In your quest to know more about wine, perhaps you have run across the term “Noble Grapes.” The term “Noble Grape” is used to describe the international grape varieties with the most widespread appeal. They are recognizable for their top quality wine and their principle growing regions. They are readily available and the wine that they produce can be uniquely identified. This list has been defined mostly by history, and as time goes on and varieties become more popular, they are contenders to join the list.
Understanding the list of International Grape Varieties can help you understand the world’s foremost major flavor profiles for both red and white wine. It can also help you identify what wine you prefer over others.
There are 18 total Noble Grapes. Here we will list the 9 RED varieties, listed from lightest to darkest.
- Pinot Noir
The lightest red wine, exploring Pinot Noir is said to help you understand the acidity and aromatics of red wine.
Notable Regions: Oregon, California, Burgundy, Champagne, Chile, New Zealand
Fun Fact: Pinot Noir is one of France’s oldest grapes, dating back to the 1st century. Shop our Pinot Noir bottles!
This wine is well known for a candied and cinnamon flavor. Similar varieties include Zinfandel, which you may have heard of.
Notable Regions: France, Spain, Italy, Australia, California, Washington
Fun Fact: The 3rd Friday of December is the annual Grenache Day.
Merlot wines can taste very different depending on the climate in which the grapes are grown. Cool climates tend to be more earthy and hot climates tend towards a fruit-forward flavor.
Notable Regions: Bordeaux, Italy, California, Washington, Australia, South Africa, Chile
Fun Fact: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are often confused. One way to tell the difference is that Merlot stains orange on the rim because it is so sensitive to light.
Another aromatic wine, Sangiovese is savory mostly and pairs well with lots of food.
Notable Regions: Italy, Corsica, Argentina, California, Washinton, Romania, Australia, Chile
Fun Fact: Sangiovese is pronounced “Sahn-geo-VAY-zay”
This is a very unique wine as it is light in color, savory, and high in tannins/acidity. It is very picky about where it grows.
Notable Regions: Mostly completely Italy! A little in Oregon, Tasmania, New Zealand
Fun Fact: This grape was named for the Italian word for “fog” – nebbia. Harvest season for this grape was very foggy at its homeland in Piedmont, Italy.
This Spanish grape is a great food-pairing wine because of its savory qualities. It is well-known as the base for Rioja blends.
Notable Regions: Spain, Portugal, USA, Australia
Fun Fact: The Tempranillo grape ripens early, and growers gave it its name accordingly – “little early one”
- Cabernet Sauvignon
This grape is arguably the most famous red in the world! The grape is adaptable to be grown in many different regions, but maintains a recognizable flavor.
Notable Regions: France, Chile, USA, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Argentina
Fun Fact: It was discovered around 1996 that Cabernet Sauvignon was actually a natural cross of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc that occurred in the 1600s. Shop our Cab bottles!
Big and Bold with a full body, this grape contains high amounts of antioxidants.
Notable Regions: Rhone, Australia (known as Shiraz), California, Washington.
Fun Fact: Petite Sirah is not the same grape as Syrah. It is a different varietal made with Syrah as one of its “parents.”
This is also a “candied” grape, but more full-bodied than the Grenache. With robust tannins and plump darker berry flavors, it is a bold choice.
Notable Regions: Argentina, France, USA, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand
Fun Fact: Argentina grows 75% of the world’s Malbec grapes.
Now you know about the red Noble Grapes! Stay tuned for the white varieties.
Don’t forget to explore our red wines, now that you have ! Shop now.