V is for Vidal: a wine grape lexicon

42. Vidal Vineyard

There are over 5,000 varieties of grapes used for making wine. The other day I tried testing myself to see if I could name at least one grape for every letter of the alphabet. (Well, you’ve got to do something while you’re driving!) The following list is what I came up with. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I confess I had to do a little research for the more difficult letters.

But first, why not test yourself. Cover the right three-quarters of your computer screen with a sheet of paper and see what you come up with —

A    is for Albariño (Alvarinho in Portugal), Aligoté, Arneis, and Airén.

B    is for Barbera, Brachetto, Bourbelenc, and Bastardo.

C    is for Chardonnay, Chasselas, Chenin Blanc, Corvina, Cortese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carignan, Cinsaut, and Côt.

D    is for Dolcetto, Dornfelder, and Durif.

E    is for Elbling and Espadeiro.

F    is for Furmint, Frappato, and Frontignan.

G    is for Gamay, Grenache (or Garnacha), Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Garganega, Grignolino, and my newly found favorite Godello.

H    is for Hanepoot and Helfensteiner.

I    is for Inzolia.

J    is for Jurancon Noir and Juzna Morava.

K     is for Kekfrankos, Kadarka, and Kerner.

L    is for Lambrusco, Lagrein, and Lemberger.

M    is for Merlot, Malbec, Mourvedre, Marsanne, Malvasia, Muscat (or Moscato), Muscadelle, Muscadet (or Melon de Bourgogne), Macabeo, Mauzac, Montepulciano, Monastrell, Moschofilero, and Müller-Thurgau.

N    is for Nebbiolo, Nero d’Avola, Negroamaro, and Nosiolo.

O    is for Olasz Rizling.

P    is for Pinot Noir, Palamino, Primitivo, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (Grigio), Pinot Meunier, Petit Verdot, Pinotage, Picpoul, Prosecco, Paralleda, Pedro Ximenez, and Pais.

Q    must remain a Question: Do you know any wine grapes that start with a Q? I don’t.

R    is for Riesling, Rondinella, Rousanne, Refosco, Ribolla Gialla, and Rivaner.

S    is for Syrah (or Shiraz), Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Silvaner, Schioppettino, Spätburgunder, St-Laurent, and Steen.

T    is for Tempranillo, Trebbiano, Touriga Nacional, Teroldego, Torrontes, and Tannat.

U    is for Ugni Blanc and Uva Rara.

V    is for Verdelho, Viognier, Vermentino, Verdicchio, Viura, and Vidal.

W    is for Weissburgunder and Welschriesling.

X    is for Xarel-lo.

Y    is for Yellow Muscat. And –

Z     is for Zinfandel and Zweigelt.

So what’s the point? The point is that there’s a whole world of wines out there to try and enjoy. Many of these grape varieties can be found, at least in blends, at your local ABC. Others are difficult but not impossible to find. So many people get stuck in the rut of buying Chardonnay or Cabernet or Merlot or Pinot Grigio. Why not give your taste buds a treat tonight and try a type of wine you’ve never had before. You could very well find you have a new favorite!

Bill Stobbs, ABC Wine Supervisor


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