeply coloured wine (and grape concentrate) on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It makes slightly crisper, lighter wine than Monastrell with which it is often grown.Known as Bovale in Sardinia.

Bonarda, Italian variety or, more accurately, three different varieties by the same name. Most common is the Lombardy version which is attractively juicy and the same as Croatina. Argentina's Bonarda is very widely planted and makes fruity wine for early drinking.

Bouchalès, minor variety in South West France.

Bouchet, name for Cabernet Franc in St-Emilion and in Bordeaux's other right bank districts. It is known as Bouchy in Madiran.

Brachetto, north western Italian making light, fizzy, strawberry-flavoured reds. Also known as Braquet in Provence, notably in Bellet.

Breton, the middle Loire name for Cabernet Franc.

Brocol, Braucol, Fer in Gaillac.

Brunello, Sangiovese clone developed in the Montalcino region.

Burgund Mare, Romanian name for Blaufränkisch.

Cabernet usually means Cabernet Sauvignon, although in north east Italy it can often mean Cabernet Franc since there is so much more of it.

Cabernet Dorsa, earlier ripening crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon with Dornfelder.

Cabernet Franc, important variety famous for playing second fiddle to Cabernet Sauvignon, even though it has shown it can make some extremely fine wines (notably in St-Emilion and the middle Loire) in its own right. With Sauvignon Blanc, it is the parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and looks very like it except that the leaves are much less indented. It is particularly well adapted to the Gironde right bank's cooler, damper climate where Cabernet Sauvignon can be difficult to ripen. Cabernet Franc buds and ripens earlier, which makes it more susceptible to coulure but it needs less heat to ripen fully. In left bank Bordeaux, on the other hand, it is seen, with Merlot, as a sort of insurance policy against a cool season. In very general terms, wine made from Cabernet Franc tends to be aromatically fruity, lighter and less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon and, especially in the Loire, can smell appetisingly of pencil shavings. It is often rather herbaceous, and can smell like unripe Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Franc is an ingredient in most of the reds of South West France, and often the sole inspiration for the fine, silky reds of the Middle Loire such as Saumur-Champigny, Bourgueil, Chinon, and Anjou-Villages. Cabernet Franc, sometimes Cabernet Frank, is widely grown in north east Italy and some Friuli examples are ripe enough to be thrilling. It is also grown over the border in Slovenia, although Cabernet Sauvignon is much more common in the rest of central Europe. See also Mencía.

In the New World, in most of which Cabernet Sauvignon can easily be ripened, Cabernet Franc is sometimes used in a blend to make up the holy Bordeaux trio, with Merlot (with which it has sometimes been confused in vine nurseries). Some varietal Cabernet Francs have emerged from Australia, South Africa and North and South America and shown just how appetizing this variety can be unblended - and how much more conveniently earlier-maturing than Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Franc really shines in cooler regions, however, such as Long Island in New York state, parts of Washington state and New Zealand.

Cabernet Sauvignon, the progeny of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, is the world's most famous red wine grape. The 'chocolate' to Chardonnay's 'vanilla', Cabernet is much more positively flavoured than Chardonnay, and ripens much later, so tends to be planted in rather warmer areas. The great distinction of the wine it produces is that it has a very powerful and recognizable aroma of blackcurrants wherever it is grown and, if matured in newish oak, can smell of cedar, cigar boxes and, sometimes, tobacco. Cabernet Sauvignon is also notable for being deep purple in youth and, while it is not especially alcoholic, it can be extremely long lived. This is because Cabernet Sauvignon's small, thick-skinned grapes have a very high ratio of solids rich in colouring matter and tannins to juice. If the grapes are anything less than fully ripe, however, the wine can smell of crushed green leaves, 'herbaceous', or more like Cabernet Franc. All of this means that Cabernet can make great wine, but that it is not necessarily the best grape for wines to be drunk young, particularly when grown in cooler climates.

Cabernet Sauvignon has long been planted all over the wine growing world. Contrary to popular belief Cabernet Sauvignon is not Bordeaux's most planted vine (see Merlot). Because it is relatively late ripening, it needs a warmer, drier environment than most of Bordeaux can provide to stand a commercially interesting chance of ripening fully. In Bordeaux, therefore, it is grown in the Entre-Deux-Mers region as well as in the well-drained gravels of the Médoc and Graves where it is invariably the chief constituent, but always blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and some­­times with Petit Verdot, in the world-famous classed growths. In the Médoc it is the main varietal component in St-Estèphes that are taut and austere in youth (although they are getting riper and more welcoming with every vintage); in the dense, mineral-scented Pauillacs; in many a lush, silky Margaux; and in the beautifully balanced yet long-lived St-Juliens. It brings crispness and long life to the wines of Graves and the suggestion of warm bricks common to several from Pessac-Léognan.

It is planted all round the greater Bordeaux region in those appellations grouped together as constituting South West France, out-tannined only by the Tannat grape of Madiran. Bergerac and Buzet are its chief strongholds.

Elsewhere in France there are growers who persist with it in the Loire (although Cabernet Franc is much easier to ripen), although most of the rest is in the south. In Provence it can blend beautifully with the spicier Syrah to make ambitious, oak-aged wines for the long term. In the Languedoc it all too often ripens less satisfactorily than in, say, the Médoc and tends to yield rather lean, hollow Vins de Pays, although an increasing proportion of seriously fine wine is made, notably in Cabardès and in small pockets of favoured land such as around Aniane.

Cabernet Sauvignon has been responsible for some of Italy's most ambitious wines, notably Supertuscans, in which it is happy blended with Sangiovese, but also bottlings from as far afield as Piedmont and Sicily. (Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in fairly hot regions as it retains its acidity well throughout its slow final ripening stage). There are also bottlings from as far afield as Piemonte and Sicily. (Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in fairly hot regions as it retains its acidity well throughout its slow final ripening stage.) Bottles from north east Italy described simply as 'Cabernet', however, almost certainly contain Cabernet Franc, rather than Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant Cabernet planted widely and enthusiastically in central Europe, however. It clearly has great potential in Moldova and the Ukraine, although Cabernet Severny's cold-resistance can make it more useful in Russia. Cabernet Sauvignon is extremely important to the wine industries of Bulgaria and Romania, and to a much lesser extent, Austria, Hungary and what was Yugoslavia.

