Writer: Chik Brenneman

84 result(s).

Bonarda Argentine Or Douce Noir or Charbono . . .

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Grape varietal names can be a confusing world, typically because one grape varietal may have over a dozen names based on location. But in this case, one grape name has an array of grape varietals. Get the scoop on Bonarda Argentine, one whose history is finally making sense thanks to DNA analysis.

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 23, 2021.

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Blaufränkisch or Lemberger: International grape of mystery

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As with many Old World grapes that are grown widely, Blaufränkisch goes by many names. And thanks to its versatility in the winery and cool-climate tolerance, its popularity is surging. Learn more about this mysterious grape.

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Flexible Frontenac: Making a case for this hybrid

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Scattered throughout the Upper Midwest and Rockies, Frontenac wines are making waves as winemakers learn to coax a lot of flavor from this red grape. Chik Brenneman offers several tips and tricks to working with this hybrid varietal.

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The Illustrious Chardonnay: Fine-tuning the classic

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The king of the white wines, Chardonnay can be expressed in a wide array of styles. Chik Brenneman takes readers on a journey through this grape’s story and tips to creating his favorite version of wine from Chardonnay grapes.

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Bold Brianna: A strong and healthy grower

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Elmer Swenson’s grape breeding program has had a profound effect on the North American wine scene. One such grape to come from his program is Brianna, a grape that required an estimated 93 crosses to produce. Learn about this grape’s heritage as well as how to best work with it.

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Melon De Bourgogne: Or Muscadet or just plain Melon

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More commonly associated by the wine it produces, Melon de Bourgogne is the grape varietal behind Muscadet wines and the sur lie aging technique. But its mystique doesn’t stop there. Learn more about this old grape varietal known by many names.

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Colorful Carménère

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Similar to a varietal like Malbec, Carménère has come to be identified with the wine growing regions of South America, but this grape actually was one of the classics of Bordeaux. Chik Brenneman explains the history of this varietal and how to tame this grape when it gets temperamental.

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 19, 2020.

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Grenache Blanc: Some lessons from the Old World

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Grenache Blanc is a grape from the northwestern region of Spain and, as the name implies, has evolved from Grenache Noir. Chik Brenneman provides instructions on making this grape shine, starting in the vineyard and taking it through to bottle.

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Cinsault: The grape that could . . .

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One of the mainstay grapes found in the heat-prone regions in the Rhône Valley of France is Cinsault. It often is utilized in blends to add softness to Rhône-style wines. Another great use is to turn it into rosé wine. Chik Brenneman gives you the scoop on this varietal.


LaCrosse or La Crosse? True diversity in a grape

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Elmer Swenson helped revolutionize the greater wine world with his cold-hardy grape breeding program. One such grape varietal that emerged from all his work was LaCrosse, with five species of grapes in its heritage. Learn about this grape made popular in colder climates — for good reasons.

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Rosy Roussanne: A grape that doesn’t mind a little heat

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In its homeland in the south of France, Roussanne grapes love some heat . . . probably one reason that it’s found a new home in the Texas Hill Country. Learn about this white grape that can stand up to being a varietal wine when conditions are right or blended with others.

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Primitivo: The early-ripening varietal

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Anyone well versed in wine grape nomenclature knows that Primitivo and Zinfandel are genetically identical. Yet test trials have shown there are some differences with grape types. Learn some of the history and best practices when handling Primitivo.

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Baco Noir: The emigration of a French hybrid

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Originally bred in southwestern France, Baco Noir is a French-American hybrid whose acreage has declined in its native country, but has since emigrated to American soil. Learn about this grape that has found success in some cooler-climate North American vineyards.

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 20, 2019.


Pinot Meunier: The forgotten grape of Champagne

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When it comes to the grapes found in Champagne, most casual wine drinkers can point to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but Pinot Meunier is often left off that list. Find out about the forgotten grape of Champagne, its history, and why you may want to give it a try if you can.

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Foxy Concord: Finding the sweet spot with this American classic

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The grape of North America, Concord has come to dominate the grape juice and jelly markets, but making a solid wine with it can require a little more care than most vinifera grapes. Chik Brenneman digs deep to come up with a solid game plan to making a worthy wine from this grape variety.

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Get groovy with Grüner Veltliner

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Towards the end of the fall 2018 harvest I was looking for a little respite in my calendar, and I came across an appointment scheduled for a Friday night in late November simply titled “Grüner Tasting.” It piqued my interest and I got a little excited about it but didn’t have a clue how it

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Beyond Beaujolais: Get acquainted with Gamay Noir

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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com Wine brings people together. This is cause for great reflection for me personally because as you read this, I will have been retired from the University of California Teaching and Research Winery for several months. It is a very sentimental time in my life because of all the contacts I made

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Riesling Revisited

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Riesling is one of the noble grapes of Germany and can produce a wide array of complex white wines. Learn some of the key elements and techniques that winemakers can utilize when crafting wine from these grapes.

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Stable Sémillon

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Sémillon is a grape variety that is used to produce some of the great white wines of Bordeaux. Learn about what makes this grape so versatile and one that breaks the conception that white wine should be consumed young.

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Chat with Chik Brenneman

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Live Chat with Chik Brenneman, which took place on November 14, 2018.

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Trebbiano Family Tree

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Grape descriptors and the region of origin were often used in the Old World in the naming of a grape. In the case of the Trebbiano family of grapes, this was indeed the case. Unfortunately what they didn’t quite know is the family is much more diverse than just a few varietals.

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Noble Nebbiolo: Time to raise it from the fog

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Explore the grape varietal made famous by the Italian wineries producing Barolo and Barbaresco wines in the Piemonte region of northern Italy. Learn about Nebbiolo’s history, viticulture, enology, and future.

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