Etna Rosso

Synonyms: Mascalese nera, Mascali, Mascalisi, Mascoli, Negrello, Negrello 39, Nerello, Nerello Calabrese, Nerello Carbunaru, Nerello di Mascali, Nerello Mostrale, Nerello Paesano, Niereddo, Niereddu, Niredda, Nireddu, Nirello, Nirello Mascalese, Niureddu, Niureddu Mascalese, Niureddu Mascalisi

Wine Name: Etna Rosso, Nerello Mascalese

Background: In the Etna Rosso DOC in Sicily, on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna, two grapes are allowed in Etna Rosso, 80-100% Nerello Mascalese and up to 20% Nerello Cappuccio. Vineyards are located at about 2000-3000 feet elevation which preserves acidity of the grapes but also allows for long sun exposure and ripening. By DNA studies, the Nerello Mascalese grape has been identified to be a cross between Sangiovese and some other as yet unknown grape variety. The wine has predominantly red fruit aromas such as strawberry and cherry, with moderately high acidity. Tastes include spices, vanilla, leather and anise. The body can be on the lighter side unless the season is unusually long.

Classic Brands and Sources:    Al-Cantàra, Benanti, Idda, Pietra Dolce, Tenuta delle Terre Nere 

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Dry, medium bodied

Body – medium (-) – medium

Acidity – medium (+) – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium weight fine-grained

Alcohol – medium to high

Wine and food pairing guidelines: The red berry flavors and high acidity with medium tannins makes this wine similar to the lighter bodied Pinot Noirs for the purpose of food pairing. Choose  foods that are light to medium body that are not excessively salty or fatty.
Foods and Entrees that usually pair:  Oily fish such as tuna, swordfish, or salmon , Chicken and pork dishes with acid sauces or marinades.

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

Appetizers Pairings: See also Light red acidic wine appetizers 

Tempranillo

  (te-prah-NEE-yoh)
Synonyms: Tempranillo, Tinto Fino, Cencibel, Tinto del Pais, Tinto de Toro, Ull de Liebre (Spain); Tinta Roriz, Tinta Aragonez (Portugal); Tempranilla (Argentina ), Aldepenas, Aragones, Aragónez de Ferra, Aragónez de Elvas, Arganda, Arinto Tinto, Cencibel, Cencibera, Chinchillana, Chinchillano, Chinchilyano, Cupani, Escobera, Garnacho Fono, Grenache de Logrono, Jacibiera, Jacivera, Juan Garcia, Negra de Mesa, Ojo de Liebre, Olho de Lebre, Sensibel, Tempranilla, Tempranillo de la Rioja, Tempranillo de Perralta, Tempranillo de Rioja, Tempranillo de Rioza, Tinta Aragóneza, Tinta Aragónes, Tinta de Santiago, Tinta de Toro, Tinta del País, Tinta do Inacio, Tinta Monteiro, Tinta Roríz da Penajola, Tinta Santiago, Tinto Aragon, Tinto de la Rioja, Tinto de Madrid, Tinto de Rioja, Tinto Fino Ull de Llebre, Tinto Madrid, Tinto País, Tinto Ribiera, Tinto Riojano, Ull de Llebre, Valdepeñas, Valdepenhas, Verdiell, Vid de Aranda

Wine Name: Tempranillo, Rioja and many different producer brand names from Rioja, Ribero del Duero, Toro, Castilla-La Mancha, Valdepeñas, and Navarra in Spain and Douro in Portugal

Background: Tempranillo is to Spain what Merlot is to California. It is a low acid grape but the exception is that it has higher tannins than Merlot. Tempranillo grapes are used to produce the great red Spanish Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines and dry red wines of the Douro in Portugal. Sometimes the wines are pure Tempranillo and sometimes they are blended with other grapes. The grapes can make wines of different styles from light and fruity to full-bodied, fine wines with great tannins. Tempranillo usually tastes of spicy plum, blackberry, raspberry, and black cherry when young, and coffee, tobacco and mineral as they age. In cooler climates, Tempranillo usually makes a low acid wine (the opposite of what most grapes do) that takes well to oak aging. Most often, American oak is used for the aging. Acidity can range from low to high and tannins can range from soft to harsh, depending upon the grape grower and the vintner.