Cabernet is rare in Portugal and relatively rare in Spain, although the variety is quite widely planted in Somontano and Navarra where it has shown how well it blends with Tempranillo (even though the two varieties have rather similar structures). In the hills of Penedès it has won considerable acclaim.

The variety does particularly well in the warmer Mediterranean regions, notably in Lebanon and Israel.

Many of South Africa's revered wines, and a few of her best, are Cabernets which have shown some satisfying regional variations. Cape winemakers, however, have tended to make 100 per cent Cabernets, unsoftened by Merlot or leavened by Cabernet Franc, as indeed was the initial effect of varietalism in California. California in general, and particularly Northern California, has made some great, glossy, ultra-ripe Cabernets, nowadays deliberately made from ripes that are so ripe that the level of tannin (if not alcohol) is virtually unnoticeable. Today there is growing understanding of the precise characteristics of various areas within Napa and Sonoma and how these are shown to best advantage. Much of the Napa Valley, other than the southern end, seems particularly well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon production and this will continue to be one of the world's most fruitful hunting grounds for lovers of super-ripe Cabernet that has the ability to age (though not nearly as long as Bordeaux). Many finer California Cabernets show a certain minty quality, others an earthiness. Blends made according to the Bordeaux recipe are sometimes called Meritage here. Washington's Merlot is generally more successful than its equally common Cabernet Sauvignon but there are som appetizing exceptions with extremely bright fruit. Cabernet may well have a future in Texas too, but has difficulty ripening in Oregon.

Cabernet cuttings were taken to South America long before the phylloxera pest struck well over a century ago and indeed the Chilean wine industry was built on this very important variety. (Chile's largest company Concha y Toro has claimed to be the world's most important owner of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.) Chilean Cabernet, most of it still ungrafted, has a particularly direct, fruity flavour, without the mintiness associated with parts of California and Australia.

Australia defined her perfect spot for Cabernet Sauvignon before consciously doing the same for any other variety: Coonawarra in the far south east of South Australia on a small and hotly disputed strip of terra rossa earth. These wines tend to have a noticeably high level of acidity as well, often, as some notes of eucalyptus, sometimes so powerful that the wines can seem closer to cold remedies in youth although the best age superbly. Margaret River in Western Australia also makes great, refined, complex Cabernet and there are fine examples of Australian Cabernet all over Victoria as well as in the Hunter Valley and elsewhere, although Shiraz is much more fashionable. Cabernet /Shiraz blends are an Australian staple and can work well.

New Zealand's Cabernet Sauvignon can be too herbaceous and acid by half but the best examples, most of them grown in the relatively warm climates of Hawkes Bay and Waiheke Island are increasingly ripe, thanks to global warming and improved viticulture. The Gimblett Gravels subregion of Hawkes Bay has a fair claim to be the southern hemisphere's answer to the Médoc.

China's recent wine-producing revolution has been based on extensive plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon (and Merlot) even if the results are mainly a little light and undistinguished.

In many wine regions, however, the necessarily slow evolution of Cabernet is being re-evaluated, often to the benefit of other, fleshier red varieties. It may be that in a decade or two, Cabernet will be more exclusively the preserve of the world's most ambitious winemakers.

Cabernet Severny, specially bred version of Cabernet Sauvignon designed to withstand Russia's harsh winters by incorporating Mongolian genes.

Cadarca, Romanian Kadarka.

Calabrese, Nero d'Avola.

Caladoc, recent southern French crossing of Grenache and Malbec.

Callet, Mallorcan speciality making quite light reds.

Canaiolo, decreasingly popular ingredient in the original Chianti recipe.

Cannonau, Sardinian name for Grenache.

Carignan, Carignane in the US, Carignano in Italy, and Cariñena in Spain, was for long the most important but, sadly, by no means the most distinguished, vine in France. It was chosen as replacement for the Aramon which perished in the frosts of 1956 and 1963 because it is extremely productive and buds late, so rarely suffers frost damage. It also ripens quite late however, so can only be grown in warm to hot climates, and produces tannic, quite acid wine too often marked by a coarse smell of hot berries. To counter these characteristic, most Carignan in the Languedoc-Roussillon, where it has dominated production even of appellation contrôlée wine, is vinified to maximise softness. Of all the thousands of acres of vines which have been ripped out in the Midi in an effort to curb Europe's wine surplus, Carignan is by far the major casualty. Carignan tends to be on low bushes unsuitable for mechanical harvesting. Very old vines, in really warm climates can produce deep coloured, warm, quite rich wine and there have been some creditable examples from California, Maule in Chile, and, especially, as Carignano del Sulcis in southern Sardinia. Carignan's origins are Spanish and it is still grown in Costers del Segre, Penedès, Tarragona and Terra Alta. Arguably the most complex wines made from Carignan are some Priorats. In Rioja it plays a minor part as Mazuelo and Samsó.

Carmenère, historic Bordeaux variety found widely today in Chile where it was long mistaken for Merlot. It is now forging its own more structured identity in Chile and is increasingly acknowledged in Bordeaux.

Carmenet, Médoc name for Cabernet Franc.

Carnelian, 1936 California crossing of Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon with Grenache. Designed to be a hot climate Cabernet, it is grown to a limited extent in California's Central Valley and in Texas.

Castelão, Portugal's versatile most-planted grape variety, variously known as Castelão Frances, Periquita, João de Santarém or Santarém and Mortágua Wines are fruity, relatively fleshy but can also be aged.

Catawba, deep pink-skinned grape grown widely in New York state where it produces strongly flavoured deep pink to light reds.

Cencibel, La Mancha and Valdepeñas name for Tempranillo.

Centurian, Carnelian's even less popular twin.

Cesanese, or Cesanese Affile, Latium vine now planted in Sicily too.

Chambourcin, French hybrid designed to thrive in damp climates. Popular in the Muscadet region and pioneered in a particularly hot, humid part of New South Wales by Cassegrain. The dark, aromatic wine shows no trace of any non-European vine parentage.

Chancellor, French hybrid grown in New York state.

Charbono, unusual California speciality produced as an occasional varietal in the Napa Valley.

Chenin Noir, an alternative name for Pineau d'Aunis.

