Writer: Chik Brenneman

81 result(s).

Norton: New World nobility

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The experts surmise Norton is likely a cross between V. aestivalis and an unknown V. vinifera species. There is possibly some contribution of V. labrusca.

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Verdelho: More than Madeira

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Verdelho is the most widely planted grape on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

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Tempranillo: Spanish nobility

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Tempranillo is the predominant black grape variety from the northern wine region of Spain we know as the Rioja, and other regions of the Iberian Peninsula.

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Colombard: Crisp and versatile

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Despite its innocuous character, Colombard is a good choice for home winemakers, as it is easy to work with and allows for a wide scope of techniques and styles.

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Sauvignon Blanc: The ‘wild white”

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Sauvignon Blanc originated in the Loire Valley of France, and people started cultivating it as a wine grape starting sometime in the 19th century.


Grenache: An international blender

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In the vineyard, Grenache is extremely vigorous and needs a long growing season to mature all of its fruit.

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Riesling: German nobility

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To this day, I consider that Riesling vintage one of the best wines I ever made, and I wish I could find a bottle or two in my cellar to taste what I had predicted to be a very graceful aging wine.

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Merlot: Noble grape of Bordeaux

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. . . Merlot is the most common grape variety grown in France with about 280,000 acres.

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Nero d’Avola: The red grape of Sicily

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. . . Sicily’s legacy of red wine is all about Nero d’Avola, second only to Catarratto Bianco. There are almost 18,000 hectares (about 46,000 acres) of Nero in Sicily.

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Marquette: A hardy cold-climate hybrid

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If you are looking for a cold-tolerant red grape, Marquette might be the varietal for you. Bred in Minnesota, this hybrid can withstand temperatures as low as -30 °F (-34 °C).

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Montepulciano

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To understand Montepulciano the grape, you also have to understand the difference with Montepulciano the place. Chik Brenneman takes you on a tour of eastern Tuscany, Italy in this issue.

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Versatile Viognier

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It was not long ago that Viognier was almost an extinct grape varietal. Luckily for wine fans, both grape growers and winemakers have learned some tricks to unlock this grape’s true potential.

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High Acids, Low Tannins: Barbera

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Barbera is a favorite among winemakers because its high acidity makes it a useful grape for blending and also a unique varietal wine. Get tips to make your own Barbera wines at home.


Pinotage: The Red Grape of South Africa

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Pinotage is the most recognized — though not the most widely grown — South African red wine grape.

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La Crescent: Cold-Climate Hybrid

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Looking for a cold-hardy white to grow in a colder northern clime? Meet the University of Minnesota’s La Crescent.

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Syrah: Versatile, bold and colorful

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Australia recognizes Syrah as Shiraz. It is presumed that the name stuck as the cuttings that were brought to the country in the 1830s by James Busby were identified with the names Ciras and Scryas, making it difficult to research the origins of the name, given the Iranian connection . . .

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Chenin Blanc: The taste of terroir

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Viticulturists in the Loire Valley tend to describe its flavor as an expression of the terroir of the land.

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Wine Blending Partners

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Blending accomplishes several goals in winemaking. It can be done to improve flavor, mouthfeel, cover a defect, balance the chemical profile, adjust the alcohol content, emulate a commercial wine you enjoy or

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Cabernet Sauvignon: The king of red wine grapes

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Cabernet Sauvignon is known for making some of the world’s most robust red wines.

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Gewürztraminer

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Alsace vineyards are tucked into the predominantly east facing slopes of the Vosges Mountains . . .

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Cabernet Franc: The “other” Cabernet king

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Cabernet Franc is thought to have originated in Southwest France, specifically in Libournais.

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Wines Two Ways: Oaked and Unoaked

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To Oak, or not to Oak, a phrase I took from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and changed the words around a little. But going a step further and delving into the tools that

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Pinot Gris/Grigio The name says it all, or does it?

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Unknown to the science at the time, these genetic mutations were first noticed hundreds of years ago in Burgundy, France, where the mutants grew side by side, and sometimes within the same plant as Pinot Noir.

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Chambourcin: A vigorous, dark hybrid

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. . . (Chambourcin) does get a little more respect than other hybrids because of its ability to improve color in other wines without taking away from the other grapes’ varietal character . . .

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Torrontés: An alternative to the common whites

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I was particularly drawn to Torrontés because of the Muscat-like flavors, but another reason was because of the challenge it presents from a winemaking perspective . . .


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