A step above typical Rioja is Crianza (aged 2 years, one in oak barrel and one in bottle). Next comes Reserva (aged 3 years, one in oak barrel and two in bottle, and the oldest being a Gran Reserva (aged 5 years, two in oak barrels and three in the bottle)

Classic Brands and Sources: Abadia Retuerta, Artadi, Allende, Bodegas Roda, Muga, Palacio, Montecastro, Alejandro Fernandez, Emilio Moro and many other Spanish producers in Toro, Rioja, Ribera del Duero ; Portugal – Cortes de Cima, Quinta dos Caravalhais, Quinta do Vale da Raposa

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

Style #2 – Rioja Reserva +

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Tempranillo wines generally pair better with more savory, herbed dishes rather than acidic 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 Appetizer Pairings for Tempranillo

Zweigelt

  (zz-VIE-gelt)
Synonyms: Rotburger, Blaue Zweigeltrebe, Blauer Zweigelt, Zweigelt Blau, Zweigeltrebe, , Zweigelt-rebe, Zweigeltrebe blau, Cvaigelt, Cveigelt, Klosterneuburg 71, Klosterneuburg 181-2-71, Totburger, Zweigelt 71, 

Wine Name: Zweigelt

Background: Zweigelt was developed in Austria in 1922 by Dr. Friedrich Zweigelt from a crossing of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch grapes. It is presently the most widely-grown red grape variety in Austria. The grape produces a wine with cherry flavors, exotic spice. pepper and floral character and aromas of cinnamon and violets.

Classic Brands and Sources: Feiler-Artinger, Gernot Heinrich, Hopler, Hans Pitnauer, Weingut Hans Johann Schwarz, Weingut Umathum, Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with white meats and light red meats with acidic sauces

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Pairs with lighter red meats, fowl, chicken and shellfish especially when cooked in wine or with a wine, vinegar or tomato-based sauce. Roasted ham hock, grilled sausages with mustard, duck confit. 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

Appetizer Pairings:

See also Light red acidic wine appetizers

Valdiguié

  (VAL-dih-ghee)
Synonyms: Valdiguié, Aramon du Sud-Ouest, Brocol, Cahors, Cot de Cheragas, Cote verte, Folle noire, Gamay, Gamay 15, Gros Auxerrois, Isabelle, Jan Pierrou, Jan Pierrou, Jasmin, Jean-Pierrou, Mourvedre d’ Afrique, Moutet, Napa Gamay, Noir de Chartres, Panse, Plant de Cros, Plant de la Roxo, Plant du Midi, Quercy, Valdiguer

Gros Auxerrois, Brocol, Napa Gamay, Gamay 15, Gamay of Beaujolais, Valdiguer, Cahors, Jean-Pierrou at Sauzet, Quercy and Noir de Chartres

Wine Name: Valdiguié, Wild Flower (J. Lohr), Gamay Rouge (V Sattui)

Background: Originally from the south of France, the home of this grape is now predominantly California with some limited production in the Languedoc and Provence areas of France. For many years in California it was known as Napa Gamay and was thought to be the Gamay Noir of the Beaujolais region of France. DNA studies have identified it as different than Gamay Noir and since 1997 the names Napa Gamay and Gamay Beaujolais have been banned from wine labels in the U.S.

California Vaildiguié has an excellent fruity style somewhat fuller-bodied and less acidic than most French Beaujolais wines. It is medium bodied with flavors of berries and black cherry.

Classic Brands and Sources: U.S. – Broc Cellars. J. Lohr, V. Sattui, Rochioli, Frog’s Leap, Wilson Foreigner

Characteristics:

Style #1 – California

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with lighter and medium bodied dishes especially those with some acidity but can also match savory dishes

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

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

Sangiovese

  (san-joh-VAY-zeh)
Synonyms: Sangioveto, Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino, Nielluccio (Corsica)

Wine Name: Sangiovese, Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montalcino, Carmignano, Morellino di Scansano, Sangiovese di Romagna, Tignanello, Flaccionello della Pieve

Background: Sangiovese grape is the mainstay grape of central Italy, especially Tuscany. It is used to produce Chianti, Brunello and Vino Nobile as well as just plain or blended Sangiovese varietals called Super Tuscans. It is not very aromatic but has dark fruit tastes, bitter cherries, blueberry, plum, violets, licorice, earthy and dusty. It is acidic with sometimes astringent tannins and medium to full-bodied. It can be similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon but it is much more acidic which pairs well with tomato and vinegar-based Italian cooking.