Chiavennasca, Valtellina name for Nebbiolo.

Ciliegolo, cherry-flavoured grape planted in Central Italy.

Cinsaut, Cinsault, widely planted throughout southern France and Corsica (where it is now being ripped out at a great rate). With its lighter skins and soft perfume it is particularly suitable for rosés and fruity, early-drinking reds, although low yields are needed to eke out much flavour. It has the advantage over Grenache of being easy to pick by machine. Cinsaut is used to add perfume and fruit to wines such as Minervois and Corbières. The variety withstands drought well and has been important in North Africa, Lebanon, Israel and South Africa where it is most famous as a parent of Pinotage. In southern Italy it is known as Ottavianello.

Colorino, relatively rare Tuscan colouring grape.

Concord, the 'foxiest' and most powerfully non-European-scented American vine planted ex­tensively in New York state, and in Brazil.

Corvina, Corvina Veronese, the finest grape in Valpolicella and Bardolino (c.f. Rondinella and Molinara), particularly good for dried grape wines such as Amarone.

Côt, Cot, alternative name for Malbec.

Concord, the 'foxiest', most powerfully non-European-scented all-American vine variety planted extensively in New York state, and in Brazil. Used extensively for grape jellu and grape juice.

Couderc Noir, hybrid rapidly disappearing from the Languedoc, not before time.

Counoise, ingredient in red Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Occasionally encountered as a peppery, dusty varietal that is usefully high in acid.

Criolla Chica, Pais/Mission in Argentina.

Croatina, late-ripening, high-yielding vine making juicy wines with bite. See also Bonarda.

Currant, widely planted vine used almost exclusively for dried fruit, most common in Greece and Australia.

Delaware, dark pink-skinned American vine grown in New York state and, especially, Japan where its habit of ripening early is appreciated. The wine tastes more European than Concord.

Dolcetto, 'little sweet one', so named because it is naturally low in acidity. After Barbera, it is the most common red grape of Piedmont and, in youth, can be mouth-fillingly delicious in the short term. It is particularly useful to growers because it ripens much more easily than Nebbiolo or even Barbera, so tends to be planted on north-facing slopes. A little is grown in both North and South America.

Domina, modern German crossing useful for cooler sites but not particularly distinguished for its wine.

Dornfelder, Germany's most successful red crossing, making juicy, deeply coloured reds, particularly in Pfalz and Rheinhessen. It is easier to grow and ripen than Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Portugieser or Limberger, and can also yield heavily. Understandably, it is relatively popular with German vine-growers even if it not as fashionable with consumers as Pinot Noir.

Dunkelfelder, deep coloured but otherwise undistinguished German vine.

Durif, southern French vine, a crossing of Syrah with the obscure Peloursin. Some earthy varietal versions are made in Australia. See also Petite Sirah.

Espadeiro, productive vine in Galicia and Vinho Verde making generally thin wine.

Fer, Fer Servadou, wild speciality of Marcillac and encouraged elsewhere in South West France. Called Brocol in Gaillac and Pinenc in Madiran, it can add some rustic, smoky flavours to the blend. It is also important in the little-seen wines of Entraygues and Estaing, neighbours of Marcillac. Argentina grows a Fer which is apparently a clone of Malbec.

Fogoneu, Mallorcan speciality.

Franconia, see Blaufränkisch.

Frankovka, see Blaufränkisch.

Frappato, light, grapey Sicilian.

Freisa, Piedmont love-or-loathe variety making pale but quite tannic, tart wines, many of which are frothy and medium sweet.

Frühburgunder. See Blauer Frühburgunder. very early ripening strain of Pinot Noir that is increasingly popular in Germany, particularly Franken.

Gaglioppo, Calabrian vine making extremely alcoholic wines.

Gamay, the Beaujolais grape known in full as Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc to distinguish it from the host of red-fleshed Gamays Teinturiers which were once widely grown in France (and can still be found in eastern Europe). Everything about Gamay is hasty, in terms of both vine and wine, which means it can suffer frost damage but can ripen somewhere as cool as the Loire. Wines tend to be light coloured, often with a strong blue tinge and traditionally attract the vague adjectives 'fresh and fruity'. Rapid vinification using carbonic maceration, particularly to hasten Nouveau wines on to the market, can result in strong banana/peardrop/boiled candy/nail polish remover aromas. Very little Gamay is designed to be aged, but wines from the top sites in Beaujolais can develop real complexity and even become more like Pinot Noir with age. More typical Gamay can be extremely refreshing when served chilled, thanks to low tannins and high acidity. Gamay is grown in the Mâconnais to the north of Beaujolais, in the Touraine, and in outlying areas such as Châteaumeillant, Coteaux du Lyonnais, Coteaux du Giennois, Côtes d'Auvergne, Côtes du Forez, Côte Roannaise and St-Pourçain. In the Mâconnais and Switzerland Gamay is often blended with a bit of Pinot Noir, to produce Bourgogne Passetoutgrains and Dôle respectively. Outside France only the Swiss are particularly keen on Gamay, although it can be found in parts of central Europe, in Oregon and in New Zealand.

Gamé, Bulgarian name for Blaufränkisch.

Gamza, Kadarka in Bulgaria.

Garnacha, Garnacha Tinta, Grenache in its Spanish homeland. Garnacha Tintorera, the 'dyer' version of Garnacha is Spain's name for Alicante Bouschet which is widely planted, notably in Almansa. See Grenache for more.

Garrut, Catalan name for Monsatrell.

Graciano, rare but fine and perfumed Rioja grape which is difficult to grow but can yield mulberry-scented wines of interest. Portugal's Tinta Miúda. It is known as Morrastel in the Languedoc. Argentina grows a variety called Graciana.

Grand Noir, Grand Noir de la Calmette is, fortunately, fast disappearing from the Languedoc and Cognac. High yield and red flesh.

