Get to Know the Noble Grapes

Guest Post | January 9, 2022

noble grapes

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You have probably had wine from Noble Grapes, and simply not known that it was somehow significant.  These six grapes have achieved such popularity to be planted and harvested for wine for thousands of years. You could go back 1,000 years and find a glass of these wines that would have similar characteristics to today’s vintage made from the same grapes.

The Color of Nobility

For red wines, the noble grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. The colour may be more of a deep purple. The flavours are stronger and stand up best to rich foods such as red meats, mushrooms, and buttery sauces.

As for white wines, the noble grapes are Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.  These are nearly clear liquids with a golden hue. They have a lighter flavour and are more likely to be offered with seafood and fish.

Cabernet Sauvignon is Number One

Coming in at number one, this noble grape is grown more places than any other. It produces a full-bodied liquid that is high in tannins and acidity. The terroir where it is grown will help determine its underlying flavours which often include dark fruits such as plums, blackberries, and black cherries. A good Cabernet Sauvignon is when paired with prime rib, filet mignon, and other cuts of steak. Vegetarians will appreciate it with any dish containing mushrooms.

Merlot is Second in Line

The Merlot noble grape isn’t as widely planted as Cabernet, but it is still number two among red wines. The resulting liquid is smoother and less acidic. It has lower tannin levels and is often a bit sweeter and certainly fruity. It’s often paired with roasted chicken because it won’t overpower poultry like a Cabernet might.

Pinot Noir is Lighter

Pinot Noir noble grapes produce a wine that is smoother, lower in acidity and tannins, and yet still an excellent red wine variety. The grape itself is lighter coloured. Since these are small and hard to grow, the wine is more expensive than a standard Merlot or Cabernet. Like the other noble red grapes, a Pinot Noir usually has dark fruit flavours as well as some earthy tones. In general, this is the rare wine that pairs well with just about any main dish.

Chardonnay is Number One, Too

Chardonnay is grown in more places around the world and in greater quantities than any other white grape. This noble variety can produce a wide range of flavours because it is lighter and more susceptible to absorbing flavours from its growing conditions.  Without hardwood, it is often crisp and fruity. If the ageing process includes oak barrels, then it tends to be described as smoother and buttery.

Sauvignon Blanc Can Go Either Way

Sauvignon Blanc is made from noble grapes that would look right on your dinner table. These white grapes produce medium to high acidity, somewhat like the acid levels in the Cabernet Sauvignon without the red tannins. These noble white grapes produce a dry white wine. In oak barrels, the wine becomes more complex and rich. Without that technique, the white wine maintains a lighter, fruitier flavour. Light wines pair well with seafood because they don’t overpower the taste of the food. 

Riesling Likes Spicy Foods

Spicy foods aren’t easy to pair. Reds are too strong. Whites are too light. Somehow, Riesling manages to strike the right balance with spicy dishes from Asia or Latin America. These noble grapes can vary widely in their flavour. As a result, a Riesling may be dry or sweet. More often than not, it is a highly acidic wine. The fruity flavours in this wine tend to be citrusy, such as grapefruit, lemon, and orange. 

There are many varieties of grapes, but the noble grapes are the best known and loved. That’s reason enough to discover which ones are your favourites.

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