Introductory Wine Course, Part 5


Welcome back to our Introductory Wine Course series!

Our final lession is on white & red varieties and styles.

Labelling wines in Australia

  • Varietal composition - What grape varieties are used in the wine. By Australian law, varietally labelled wines must contain at least 85% of the specified grape type. If there is more than one grape, the varietals must be listed in descending order of content ie Cabernet Sauvignon 60% / Merlot 40%.
  • Origin - Where the grapes originally come from. In Australia we call the origin ‘Appellation’ there are 28 registered appellations in Australia. Barossa Valley & King Valley are both Australian appellations.
  • Brand name - Lou Miranda Estate, Leone, Southern Trail and Terreno are all brand names owned by Lou Miranda Estate.

Classifying grapes and styles
White grape varieties

  • Neutral
  • Light or Aromatic - never oaked, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Medium bodied - sometimes oaked
  • Full bodied - oaked and rich, Chardonnay 

Red grape varieties

  • Blush/Rose
  • Medium bodied - Merlot
  • Full bodied - Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz 

White wines that age

 Most white wines are produced without any skin contact, (phenolics help a wine age). Acid, sugar & certain winemaking techniques help white wine to age. In summary: Riesling ages best of the aromatic styles. Oak fermented and matured chardonnay especially with lees contact ages well. Botrytis & sweet wines also have a good life span.

Red wines that age

Just because it is a red wine, does not mean that it is capable of ageing gracefully. Some prerequisites are:

  • Purpose of consumption - early drinking styles are made soft and easy drinking, wines meant for ageing tend to be stronger and richer.
  • Overall balance - if a wine is not well balanced in its youth, it will not gain fruit and flavour with age.
  • Personal taste - some people enjoy aged wines while others dislike them.
  • Variety - medium bodied varieties like pinot noir tend to favour early consumption whilst thick skinned cabernet sauvignon are naturally age-worthy.
  • There are always exceptions to the rule.

Flavour characteristics of white varieties

  • Pinot Grigio - Apple, pear, citrus, lime, passionfruit
  • Sauvignon Blanc - Asparagus, capsicum, herbaceous, grassy, gooseberry, tropical fruit
  • Chardonnay - Cucumber, grapefruit, apple, melon, peach, fruit salad, fig, tropical fig
  • Botrytis Semillon - Peach, honey, apricot
Flavour characteristics of red varieties
  • Merlot - Herbaceous, leafy fruit, violets, sappy, cherry, raspberry, plum, beetroot, blackcurrent
  • Cabernet Sauvignon - Herbaceous, capsicum, tomato bush, leafy, minty, black olive, blackcurrent
  • Shiraz - Herbs, spice, raspberry, plum, pepper, blackberry, mulberry, liquorice, black olive, jam

We hope you have learned a thing or two about wine during our series. If you have any questions, please doen't hesitate to stop by the Cellar Door or ask on our Facebook Page.


Introductory Wine Course, Part 1 >> Read More
Introductory Wine Course, Part 2 >> Read More 
Introductory Wine Course, Part 3 >> Read More
Introductory Wine Course, Part 4 >> Read More