7 Noble Grapes

The 7 Noble Grapes are the prolific grapes of the wine world. They are grown around the world, while maintaining their core characteristics — or essence.

You can start your Wine Decoding journey here, where we’ll taste wine made from each of the 7 noble grapes. By tasting them side-by-side, it may help reveal the type of wine you enjoy the most. Then experience the Wine Decoder Tasting for the Noble Grape(s) you enjoy most. You will find more information about the grape and wine styles along with several tasting recommendations.

   

Recommendations

I’ve listed wine recommendations for each of the 7 Noble Grapes here. There are several ways you can conduct the tasting. Invite friends and have each of them bring one of the wine recommendations. Open them all, tasting the whites first then the reds in the order below. Have everyone rate the wine for themselves to get a better idea of which type of wine they like the best.

Another option is to split up the tasting and try the white wine side-by-side. Then at a separate time taste the red wine side-by-side.

*This is not sponsored content. Just me sharing some good wine for you to try.*

Schmitt Soehne -Riesling - Germany | commongrape.com

Riesling

This grape originates in Germany and the wine varies from sweet to dry (not sweet). This recommendation is semi-sweet. The wine bottle doesn’t always clearly indicate if the wine will be sweet or dry. However, there are tricks to figuring this out. Go to the Wine Decoder Tasting for Riesling to find out more.

Germany
S Sohne Piesporter Michelsburg Spatlese
Vintage: 2016
Varietal: Riesling – Spatelese
Appellation: Mosel
Rating: n/a
Avg Price: $13

(Semi-Sweet)

Kim Crawford - Sauvignon Blanc - Australia | commongrape.com

Sauvignon Blanc

This grape originates in France and is characteristically light and acidic which works well with spicy foods and is easy drinking by itself.

New Zealand
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Vintage: 2017
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Marlborough
Winery: Kim Crawford
Rating: 86pts Wine Enthusiast
Avg Price: $18

Wente Chardonnay - Calfornia | commongrape.com

Chardonnay

Originates in France and is produced in 3 styles: Oaked, Unoaked and in Sparkling/Champagne. Oaked means that it ages for a time in oak barrels which gives it a toast, vanilla and buttery flavor. Unoaked means it ages in steel tanks which will give it a brighter, lighter taste.

California
Wente Chardonnay Morning Fog 2016
Vintage: 2016
Varietal: Chardonnay
Appellation: Livermore Valley (San Fran Bay area)
Winery: Wente Vineyards
Rating: n/a
Avg price: $15
(light oak)

Meiomi Pinot Noir - California | commongrape.com

Pinot Noir

Originates in the Burgundy region of France. This is a light style red that is easy drinking by itself while one of the more versatile wine with food.

California
Meiomi Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2016
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sonoma County-Monterey County-Santa Barbara County
Rating: 88pts Wine Enthusiast
Avg Price: $25

Chateau St Michelle Merlot - Washington | commongrape.com

Merlot

Originating in the Bordeaux region of France. It is usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon because the Merlot helps to smooth out the strong tannins typically found in Cabs. California and Washington offer single varietal Merlot which is a great food wine. It offers a nice balance of smoothness and tannin.

Washington
Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot, Indian Wells 2015
Vintage: 2015
Varietal: Merlot
Appellation: Columbia Valley
Winery: Chateau Ste Michelle
Rating: 90pts Wine Enthusiast
Avg Price: $14

Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon - California | commongrape.com

Cabernet Sauvignon

Another Bordeaux region grape in France. As mentioned above, this wine is blended with Merlot in both France and Italy. In California, you’ll find the best single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon which we’ll taste here. It is a great food wine because of the tannins which give a very dry mouth feel. I highly recommend having steak, burgers, or roasted portabella mushrooms on hand to try with this wine.

California
Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Vintage: 2016
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Sonoma County
Winery: Duckhorn Vineyards
Rating: 88pts Wine Spectator
Avg price: $20

Thorn-Clarke Shiraz - Terra Barossa Valley-Australia | commongrape.com

Syrah/Shiraz

While this is the same grape, the name variation indicates the style of the wine. Syrah (typically French) is more elegant with tannin and soft fruit while Shiraz (typically Australian) is more fruit forward.