Grenache, Grenache Noir, world's most widely planted dark-skinned grape variety thanks to its popularity in Spain and southern France. In the late Middle Ages the house of Aragon apparently took it far and wide around the Mediterranean - although Sardinians (who call it Cannonau) argue they stole it from them. This archetypal hot climate vine, which has to be pruned very severely if it is not to produce too much bland wine, can produce slightly pale but quite alcoholic wine which can taste spicy and sweet. Like Cinsaut, the grapes have relatively thin skins and musts tend to oxidize easily but fine rosés can be made. Grenache is usually blended with other varieties higher in colour and tannin such as Syrah and Mourvèdre, even in its perfect spot, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache inspires all the fine reds and rosés of the Southern Rhône, and is an ingredient in most Languedoc-Roussillon AC wines. Its most distinctive products are the vins doux naturels of Banyuls, Maury and Rivesaltes. Garnacha Tinta is Spain's most important red grape and is grown extensively everywhere other than Andalucia. In Rioja and Navarra it provides juicy ballast for the more structured Tempranillo. Priorat is Spain's finest incarnation of Garnacha Tinta (often incorporating some of the downier Garnacha Peluda, otherwise known as Lladoner Pelut).

Grenache is quantitatively significant in both California and Australia, but most of the vines are planted in hot, heavily irrigated vineyards where yields are too high to produce interesting wine. Dry-farmed, older vines are being sought out, however, as the market clamours for more and more Rhône-like wines. GSM, or Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre blends, are particularly successful. In California the success of White Zinfandel spawned White Grenache. The variety is cultivated all round the Mediterranean.

Grignolino, Piedmont speciality producing light-bodied, herbal-scented aperitif wines, also grown to a very limited extent in California's Napa Valley.

Grolleau, Groslot, middle Loire's basic, bland dark-skinned variety, used extensively, with Gamay, for less distinguished pinks such as Rosé d'Anjou.

Gropello, Lombardy red.

Harriague, Uruguayan name for Tannat.

Helfensteiner, German crossing and parent of the more exciting Dornfelder.

Heroldrebe, another Dornfelder parent, used for pink wine in Pfalz.

Isabella, widely planted American vine grown mainly in South America, New York state and the ex-Soviet Union.

Jaen, northern Portuguese name for north western Spain's Mencía.

João de Santarém, Castelão in parts of Ribatejo.

Kadarka, Hungary's own red grape (even if its origins are Albanian) which has largely been replaced by the less rot-prone, earlier-ripening Kékfrankos and Kékoporto. If yields are restrained it can make full, tannic wine such as supported the best Bull's Blood blends, but such wine is rare. It can be found in Austria's Burgenland, in Vojvodina, as Cadarca in Romania and as Gamza in Bulgaria.

Kékfrankos, Kékoporto, Hungarian names for Blaufränkisch and Portugieser respectively, Kék being Hungarian for blue.

Lagrein, Trentino-Alto Adige speciality making full-bodied reds and rosés with with bite, currently enjoying a certain reclame..

Lambrusco, very important and productive vine making often sweet, usually fizzy, usually red in Emilia-Romagna. About 60 subvarieties have been identified.

Lemberger, Limberger, see Blaufränkisch.

Limnio, ancient Greek variety making deep-flavoured wines with good acid.

Lladoner Pelut, Lledoner Pelut, downy-leaved, less rot-prone form of Grenache still grown in Languedoc-Roussillon and, as Garnacha Peluda, in north east Spain.

Magaratch Ruby, crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Saperavi.

Malbec, increasingly fashionable black grape known as Côt in much of South West France and the Loire, Pressac in parts of Bordeaux where it is still grown mainly in Bourg and Blaye, Auxerrois in Cahors where it is the main grape variety and occasionally Malbeck in Argentina where it dominates red wine production.The vine is quite fragile in cooler climates where the wine can taste rather rustically gamey, but in the best Cahors vineyards and especially Mendoza in Argentina, it can produce deep-coloured, velvety, intensely ripe and attractively gamey wines well worth ageing. Because it was so widely grown in Argen­tina, the local producers tended to view it as distinctly third rate, but the enthusiasm with which it has been greeted on export markets has encouraged a re-evaluation. The success of Argentine Malbec has encouraged those growing it in Chile especially, and also in Australia, California and north east Italy. Delicate winemaking can result in a delicate, almost burgundian finish to more elegant Malbecs, but it more often receives heavy oaking.

Malvasia Nera, dark-skinned, presumed relative of light berried Malvasia, usually made as a sweet red, from Piedmont and Alto Adige to the islands of Sardinia, and Lipari off Sicily.

Mammolo, now rare, violet-scented ingredient in Chianti.

Mandelaria, grape of the Greek islands which yields dark, relatively light wines useful for blending.

Manto Negro, common Mallorcan variety.

Maréchal Foch, cold-hardy French hybrid grown in Canada, New York and the Loire at one time. The wines can show attractive strawberry fruit.

Marselan, late 20th century crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache designed specifically for the Languedoc.

Marzemino produces a few lively wines in northern Italy.

Mataro, old-fashioned name for fashionable Mourvèdre used mainly in Australia and California.

Mavro, is Greek for black and the name of the most common dark grape on Cyprus.

Mavrodaphne, Greek variety made into a rich, port-like varietal around Patras.

Mavrud, Balkan vine with real potential to produce intensely rich yet dry and tannic wine, a speciality of Assenovgrad near Plovdiv in Bulgaria.

Mazuelo, Carignan in Rioja.

Melnik, abbreviation for Bulgaria's Shiroka Melnishka Losa.

Mencía, grown widely in north west Spain, especially Bierzo, making light, relatively fragrant reds. Highly distinctive.

Merlot, Merlot Noir, with Cabernet Franc, famous as a blending partner for Cabernet Sauvignon, but much more widely planted in Bordeaux than either. Merlot conventionally makes lush, plummy, velvety wine that can soften Cabernet's more austere frame and, usefully, matures much faster. Very much a wine of the times, it enjoyed enormous popularity in the United States in the 1990s and early 2000s - until usurped by Pinot Noir.

Merlot's homeland is Bordeaux where it is the most important ingredient in most wines qualifying for the basic Bordeaux appellation. It makes its greatest wines on the right bank of the Gironde, in Pomerol (where it is generally blended with minimal proportions of Cabernet Franc) and St-Émilion (where Cabernet Franc and sometimes Cabernet Sauvignon play a more important part). Despite Merlot's reputation as the user-friendly, early maturing wine, the best of these wines can continue to develop in bottle for decades, and I have been lucky enough to taste a mid 19th century Ch Ausone at the chateau that was as lively as the then chatelaine herself.

