The 6 basic wine varieties

As a Wine Beginner method is everything!. I’ve discovered a very interesting book that takes on a new approach to the Tasting Techniqueinstead of using a 3 phase-related learning system (sight-smell-taste) it uses a 3 level-related learning system in which we taste different groups (levels) of grapes. The book begins with the well-known, classic grapes and then moves on to other grapes that are not so widely spread, but incredibly interesting. The author also proposes different exercises of wine tasting for each level.

Wine Wisdom Susy Atkins

Wine Wisdom: A Complete Wine-tasting Course

by Susy Atkins (2004) – @SusyAtkins

So according to the book,  the First Level of tasting is: understanding the 6 grape varieties. These classic grapes are widely spread and thane produced  quality, award-winning wines for many years.

Below , they are represented with their most common characteristics and differentiated types. For further information, see the Expected Characteristics of each variety located in this wine blog.


  • France: Chablis, Côte d’Or, Mâconna
  • USA:California (Carneros, Central Coast, Napa Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast/Valley)
  • Australia: Victoria, Padthaway, Adelaide Hills, Western Australia



  • Germany: Mosel, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Nahe (Trocken, 1st Crus, QbA, Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese)
  • France: Alsace (Grand Cru, Vin d’Alsace)
  • Austria: Kamptal, Kremstal, Wachau
  • Australia: Clare Valley, Eden Valley (Dry Styles Only)


Sauvignon Blanc

  • France: Loire Valley (Central Vineyards), Bordeaux (Pessac-Léognan, Graves)
  • USA: California (Napa / Sonoma – Oaked Styles Only)
  • New Zealand

Sauvignon blancCabernet Sauvignon

  • France-Bordeaux: Graves, Médoc (Margaux, Paulliac, St. Estèphe, St. Julien) (Bordeaux AOC to First Growth)
  • Australia: Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Margaret River, McLaren Vale
  • Chile-Central Valley: Curicó, Maipo, Maule, Rapel
  • USA: California (All Napa, All Sonoma, Central Coast); Washington (Columbia Valley)

Cabernet Sauvignon


  • France-Bourdeux: Pomerol, St.-Émilion
  • USA: California (Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley); Washington (Columbia Valley)


Pinot Noir 

  • France.Burgundy: Côte d’Or
  • USA: California (Anderson Valley, Carneros, Central Coast, Sonoma Coast/Valley); Oregon (Willamette Valley)
  • New Zealand: Central Otago, Marlborough, Martinborough

Pinot Noir


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