Australia
Thorn Clarke 2015 Terra Barossa Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
Vintage: 2015
Varietal: Shiraz
Appellation: Barossa Valley
Winery: Thorn Clarke
Rating: 91 Wine Spectator
Avg price: $19

TASTING NOTES

   

WHITE WINE TASTING NOTES

See

Compare the color of the wine by tilting your glass slightly with a white napkin or paper behind it. See how clear or opaque the wine is along with the type and depth of color. This helps tell you the style of the wine. If a white wine is aged in steel tanks, it will be a lighter clear color compared to one aged in oak barrels which will have more of a golden straw coloring.

Riesling: pale straw
Sauvignon Blanc: pale straw with hints of green
Chardonnay: pale to golden straw coloring

Sniff

Smell the wine in your glass. Swirl the wine and smell again. An aromatic grape will have aromas that rise from your glass easily compared to a non-aromatic grape where you’ll have to really stick your nose in the glass to catch the aromas.

Riesling: an aromatic grape with floral and citrus notes
Sauvignon Blanc: an aromatic grape with tropical fruit, citrus and herbs
Chardonnay: not an aromatic grape. Contains apple and citrus aromas. This selection will have a light vanilla and toast aroma that comes from partial aging in oak.

Taste

Swirl the wine in your mouth to capture all of the flavors. You will notice certain notes initially while other notes will come through as you continue to taste the wine.

Riesling: flavor of apple, pear, peach with high acidity. No oak or tannin. Contains minerality (flinty) with light, crisp taste. Light body.
Sauvignon Blanc: tropical fruit with high acidity. No oak or tannin. Light to medium body.
Chardonnay: flavor of apples, light vanilla and toast with medium acidity. Light oak and no tannin. Medium to full body.

RED WINE TASTING NOTES

See

Compare the color of the wine by tilting your glass slightly with a white napkin or paper behind it. See how clear or opaque the wine is along with the type and depth of color. This helps tell you the style of the wine. These 4 reds will go from a light opaque, ruby to a deep opaque, dark red or plum color.

Pinot Noir: Light ruby and more translucent.
Merlot: Deep red in color. Slightly opaque.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark red in color. Very opaque (can’t see fingers between glass and napkin).
Syrah/Shiraz: Deep dark red in color. Very opaque.

Sniff

Smell the wine in your glass. Swirl the wine and smell again. Red wine is typically not aromatic. Really stick your nose in the glass to identify the aromatic differences between the wine.

Pinot Noir: Not an aromatic grape. Notes of cherry, blackberry, vanilla and toast.
Merlot: Not an aromatic grape. Notes of black cherry and plum.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Not an aromatic grape. Notes of black cherry, black currant and rich earthy scents.
Syrah/Shiraz: Not an aromatic grape. Blackberry, coffee and pepper.

Taste

Swirl the wine in your mouth to capture all of the flavors. You will notice certain notes initially while other notes will come through as you continue to taste the wine.

Pinot Noir: Light fruit flavors of cherry and raspberry. Medium levels of acidity. Light levels of tannin. Oak aging which gives hints of vanilla and toast.
Merlot: Black cherry, raspberry, plum. Medium levels of acidity and tannin. Oak aging gives hints of vanilla and toast.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Black cherry, black currant, tobacco, vanilla and toast. Medium acidity and oak. Medium-high tannin. Medium to full body.
Syrah/Shiraz: Black fruit, blackberry, coffee, pepper. Medium acidity and oak. Medium-high tannin. Full body.

EASY RATING SYSTEM

After you taste each wine, give it a rating using this easy rating system. Add notes to help remember what you liked or didn’t like about the wine.

5pts   Love!
4pts   Like
3pts   Good, but not great
2pts   Meh
1pt     Not for me

7 Noble Grapes - Tasted - Decoded - Badge | commongrape.com

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