Merlot, like the Cabernets, is widely grown throughout South West France, notably in Bergerac and in Cahors where it is the common blending partner of Malbec. It is also very widely planted in the Languedoc where it can make juicy, plump Vins de Pays (generally more successful than Cabernet Sauvignon). Just like Merlot the wine, Merlot the vine ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is less resistant to rot and, if the weather is poor during flowering, can easily suffer from uneven fruit set. It is conventionally but by no means exclusively associated with damp, clay soils.

Much of the world's Merlot is grown in France, but it is also widely grown in north east Italy, particularly in Friuli where it can make plumper wines than the prevailing Cabernet. Quality varies from basic light red varietals to rich, dense barrique-aged wines, often blended with Cabernet and/or Sangiovese. (This observation is also true of the Merlots produced in Switzerland's Italian Ticino.) Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova also grown significant quantities of Merlot, which can be difficult to distinguish in terms of wine quality, from their Cabernet.

Merlot has been planted at a lick in both North and South America. It has a proven track record in Washington state where its charms are attractively balanced by crisp acidity and good colour. In California, its fruity charms have been extremely popular when served up as a varietal wine and it is also a popular ingredient in Meritage blends. Its reputation suffered, however, from the very ordinary quality and excessive sweetness of California Merlot at its most basic, as a sort of red Chardonnay.

Chile has already found its own perfect spot for Merlot, Apalta in Colchagua, and the best-made examples combine California gloss with even more obvious fruit. Argentina's Merlot has a less distinct identity - indeed almost all Argentine red already has inbuilt ripeness thanks to the climate, and so there is little need to augment this with a particularly ripe-tasting variety.

Although Merlot is grown as a blending partner for Cabernet in Australia and New Zealand, few varietal wines of real distinction have emerged, although surely they will. South Africa has already shown just how gorgeous an oak-aged Merlot ripened in a relatively warm climate can be. Merlot is now widely planted in China too.

Meunier, alternative name for Pinot Meunier.

Mission,the first vinifera variety identified in the Americas, probably the product of a grape pip imported by the Conquistadores. Also California's oldest but by no means most distinguished grape. Rough stuff related to the Pais of Chile and Criolla Chica of Argentina. See also Monica.

Modra Frankinja, Blaufränkisch in Slovenia.

Molinara, a variety that makes a tart contribution to Valpolicella.

Monastrell, Spain's, and therefore the original, name for Mourvèdre, known also as Mataro.

Mondeuse, spicy, sappy wine made from one of Savoie's most inistent varieties. Many authorities think it is identical to Friuli's Refosco.

Monica, undistinguished Sardinian vine which may be related to Mission.

Montepulciano, Italian vine that will ripen only in the southern half of the country to produce good-value, full-bodied, juicy wines, especially in the Abruzzi.

Morellino, Sangiovese around Scansano in western Tuscany,

Moreto, undistinguished vine grown mainly in Portgual's Alentejo.

Moristel, speciality of Spain's Somontano. The vine is frail and the wine oxidizes easily and may be best in blends.

Morrastel, rare Languedoc variety that is also Rioja's Graciano. The name has also been used in Spain as a synonym for Monastrell (the Mourvèdre of France). In North Africa the name Morrastel is used for both Graciano and Mourvèdre.

Mortágua, Castelão in the west of Portugal.

Mourisco Tinto, lesser port grape.

Mourvèdre, fashionable grape variety that underpins Bandol in France but is most often known, as Monastrell, in south east Spain where it is so widely grown that it is Spain's second most important red grape variety. It is grown more patchily throughout southern France. For years it was called Mataro and dismissed as basic blending material in California and Australia but now features in much more highly priced Rhône-like blends, notably in warmer parts of the Central Coast regions. It needs a very warm site or summer to ripen it fully and the wine produced is deep coloured, alcoholic and almost aggressively gamey in flavour. It may be best suited to blending, notably with the more structured Syrah, indeed GSM now means Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre. Outside Spain, plantings are increasing.

Mullerrebe, German for Pinot Meunier.

Muscardin, lively but rare Châteauneuf grape.

Muscat Hamburg, common table grape which can even be ripened in England and produces some light, grapey red throughout eastern Europe. It is also important to the developing wine industries of China and Japan. Also known as Black Muscat.

Nebbiolo, Italy's noblest vine, a speciality of Piedmont. Like Pinot Noir, it is fussy about both soil and site, and extremely expressive of it. It is grown, strictly in vineyards which stand a chance of ripening this late-ripening variety, all over Piedmont but reaches its apogee in the hills of Barolo and Barbaresco, shrouded in autumn by fog, or nebbia, which may have inspired Nebbiolo's name. It is also grown successfully, as Spanna, in the north of Piemonte to produce such wines as Gattinara and Ghemme and even, just over the border in Lombardy, in Valtellina, where it is known as Chiavennasca. In the alps of Valle d'Aosta and the far north west of Piedmont, called Picutener, it makes Carema. Wine made from Nebbiolo is markedly high in both acidity and, especially, tannin - which is why the grapes need to be properly ripe to have enough fruit to counterbalance all this astringency. Wines are not particularly deeply coloured (although they can brown quite easily) and have a haunting smell that reminds many of tar, roses and sometimes violets. These are extremely serious wines which demand long ageing and attention. (Dolcetto and Barbera are for glugging.) Italian immigrants took it to Mexico and it is grown on a relatively modest scale in California, Washington, Australia and Argentina.

Negramoll, see Tinta Negra Mole.

Négrette, speciality of Fronton near Toulouse producing supple, perfumed, wine for early drinking.

Negroamaro, ('black and bitter' in Italian), widely planted in Italy's deep south, especially on the heel of Italy in Apulia where it can make seductively heady, ageworthy reds such as Salice Salentino, Squinzano and Copertino. Some good rosés too.

Nerello, name for two important eastern Sicilian grape varieties. Nerello Mascalese is the nobler, late-ripening variety that retains its acidity well and is responsible for some dense and haunting reds on the slopes of Moutn Etna. Varietal Nerello Cappuccio is much fleshier and more charming.

Nero d'Avola, western Sicily's most serious red wine grape, also known as Calabrese. Very fruity though barrel maturation can work well.

Nielluccio, Corsica's answer to Sangiovese. Often blended with Sciacarello, which is more distinctive.

