Pinot Noir

  (PEE-noh NWAHR)
Synonyms: Pinot Noir, Noiren, Pineau, Savagnin Noir (France); Spätburgunder, Blauburgunder (Germany, Austria), Pinot Nero (Italy);

Wine Name: Pinot Noir, Red Burgundy

Background: Pinot Noir is a difficult grape to grow and turn into wine. That, added to the multiple genetic clones of Pinot Noir that exist, results in a wide variation of wine styles from light, fragrant and fruity (raspberry, cherry and strawberry) to full-bodied and robust. The grape is usually acidic and commonly made into a medium-bodied, food-friendly wine.

Classic Brands and Sources: France – Domaine de la Romanee, Louis Jadot and many Burgundy producers; Italy – Ca’del Bosco, Hofstätter USA – California – Acacia, Au Bon Climat, Chalone, Dumal, Kistler, Kosta Brown, Marcassin, Patz & Hall, Rochioli, Williams Selyem, Oregon – Argyle, Archery Summit, Domaine Drouhin, Domaine Serene, Rex Hill; New Zealand – Ata Rangi, Craggy Range, Dry River, Quartz Reef; Chile – Concha y Toro, Leyda

Characteristics:

Style #1 – cool climate

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #2 – warm climate

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry but slightly fruity

Tannins – medium

Style #3 – Cru Burgundy

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (-)

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with chicken, game, veal, pork, lamb and heavier fish especially tuna and salmon, and shellfish with slightly acidic sauces

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Cru Burgundy and warm weather Pinot Noir can pair with heavier beef dishes and more savory dishes. Other red Burgundies and most Pinot Noirs are lighter in body and thus pair with lighter red meats, fowl, chicken and shellfish especially when cooked in wine or with a wine or tomato sauce. Predominantly sweet or fruity dishes should be avoided.

Cheese Pairings:
Epiosses, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, cream cheese, Gouda, Neufchatel, Pont-L’Eveque, Raclette, Reblochon, Roquefort, Saint-Nectare, Vacherin

See also Light red acidic wine appetizers

Blaufränkisch

  (blouw-FRANN-keesh)
Synonyms: Blaufränkisch, Blaufraenkisch, Frankovka, Lemberger, Limberger, Blauer Limberger, Frankovka modrà, Modra frankinja, Kékfrankos, Kekrankos, blue Frankish, Blanc Doux, Blau Fraenkisch, Blau Fraenkische, Blauer Lemberger, Blaufranchis, Blaufranchisch, Blue French, Burgund Kekfrankos, Burgund Mare, Cerne, Cerne Skalicke, Cerne Starosvetske, Cerny Muskatel, Chirokolistny, Cierny Zierfandler, Crna Frankovka, Crna Moravka, Fernon, Fraenkische, Fraenkische Schwarz, Franconia, Franconia nera, Franconia nero, Franconien bleu, Franconien noir, Frankinja, Frankovka Cerna, Frankovka Crna,Frankovka Modra, Fruehschwarze, Game, Grossburgunder, Imberghem, Imbergher, Jubilaeumsrebe, Karmazin, Kekfrank, Kek Frankos, Kekfrankos, Lampart, Limberg, Limberger blauer, Limberger noir, Limburske, Maehrische, Modra Frankija,  Modry Hyblink, Moravka, Moravske, Muskateller Schwarz, Nagyburgundi, Neskorak, Neskore, Neskore Cierne, Noir de Franconie, Oporto, Orna Frankovka, Portugais Lerouse, Portugais Leroux, Portugais Rouge, Portugieser Rother, Pozdni, Pozdni Skalicke Cerne, Schwarz Limberger, Schwarz Fraenkische, Schwarzer Burgunder, Schwarzgrobe, Serina, Shirokolistnyi, Sirokolidtnyj, Sirokolstnii, Starosvetske, Starovetsky Hrozen, Szeleslevelue, Teltfuertue Kekfrankos, Teltfurtu Kekfrankos, Vaghyburgundi, Velke Bugundske, Vojvodino

Wine Name: Blaufränkisch, Blaufraenkisch, Lemberger, Limberger, Kekrankos, Blue Frank

Background: Blaufränkisch is a grape that makes a light weight, Pinot Noir-like wine. It has high acidity and red berry flavors like Pinot Noir. The amount of tannins seems to be variable. It is grown mostly in Austria but also in many of the slavic countries.

