Published on April 4, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


The grape top ten chart

The world’s most used varieties composed by Vincent Zeller

Despite their huge popularity in the UK, Pinot Grigio and Malbec don’t make the world’s top ten grape varieties by use. Here they are in all their red and white glory, which is really no indication of what you should be drinking; after all, it’s your choice. In descending order are:

1 Cabernet Sauvignon: The world’s best-travelled red wine variety makes concentrated tannic wines that benefit from a period of ageing.

2 Merlot: An early ripening grape variety from Bordeaux that is fleshy and fulsome with flavours of sweet plum.

3 Airen: Perhaps not a familiar name but Spain’s most widely planted white grape variety is used in the production of white Rioja and brandy.

4 Tempranillo: Spain’s most famous grape, responsible for the majority of its most celebrated reds.

5 Chardonnay: Recovering from a backlash in the UK following its all-conquering days in the 1980s but remaining hugely popular world wide. Versatile, widely planted and equally capable of extreme mediocrity and elegance bordering on regal.

6 Syrah/Shiraz: A generally fashionable alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon that can be produced in a wide variety of styles.

7 Grenache/Garnacha: Very widely planted, long-lived vine making strong, sweetish reds and some successful rosés.

8 Sauvignon Blanc: The parent of Cabernet Sauvignon that produces much appreciated aromatic, zesty, crisp whites with grassy, citrus notes.

9 Trebbiano Toscano: A Tuscan white grape variety also known as Ugni Blanc which some people find uninspiring.

10 Pinot Noir: Silky and sensual red grape variety that often flatters to deceive but at its best, can be utterly sublime.

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Alastair Gilmour

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