Brunello is one of the Italy’s best-known and most expensive wines. It is fuller bodied and more tannic than most Sangiovese wines but it is similarly acidic and not very aromatic. There may be subtle flavors of blackberry, black cherry, black raspberry, chocolate, leather and violets but the late release of the wine after harvest results in less fruit flavors. Generally there is a normale and a riserva bottling. The normale bottles are released on the market 50 months after harvest and the riserva are released a year after the normale.

Classic Brands and Sources:
Sangiovese – Italy – many producers; California – Atlas Peak, Au Bon Climat, Seghesio, Staglin, Shafer, Viansa; Australia – Brown Brothers, Coriole, Crittenden Wines, Scaffidi
Brunello – Valdicava, Casanova di Neri, Eredi Fuligni, Fanti, Mocali, Silvio Narda, La Poderina, Poggio Antico, Castello Romitorio, San Filippo, Terralsole

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Vino di Tavola (generic Sangiovese)

Body – medium

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – high

Style #2 – Chianti

Body – medium to medium (+)

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – high

Style #3 – Brunello di Montalcino

Body – full

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – high


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with hearty acidic dishes such as red meats cooked in wine or tomato bases

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Olives, tomato-based pasta, roasted meats and game, chicken in wine sauce, mushrooms, pancetta, prosciutto, pizza , smoked meat, cold cuts, salami

Cheese Pairings:
Asiago, Bel Pase, Fontina, Grana, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pecorino, Provolone, Romano, Taleggio

Montepulciano

  (mon-te-pull-chay-AH-no)
Synonyms: Cordicso, Cordiscio, Cordisco, Cordisio, Monte Pulciano, Montepulciano Cordesco, Montepulciano di Torre de Passeri, Montepulciano Primatico, Morellone, Premutico, Primaticcio, Primutico, Sangiovese Cardisco, Sangiovese Cordisco, Sangiovetto, Torre dei Passeri, Uva Abruzzese and Uva Abruzzi

Wine Name: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Molise Rosso, Rosso Conero (a blend with up to 15% Sangiovese), Rosso Picento (a blend with 30-50% Sangiovese),

Background: This grape is predominantly grown in eastern Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, and Umbria regions of Italy. It is different than the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano grape from Tuscany. It is a low acid grape, with soft tannins. Flavors and aromas include blackberries, plums and spice. Some might consider the Montepulciano similar to Merlot wines.

Classic Brands and Sources: Cornacchia, Garofoli, Illuminati, Masciarelli, Moroder, Nicodemi, Saladini, Pilastri, Le Terrazze, Umani Ronchi

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical (Italian source)

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
A low acid wine that pairs well with savory dishes similar to pairings with Merlot

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Game, duck, lamb, sausages both savory and spiced, smoked ham, grilled and roasted meats especially with herbs, mushrooms, paella, cheese and tomato 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)

See also Appetizers that pair with Merlot.

Mencia

  (MEHN-cee-ah or MEHN-thee-ah)
Synonyms: Fernao Pires Tinta, Giao, Jaen, Jaen Galego, Loureiro Tinto, Negra, Negro, Tinto Mencia, Tinto Mollar

Wine Name: Mencia

Background: Mencia is a northwestern Spain red grape similar in characteristics to Cabernet Franc although slightly more acidic and tannic. It is the main red grape in the Bierzo region but also grown in Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra and some other areas of Spain.

Mencia usually has a raspberry herbal flavor, with some floral aromatics and spicy or black pepper finish.

Classic Brands and Sources: Amizade, Benaza, Descendientes de José Palacios, Dominio de Tares, Moure, Priorato de Pantó, Telmo Rodriguez, Vire dos Remedios

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with acidic foods and lighter meats with acidic sauces or marinades

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
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:
Feta, goat cheese, Gouda, Majorero, Mahon, Bucheron, dry Jack cheese, Gouda, Neufchatel, Pont-L’Eveque, Raclette, Reblochon, Roquefort, Saint-Nectare,Vacherin