Classic Brands and Sources: Feiler-Artinger, Albert Gesellmann, Gernot Heinrich, Kollwentz, Nittnaus, Ernst Triebaumer (Austria); Hogue, Steele, Thurston-Wolf, Kiona (USA)

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium to high

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with lighter meats with acidic sauces or vinegar marinated and tomato-based pastas

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Goes with fish, shellfish, chicken, veal, pork and pasta with wine, tomato or vinegar-based sauces

Cheese Pairings:
Epiosses, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, cream cheese, Gouda, Neufchatel, Pont-L’Eveque, Raclette, Reblochon, Roquefort, Saint-Nectare,Vacherin

See also Light red acidic wine appetizers

Bonarda

  (Boe-NAR-dah)
Synonyms: Bonarda Piemontese, Croatina, Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese, Charbono (in Argentina), Balsamina, Banarda di Chieri, Bonarda, Bonarda a Grandes Grappes, Bonarda del Monferatto, Bonarda Dell’ Astigiano, Bonarda Dell’ Astigiano E Monferatto, Bonarda di Asti, Bonarda di Chieri, Bonarda di Piemonte, Bonarda di Pyemont, Bonarda du Peimont, Bonarda Nera, Bonarda Nero, Driola, Kanaiolo Krasnyi

Wine Name: Bonarda

Background: Bonarda is a name applied to several different grape varieties which are probably different in Italy (Bonarda Piemontese, and Croatina) and not the same as Bonarda widely grown in Argentina which may be more related to the Charbono grape of California, the Bonarda Novarese of Italy or the Corbeau or Douce Noir of Savoie France.

Traditionally Bonarda has mostly been used as a blending wine or table wine because it is light-bodied and fruity, with low tannins and low acidity. On its own it makes a pleasant table wine with cherry and plum flavors.

Classic Brands and Sources: Mazzolino, Vercesi del Castellazzo (Italy); La Agricola, Altos Las Homigas, Anubis, Catena, Familia Zuccardi (Argentina)

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium (-)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Bonarda pairs well with low acid, savory dishes that are medium-bodied

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Shellfish, chicken, veal, pork with savory creamy, buttery or cheese-based sauces

Cheese Pairings:
American, Colby, Mild cheddar, Velveeta, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar), Fontina, Gouda, Mahon, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Roncal, Serena, Triple Creme, St André, Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (without rinds)

Beaujolais

  (Boe-zhuh- LAY)
Synonyms: Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc, Gamay Noir, Beuna di Susa, Biaune Gamaise, Blauer Gamet, Borgogna, Bourguignon noir, Burgandi Nagyszemu, Carcairone, Chambonat, Complant de Lune, Erice noir, Ericey du Acher, Gamay Beaujolais, Gamay Charmont, Gamay d’ Auvergne, Gamay d’Arcenant, Gamay de la Dole, Gamay de Liverdun, Gamay Geoffray, Gamay Labronde, Gamay Magny, Gamay Mathieu, Gamay Nicolas, Gamay noir à Jus Blanc, Gamay Ovoide, Gamay Picard, Gamay Piccolo Nero, Gamay Rond, Gamay Sainte-foix, Gamay noir à Jus Blanc, Gamay Beaujolais, Gambonnin, Game, Game Crni, Gamet Blauer, Garcairone, Grosse Dole, Kek Gamay, Lyonnais, Lyonnaise, Marvandiot, Melon Gross Blau, Melon noir, Melonentraube Schwarz, Nagyburgundi Kek, Nicola, Olivette Beaujolaise, Petit Bourguignon, Petit Gamai, Petit Gamay, Petit Rondelet, Piccolo Gamay, Plant Charmenton, Plant Chartaignet, Plant Chatillon, Plant d’ Evelles, Plant d’ Hery, Plant d’Argenant, Plant de Bevy, Plant de la Treille, Plant de LaBronde, Plant de Limagne, Plant de Magny, Plant de Malin, Plant de Montlambert, Plant des Carmes, Plant Montagny-sous-Beaune, Plant Monternier, Plant Nikolas, Plant Picard, Plant Ton

Wine Name: Beaujolais, Nouveau Beaujolais, Nouveau Beaujolais Rosé, Gamay

Background: The Gamay grape is strange in that it has the flavors of a red wine but the body and balance of a white wine. Because of the way the grapes are fermented whole without crushing (carbonic maceration), it is fruity with flavors of cherry, raspberry, bananas, pears, black pepper and sometimes even bubble gum or juicy fruit. It is low in tannins but moderate in acidity. Alcohol levels are usually on the low side. The wine is meant to be drunk young and about 1/3 of Beaujolais in the Burgundy region of France is released very early (Noveau Beaujolais or en primeur). Some consider the nouveau version as just grape juice “kicked up a notch.”