Noir, French for black and often a suffix of a red wine grape variety.

Norton, all-American variety that can make good quality wine with no 'foxy' flavour. Ojo de Liebre, Tempranillo in Penedes.

Ormeasco, Ligurian name for Dolcetto.

Ottavianello, probably Cinsaut in southern Italy.

Pais, Chile's commonplace grape and descended from the Spanish conquistadores. Identical to the Mission of California and Mexico. Grown in southern regions for very ordinary wine.

Pamid, Bulgaria's common or garden red.

Parraleta, lively Somontano speciality.

Pelaverga, light, strawberry-flavoured Piemontese speciality.

Periquita, the name for Castelao in Arrábida, Palmela and parts of Ribatejo.

Perricone, soft Sicilian.

Petite Sirah, name applied in California to field blends of at least four varieties: Syrah, Durif, Durif's parent Peloursin and a Peloursin x Durif crossing. Cuttings were taken to Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Makes robust, tannic, earthy wines.

Petit Verdot, late ripening ingredient in the classic Bordeaux blend to which, in warm years, it can bring an agreeable peppery spice. Thrives in Australia's irrigated interior and has been planted by some Californians for Meritage blends.

Piedirosso, Campanian speciality.

Pignolo, lively, dense Friuli vine with real potential.

Pineau d'Aunis, light, fruity middle Loire variety declining in favour of Cabernet Franc.

Pinenc, Fer in Madiran.

Pinotage, South Africa's controversial grape speciality, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (called Hermitage in South Africa). Its vibrantly fruity wines can smell oddly paint-like but if carefully vinified Pinotage can be a serious wine.

Pinot Meunier, the most commonly planted grape in Champagne where its wine adds youthful fruit to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It is called 'miller's' vine because its leaves are dusty white underneath. As Müllerrebe it is grown in Germany's Württemberg and some varietal still wines are made in Victoria, Australia.

Pinot Noir, the fashionable red Burgundy grape is capable of producing divinely scented, gorgeously fruity expressions of place but often unwilling or unable to do so. In Burgundy Pinot Noir is merely the medium through which tiny environmental differences (terroir) express themselves. Flavours found in young red Burgundies include raspberries, strawberries, cherries and violets; with time these evolve into a bouquet often reminiscent of game, liquorice and autumnal undergrowth. (There is an argument that red Burgundy has to be very good indeed to be worth ageing more than about five years...)

This ancient eastern French vine is, with Gouais Blanc, parent of a host of other varieties such as Chardonnay, Gamay and Melon de Bourgogne. It is also very prone to mutation (hence Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier) and there is enormous variation in wine quality between different clones. Planting the wrong clone in the wrong place is one of many reasons for the wide variation in quality between different red Burgundies and different varietal Pinot Noirs from elsewhere. Pinot Noir is also very sensitive to the size of crop it is expected to produce, and many vapid examples exemplify an over-demanding yield. It ripens relatively early (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are often harvested at the same time in Burgundy) so is not suitable for very warm regions where there would be no time to develop interesting flavours before acid levels plummet. On the other hand, many of the cooler regions in which it thrives suffer autumn rains which can rot Pinot's thin-skinned berries, resulting in pale, tainted wines. The Pinot Noir grower's lot is not an easy one.

For years the received wisdom was that it was almost impossible to make decent Pinot Noir outside Burgundy but by the early 1990s this had definitively been disproved - and if the new wave of New World Pinot Noir for the moment lacks any great expression of place, it in general provides considerably more pleasure per penny than the average bottle of Burgundy.

Oregon in the American Pacific North West staked its wine reputation on Pinot Noir (presumably inspired by its distinctly Burgundian wet autumns) with considerable success. More unexpectedly, California has demonstrated that it too has no shortage of spots quite cool enough (thanks to Pacific fog) to keep Pinot grapes on the vine as they develop welcoming fruity flavours and some texture to boot. Notable among these are Carneros, the Russian River Valley and even cooler coastal sites in Sonoma, and Santa Maria and the Sta. Rita hills north of Santa Barbara, although the Santa Lucia Highlands, Chalone and Calera wineries have proved that isolated Pinot greatness can also be found in the mountains south of San Francisco too. Canada has made some successful Pinot and, at the other end of the Americas, Chile and even Argentina have demonstrated a recent facility with this vine in cooler corners.

Australians have identified Victoria (notably the Yarra Valley, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula) and Tasmania as being cool enough for Pinot. New Zealand has long claimed to make the best Pinot outside Burgundy and certainly there are many fine examples in Martinborough, Marlborough, Nelson, Waipara and Central Otago. Most of South Africa is too warm for Pinot Noir, but the coolest coastal regions show promise.

Within Europe, Pinot Noir travels under a number of aliases. In Italy it is known as Pinot Nero and concentrated in the north east where average quality is increasing considerably. In Germany, as Spätburgunder, it is wildly popular and has become the most planted grape after Riesling. Quality is increasingly inspiring, often thanks to top quality oak barrels, and increasingly warm summers. In eastern Switzerland it is often known as Blauburgunder and can be very toothsome. Quality has also risen in wines from the more serious winemakers of Austria (where it is sometimes called Blauer Spätburgunder) and Alsace. (Pinot Noir from all these places has in the past tended to be pale, sweetish and not especially inspiring.)

It is planted all over central Europe and is sometimes called Burgundac Crni in what was Yugoslavia.

The French grow increasing quantities of Pinot Noir outside Burgundy, however, notably in Champagne where it has proved itself the ideal dark-skinned grape for a top quality sparkling wine (for which purpose it is widely used in Italy, California, Australia - and England), in Alsace where reds really are red nowadays, all over eastern France such as in Sancerre, the Jura and Savoie, and even in the higher reaches of the Languedoc around Limoux.

Plavac Mali, Croatian speciality making dense, heady, tannic wines such as Postup and Dingac. Zinfandel is a parent.

Portan, French crossing of Grenache and Portugais which ripens more reliably than Grenache. Sometimes found in Vins de Pays d'Oc.

Portugieser, Blauer Portugieser high yielding, early-ripening vine planted widely in Austria and Germany, producing rather ordinary, light wines with relatively low acid. Hungarians and Romanians know it as Kékoporto and Croatians as Portugizac Crni, or Portugaljka. A little is grown in France as Portugais.