Dolcetto

 (dohl-CHET-oh)
Synonyms: Acqui, Barbirono, Bathiolin, Batialin, Beina, Bignola, Bignona, Bignonia, Bignonina, Bourdon noir, Cassolo, Charbonneau, Charbono, Chasselas noir, Cote rouge Merille, Crete de Coq, Debili Rifosk, Dolcedo Rotstieliger, Dolceto, Dolcetta nera, Dolcetto a Raspe Verde, Dolcetto a Raspo Rosso, Dolcetto nero, Dolcetto Piemontese, Dolchetto, Dolcino nero, Dolciut, Dolsin, Dolsin Raro, Dolzin, Dolzino, Dosset, Gros noir de Montelimar, Gros Plant, Maennlicher Refosco, Mauvais noir, Montelimar, Monteuse, Montmelian, Mosciolino, Nera Dolce, Nibio, Noirin d’ Espagne, Nord du Lot et Garonne, Ocanette, Orincasca, Ormeasca, Ormeasco, Pico rouge, Pico rouge, Plant de Calarin, Plant de Chapareillan, Plant de Moirans, Plant de Montmelian, Plant de Provence, Plant de Savoie, Plant de Turin, Plant du Roi, Premasto, Primaticcio, Primativo, Primitivo Nero, Promotico, Provencal, Ravanellino, Refork, Refork Debeli, Refork Male, Refosk Debeli, Rotstieliger Dolcedo, Savoyard, Turin, Turino, Uva d’ Acqui, Uva d’ Acquia, Uva del Monferrato, Uva di Ovada, Uva di Roccagrimalda

Wine Name: Dolcetto d’ Alba, Dolcetto d’Acqui, and the DOCG areas (highest quality designation) of Dolcetto d’ Dogliani, Dolcetto d’ Diano d’Alba, and Dolcetto di Ovada, (Piedmonte); Ormeasco (Liguria)

Background: This is an everyday, early release, easy drinking wine of the Langhe region in Piedmont Italy, similar to France’s Beaujolais wine except that it is low acid rather than high acid. It has cherry, black cherry, and currant flavors with undertones of chocolate along with a slightly bitter finish. The low acidity makes it very suitable for pairing with savory, buttery or creamy dishes. Dolcetto di Dogliani and Dolcetto di Ovada are the best, fullest bodied examples.

Classic Brands and Sources: Italy – Altare, Domenico Clerico, Aldo Conterno, Bruno Giacosa, Pio Cesare, Renato Ratti, La Spinetta, Vietti, Abbona, Boschis, M. Marengo, Massolino, Chionetti, Luigi Einaudi, Oddero, Pecchenino, Cascina Scarsi Olivi

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium

Acidity – low to medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium – medium(+)

 

Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Generally a medium bodied food wine that goes well with savory, herbed and spiced dishes, although the somewhat higher tannins help offset salt and fat

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Game, duck, lamb, sausages both savory and spiced, smoked ham, grilled and roasted meats especially with herbs, mushrooms, 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 to Pair with Dolcetto

 

Cabernet Franc

  (KA-behr-nay FRAHN)
Synonyms: Cabernet Franc, Breton, Bouchet, Gros Bouchet, Cabernet Franc Blauer, Cabernet Franc Crni, Cabernet Franc Nero, Cabernet Franc Noir (France); Cabernet, Bordo, Cabernet Frank (Italy)

Wine Name: Cabernet Franc, Chinon (reds), Bourgueil (reds), Samur (reds), Anjou (reds), Samur-Champigny (reds)

Background: This parent of Cabernet Sauvignon is often used as a blending grape in Bordeaux-type or Meritage blends. However on its own it tastes of raspberries and minerals and is soft with less tannins and more perfumey than its offspring. It is about the same low acidity as Cabernet Sauvignon but it is not as full-bodied.

Classic Brands and Sources: France – Ausone, de Beauragard, Cheval Blanc, Bernard Baudry, many Loire Valley producers; Italy – Ca’ del Bosco, Marco Felluga, Quintarelli; USA- Ehlers Estate, Sequoia Grove, Alexander Valley Vineyards, St Francis, Viader, Chinook, Palmer, Pellegrini, Delectus, Cougar Crest; New Zealand – Esk Valley; Chile – Santa Rita;

Characteristics:

Style #1 – cool climate (Loire Valley)

Body – medium

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #2 – warm climate

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with both savory and slightly acidic dishes of medium body

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
grilled and roasted beef, lamb, pork, game, duck, chicken, cold cuts and many vegetables

Cheese Pairings:
mild and medium sharp Cheddar, Edam, Glouchester, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Gouda

Red Burgundy

  (red BURR-gun-dee)
Wine made from 100% Pinot Noir grape.

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 – 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