The next level up is plain Beaujolais mostly produced in the southern region. A higher grade that is fuller-bodied and with more fruit intensity is Villages Beaujolais authorized in 39 of the communes. It is still a wine to be consumed without aging. The highest quality level is Cru Beaujolais which is even more perfumed and concentrated. It can be produced in any one of 10 approved areas: St Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-À-Vent, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgon, Régnié, Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. Some of these from a good vintage year, especially Morgon and Moulin-À-Vent, can age well for a decade.

Classic Brands and Sources: Cru Beaujolais from the areas of Moulin-à-Vent, Morgon, Fleurie, Chénas and Juliénas; Villages level by Louis Jadot and Georges Duboeuf or any Cru level producer; and Duboeuf for Nouveau

Characteristics:

Style #1 – NouveauBody – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry but juicy fruit

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #2 – typical BeaujolaisBody – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry but light fruit

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #3 – Villages levelBody – medium (-)

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #4 – Cru BeaujolaisBody – medium

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with lighter and medium bodied dishes especially those with some acidity

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna and grilled meats with acidic sauce, sausage, pasta with light tomato sauce

Cheese Pairings:
Brie with rind, Camembert with rind, Cantal, cheddar (aged), goat’s cheese, Emmental, Feta, Morbier, Muenster, Raclette, Vacherin, Vermont Shepherd

See also Light red acidic wine appetizers

Barbera

 (ba-BEH-rah)
Synonyms: Barbera, Barbera d’Asti, Dolce, Babera Fine, Barbera Forte, Barbera Grossa

Wine Name: Barbera, Barbera d’Alba, Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Moferrato

Background: A popular acidic, red berry-flavored grape in the Piedmont area of northern Italy. It is made with and without oak in different styles. Tannins are relatively low unless oak is used. Sometimes it is raisin or prune-like if overripe, but generally it has a hint of cherry taste with a touch of spice. Because of its high acidity, Barbera is best as a good food wine to accompany acidic foods.

Classic Brands and Sources: Italy – Roberto Voerizo, Aldo Conterno, Coppo, Pio Cesare, Vietti, Michele Chiarlo, Ca’Bianca, Braida di Giacomo Bologna; Australia – Crittenden Wines; USA – Au Bon Climat, Montevina, Bonny Doon, Renwood, Jacuzzi, Viansa; Argentina – Norton

Characteristics:

Style #1 – northern Italian

Body – medium

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with a wide range of meats except light fish dishes. Can pair with spice and does better with acidic foods or sauces.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
cold sliced meats, antipasti, BBQ, beef, sausage, chicken, game, ham, tomato-based pasta, pizza

Cheese Pairings:
Asiago, Bel Paese, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Grana, Morbier, Muenster, Parmesan, Pecorino, Romano, Taleggio

Agiorgitiko

  (ah-zheor-GEE-tee-koh)
Synonyms: Aghiorghitiko, Mavro Nemeas, Mavronemeas, Mavrostaphylo Mavraki, Mavroudi Nemeas, Nemeas Mavro, Nemeas Mavroudi, St. George

Wine Name: Agiorgitiko

Background: This grape is a Greek varietal grown mostly in the Peleponnese that makes a low acid, spicy, plum-tasting red wine. As a varietal it is very susceptible to viruses which can explain its varying characteristics such as ranging from soft to tannic in structure. It can be made into dry, off dry, Rosé or sweet versions.

Classic Brands and Sources: Antonopoulos, Boutari, Gaia, Skouras

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with savory, medium-bodied meat and vegetable dishes

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Game, duck, lamb, sausages both savory and spiced, smoked ham, grilled and roasted meats especially with herbs, paella, cheese based pasta, root vegetables and beans

Cheese Pairings:
American, Colby, Mild cheddar, Velveeta, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar), Fontina, Gouda, Mahon, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Roncal, Serena, Triple Creme, St André, Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (without rinds)

Appetizer Pairings:

See Appetizers that Pair with Agiorgitiko