Poulsard, Plousard, Jura rarity making perfumed, pale wine, usually blended with Pinot Noir.

Pressac, Malbec on Bordeaux's right bank.

Prieto Picudo, promising musky northern Spanish speciality.

Primitivo, Puglian name for California's Zinfandel on the heel of Italy. Wines labelled Primitivo tend to be very alcoholic and deep-coloured.

Prokupac, Serbian speciality reaching high grape sugar levels and often made into a dark rosé.

Prugnolo Gentile, Sangiovese in Montepulciano.

Raboso, tough, sometimes tart, Veneto variety which can be too lean to sustain these attributes.

Ramisco, the astringent Colares vine.

Refosco, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, historic, sometimes red-stemmed (Peduncolo Rosso) Friuli vine making dense, lively wines with bite. Known as Terrano or Teran in Slovenia and Croatia. Possibly the same as Mondeuse.

Rondinella, lesser Valpolicella grape (see also Corvina).

Rondo, German crossing that ripens so early it is popular in England.

Roriz, Tinta Roriz, common Portuguese name for Tempranillo.

Rossese, fine Ligurian vine, especially in Dolceacqua.

Rouchet, Ruchè, scented, relatively tough Piedmont red. Rare.

Royalty, California red-fleshed hybrid bred from Trousseau.

Rubin, successful Bulgarian crossing of Nebbiolo and Syrah.

Rubired, California red-fleshed hybrid, bred from Tinta Cão. Easier to grow and therefore more popular than Royalty. Unknown to the general public it is used widely to add colour to less expensive blends.

Ruby Cabernet, once popular California crossing of Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon to combine Cabernet characteristics with Carignan productivity and tolerance of Central Valley heat. Also grown in South Africa and Australia.

Sagrantino, lively, spicy, often tough Umbrian red, a speciality of Montefalco.

Salvador, California red-fleshed hybrid.

Samtrot, Pinot Meunier in Austria.

Sangiovese, Italy's most planted red wine vine and the underpinning of the majority of central Italian reds (notably Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as well as Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno). It is known also as Brunello, Morellino and Prugnolo Gentile. There are many strains of varying quality, from the lacklustre, over-produced vines responsible for the lightest Sangiovese di Romagna to the dense, long-lived Brunello. Late-ripening Sangiovese makes well structured, often high-acid wines with a certain farmyardy character, but a dense plumminess if fully ripe. It has often been blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and occasionallly Syrah to produce so-called Supertuscans. Italy's own Sangiovese has so far been very much more successful than attempts to replicate them elsewhere, notably in California, Washington, Australia, Mexico and Argentina.

Santarém, Castelão in parts of Ribatejo.

Saperavi, Georgia's native vine producing deep-coloured wines (thanks to the pink flesh of its grapes) with good acidity. Wines respond well to ageing. Saperavi Severny is a hybrid designed to withstand very cold winters by incorporating Mongolian genes.

Savagnin Noir, Jura name for Pinot Noir.

Schiava, Italian name for Alto Adige's common or garden variety. The region's many German-speakers also know it as Vernatsch and in Württemberg it is a local speciality called Trollinger.

Schioppettino, speciality of Friuli whose characterful wines hint at violets and pepper.

Sciacarello, Sciaccarello (pronounced 'Shackarello'), south western Corsican speciality which can make herb-scented reds and rosés but has been overtaken by Nielluccio.

Schwarzriesling, or 'black Riesling', German synonym for Pinot Meunier.

Ségalin, recent French crossing of the obscure Jurançon Noir and Portugais capable of producing well structured wines.

Seibel, common name for many of the French hybrids, usually numbered to distinguish them.

Severny, Most vines with Severny in their name have been specially bred in Russia using genes from Mongolian vines to withstand cold winters.

Shiraz, originally Australian and now widely used name for Syrah. Wines labelled Shiraz tend to taste richer, riper and more full-bodied than France's typical Syrah-based wines. Australia regained her pride in Shiraz, the country's most planted wine grape variety, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, having flirted with more recently imported Cabernet Sauvignon. Shiraz can taste of baked pencils in the Hunter Valley, chocolate in the Barossa Valley (arguably its spiritual home), and black pepper in cooler regions such as Macedon in Victoria. Very, very few Australian wine producers do not produce a Shiraz of some sort, and many make several qualities of Shiraz (including sparkling), as well as a range of Shiraz-Cabernet and Cabernet-Shiraz blends. Penfolds are arguably the past masters of Shiraz production, their Grange being Australia's very first serious 'collectable'. When it was first made, by the late Max Schubert after a trip to Bordeaux, it was dismissed as 'dry port tasting of crushed ants' by other Australian winemakers. In very general terms Shiraz tends to taste slightly sweet and can reach high alcohol levels. South African examples can taste rather earthy and hot. Australia can boast much better stocks of ancient Shiraz/Syrah vines than France.

Shiroka Melnishka Losa, means 'broad leaved vine of Melnik' in Bulgaria close to the Greek border. This variety, oak-aged, can produce spicy, powerful, ageworthy wine not unlike Châteauneuf-du-Pape which can sometimes smell of tobacco leaves. Usually sold as Melnik.

Sousão, Souzão, black grape which brings colour and acidity to port in the Douro valley and has been planted in California and Australia.

Spanna, Valtellina name for Nebbiolo, especially around Gattinara.

St Laurent, Austrian variety that can make lush, flattering soft rather Pinot-Noir-like wines. It is often blended with more internationally famous varieties and, if yields are limited, can be worth oak and bottle ageing. In Slovakia it is known as Vavrinecke.

Syrah, the great grape of the North Rhône responsible for the dense, burly, deep-coloured, long-lived, savoury, peppery wines of Hermitage and, slightly more seductively perfumed (traditionally thanks to some Viognier in the blend) Côte-Rôtie. Unlike all varieties, it demonstrates a strict relationship between how severely it is pruned and how good the eventual wine is. It can also lose its aroma and acidity quickly if left past optimal ripening stage (both of which explain why so many (though by no means all) French varietal Syrah Vins de Pays are so wishy washy). Crozes-Hermitage is probably the best-value manifestation of Syrah around at the moment, although good St-Joseph exists and Cornas is becoming less obdurate. It can smell of black pepper and even burnt rubber.

