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Cabernet Sauvignon is the king of red grapes because of it's ability to grow worldwide in a number of climates. This grape is responsible, as a whole or a partner, for some of the greatest wines in the world.  It's the principle grape of Bordeaux and the Right Bank's various blends. Most of the classic and cult wines of Napa Valley are made with Cabernet Sauvignon. Some typical Cabernet Sauvignon descriptors are cassis, cedar and currant.  In Bordeaux you'll find more of the earthy, tannic side of Cabernet.  It's almost always blended in Bordeaux and in warmer regions like California and Australia, you'll frequently get more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
The Merlot grape is lower in tannins and makes wines that mature faster and are softer in texture.  Merlot is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon in order to soften the blend.  Merlot usually has ripe berry components in the bouquet.  Its wines tend to be soft, fruity and smooth in texture.  Malbec originated in southwest France, where it still is grown under the name Cot.  Malbec came to Argentina in the late nineteenth century.  Malbec produces spicy, powerful wines that are rich in black fruits.
Pinot Noir is a finicky grape.  It only grows in the right climate, with the right soils and the right care. Perhaps because it is so difficult is why it is so loved.  Pinot Noir's home and the classic wines from the grape hail from Burgundy and is essential in Champagne.  Pinot Noir has been successful in areas like Oregon, California and lately, New Zealand.  Pinot Noir from France gives flavors and aromas of red fruit, baking spices, mushrooms and truffles.  Pinot Noir from the new world exudes stronger fruit intensity, some wines able to reach a high level of complexity, structure and age.
Syrah and Shiraz - same grape, different name.  The home base of Syrah is the Northern Rhone, where it creates the exclusive wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie.  Syrah made a big splash in Australia, where it's called Shiraz and reigns as the most planted grape of the country.  The West Coast also does a superb job with the grape.  Typical aromas and flavors from Syrah-based wines include pepper, blackberry and leather or smoke.  New World Syrah can be quite jammy on the palate.
Although it's not from America (Croatia has been named its origin), Zinfandel has a rightful place in California as it's first great red grape.  During Prohibition, Zinfandel was the favored grape for communion wine, which is why so many old vines are still around today.  It grows well in the warm, sunny regions of California and is succeptible to excessive sugar levels, creating powerfully rich wines high in alcohol.  Zinfandel stands out with its very berry intensity, packed with jammy flavors of blueberries and blackberries. It's not short on tannins either, although the fruit and alcohol adds balance.
This is a catch all category for all red blends utilizing the following five grapes;  Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot.
This is a catch all category for red blends made primarily with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault and a cast of other red grapes.
Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world.  Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in the country long before the Romans started developing their own vineyards in the 2nd century BC.  Two thousand years later, Italy is one of the world's foremost producers, responsible for approximately one-fifth of world's wine production.  Italy has 20 distinct wine regions that grow over 350 "authorized" grapes.  Another 500 "unauthorized" grapes are cultivated as well.  Sangiovese in Tuscany and Nebbiolo in Piedmont are the leading grapes of the north with a wide array of different grapes utilized in the south.
Under Roman rule, Spanish wine was widely exported and traded throughout the Roman empire.  Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 2.9 million acres planted to vine, making it the most widely planted wine producing nation in the world (third in production).  The country has over 600 grape varieties planted throughout Spain though 80% of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes, primarily Tempranillo, Albariño, Garnacha, Palomino, Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo, Cariñena and Monastrell.  The Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions are known for their Tempranillo production.  The South is dominated by the Grenache (Garnacha) and Mourvedre (Monastrell) grapes.

Catavinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room

3063 North Alvernon Way
Tucson Arizona 85712

Phone:  520-323-3063
Fax:  520-795-2276
e-mail:  yvonne@catavinoswines.com

Tuesday and Wednesday  -  11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Thursday through Saturday - 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday