Writer: Chik Brenneman

100 result(s).

Riesling: German nobility

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.

Merlot: Noble grape of Bordeaux

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

Nero d’Avola: The red grape of Sicily

. . . 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.

Marquette: A hardy cold-climate hybrid

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).


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.

Versatile Viognier

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.

High Acids, Low Tannins: Barbera

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

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

La Crescent: Cold-Climate Hybrid

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

Syrah: Versatile, bold and colorful

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 . . .

Chenin Blanc: The taste of terroir

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

Wine Blending Partners

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

Cabernet Sauvignon: The king of red wine grapes

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


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

Cabernet Franc: The “other” Cabernet king

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

Wines Two Ways: Oaked and Unoaked

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

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

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.

Chambourcin: A vigorous, dark hybrid

. . . (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 . . .

Torrontés: An alternative to the common whites

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 . . .

Sangiovese: The king of Tuscany

Grapes in Tuscany are a way of life, and Sangiovese, the red workhorse of Tuscany through the millennia, is as noble as they get — well, depending who you talk to.

Pinot Blanc: A grape with an identity crisis

Pinot Blanc — one of the offspring of Pinot Noir — is waiting for its 15 minutes of fame to come around.

Marechal Foch

Marechal Foch is a cold-climate red grape that has dispersed plantings in the Midwest, Northeast, and Canada.

Muscadine: A taste of the South

Muscadine is a grape variety from the South that is used in many culinary recipes, but also makes a fine wine.

Petit Verdot: The forgotten Bordeaux blend grape

Petit Verdot is one of the “big five” grapes that make up a Bordeaux blend. Learn more about this red blender.

Vidal Blanc

Vidal Blanc was originally develloped for Cognac production in the cold maritime regions of western France. Today it is a go-to grape in the US Northeast and Midwest as well as Canada. Plus, a recipe for Vidal icewine.

100 result(s) found.