During the 1980s Syrah was enthusiastically planted throughout southern France where it is widely used as an ingredient in blends, notably to add structure and density to Grenache in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the rest of the Southern Rhône, but also to spice up Cabernet Sauvignon in Provence. It is a much-valued ingredient in most Languedoc appellations, fast replacing Carignan even more decisively than Grenache, Mourvèdre and, to a lesser extent, Cinsaut. It can also make some fine wine in sunnier spots in Switzerland's Valais. There are also some notable Syrahs in both Italy and Iberia even if it remains a minority ingredient in the varietal make-up of vineyards there.

In California it was enthusiastically planted by the so-called Rhône Rangers, anxious to demonstrate that Syrah may be even better suited to the climate of Northern California than Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine buyers have been less enthusiastic about it however. Its influence is also increasing in Washington state, throughout South America and indeed virtually everywhere wine is produced and it's not too cold.

In South Africa and Australia, where it is extremely important, it is usually known as Shiraz. It is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre wherever in the world all three varieties are planted.

Tannat, distinctive, tough variety best known as the main ingredient in Madiran but grown in other regions of South West France and, as Harriague, in Uruguay where it was taken by Basque emigrés. Wine made from it is naturally very astringent because of the thickness of the berries' skins, but the warmth of Uruguay helps to disguise this attribute, and many of Madiran's winemakers have learnt how to tame this tannic monster.

Taminga, Australian crossing.

Tarrango, Australian Touriga Nacional x Sultana crossing which ripens very late and needs a hot climate. The ultra-fruity wine is relatively light bodied and markedly low in tannin.

Tempranillo, Spain's most widely planted and respected top quality grape variety whose name comes from temprano, or early, which is when it ripens (although 'early' can be well into October in Rioja). Spain's answer to Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo is similarly high in tannins and acidity but, unusually for Spain, is not necessarily very high in alcohol. Tempranillo-based wines are some of Spain's longest-lasting. It provides the spine for rioja (Garnacha providing the flesh) and is by far the main ingredient in Ribera del Duero where it is so common it is simply known as Tinto Fino 'fine, dark one'. In Penedés it is important as Ull de Llebre, and in Valdepeñas, called Cencibel, it makes rather less concentrated wines (often lightened by blending in white grapes). It is also grown in La Mancha, Costers del Segre, Utiel-Requena and in Navarra and Somontano.

It is grown, as (Tinta) Roriz in northern Portugal and is probably the same as the variety known as Valdepenas in California's Central Valley. Some Tempranilla is grown in Argentina. So fashionable is Spanish wine that the variety is now known, as Tempranillo, in Oregon, California, Ausrtralia and a growing number of other countries.

Teran, Terrano, see Refosco.

Teroldego, Teroldego Rotaliano, lively, tooth-smacking varietal speciality of Trentino which responds well to careful vinification and oak ageing.

Tibouren, Provençal rarity making earthy rosés with a genuine scent of the garrigue, the herby scrub of southern France.

Tinta, Tinto is Spanish for red.

Tinta Amarela, productive, rot-prone northern Portuguese vine.

Tinta Barroca, sturdy port grape planted in South Africa where varietal table wines are made from it.

Tinta Miúda, Portuguese name for Graciano.

Tinta Negra Mole, the undistiguished but serviceable grape which steadily usurped Madeira's fine varieties in the early and mid 20th century. Spain's Negramoll may be identical.

Tinta Pinheira, basic Dão grape.

Tinto Fino, Tempranillo in Ribera del Duero.

Touriga, Touriga Nacional in Australia but probably Touriga Francisca in California.

Touriga Franca, perfumed, good quality port variety.

Touriga Nacional, the finest port variety grown also in the Dão region, and producing extremely concentrated, dark, tannic wines with a distinctive floral note in youth. So distinctive are the wines made from it that it is now widely made as a varietal table wine in other Portuguese wine regions and in Spain, California, Virginia, South Africa and Australia.

Trincadeira (Preta), alternative name for Tinta Amarela.

Trollinger, German for Schiava and its light, sweetish wines are a Württemberg speciality.

Trousseau, Jura vine making robust wine but overtaken by Pinot Noir.

Ull de Llebre, Catalan name for Tempranillo.

Uva di Troia, Apulian speciality.

Uva Rara, softener blended with Nebbiolo in northern Piedmont.

Vaccarèse, rare, lightish Châteauneuf grape.

Valdiguié, prolific vine originally from south west France, now best known as napa gamay.

Vavrinecke, Czech for St Laurent.

Verdot, South American variety which may be related to Petit Verdot.

Vernatsch, see Schiava and Trollinger.

Vespolina, Gattinara speciality often blended with Nebbiolo.

Villard Noir, hybrid widely planted in France until the 1980s.

Vranac, deep, dense varietal speciality of Montenegro.

Wildbacher, Blauer Wildbacher, Styrian vine from which deep, crisp, perfumed pink called Schilcher is made.

Xynomavro, 'acid black' Greek grape variety found in Naoussa. The wine ages well.

Zinfandel, California's most planted red wine grape, whose origins were for long a mystery, although DNA testing first confirmed the hypothesis that it is identical to the Primitivo of southern Italy, then helped to track down its origins on a Croatian island as the obscure Crljenak Kaštelanski. The wine can be anything from a sweetened-up pale pink wine labelled White Zinfandel (an inspired 1980s solution to California's surplus of Zinfandel and shortage of white wine grapes) to a serious oak-aged, long-lived taut, spicy, dense, lively, full-bodied red. Berry flavours predominate. The vine has a tendency to produce too many grapes, which themselves tend to ripen unevenly, so the vine needs careful management to yield good wine, but there are pockets of very old vines all over California, and particularly in the Sierra Foothills. So high is Zinfandel's profile in California that it is planted in many other warmer wine regions in the USA as well as in South America, South Africa and Australia, all of which have a warm enough climate for it to ripen fully.

Zweigelt, Zweigeltrebe, Blauer Zweigelt, Austria's most planted red wine grape, bred locally from Blaufränkisch and St Laurent to combine the bite of the former with the body of the latter. It yields prolifically and has been planted in Germany and England.