White Grapes

Chardonnay– the traditional white grape of Burgundy (such as Chablis); Chardonnay is grown all over France and is probably the most famous white varietal in the world today. read more
Chenin blanc– is used frequently in the Loire Valley (where it is also called Pineau de la Loire). Used to make both delicious dry wines as well as sweet dessert wines. read more
Clairette– white grape found commonly in the Languedoc and Rhône. – read more
Gewürztraminer – an aromatic wine grape variety used in white wines and mainly planted in cooler regions. read more
Grenache Blanc– makes meaty whites (usually included as part of a blend) in Languedoc and the Rhône. – read more
Marsanne– is a white wine grape, mainly found in the Northern Rhône region. read more
Mauzac– minor grape used in blending in southwest France. read more
Muscadelle– the 3rd grape in the Sauternes blend, also makes sweet wines in Ste Croix-du-Mont. read more
Petit Manseng– lesser grape used in Languedoc white blends. read more
Pinot Auxerrois– used in blends in the Alsace Region.
Pinot Blanc– lightish grape used in Alsace. read more
Pinot Gris– cousin to Pinot Blanc, this grape is also used widely in Alsace. read more
Roussanne– is a late-ripening white wine grape grown originally in the Rhône wine region. read more
Riesling– grown in Alsace, used to make many single varietal wines. read more
Sauvignon Blanc– used to make wonderful Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, and Menetou-Salon in the Loire. Also widely used in Bordeaux (Graves, Entre- Deux-Mers) and throughout the south. read more
Sauvignon Gris– minor grape used in Sauternes.
Semillon– the great Sauternes grape, is used all over Bordeaux and southwest France in other sweetie appellations like Monbazillac and Soussignac. read more
Ugni Blanc– a base grape for many white wines throughout the south and the main ingredient in cognac.
Viognier– wildly aromatic grape used in the south and the main grape used in the wonderful wines of Condrieu.

Red Grapes

Alicante Bouschet –light, a slightly acidic grape used in Corsica and Provence for the reds.
Cabernet Franc – is the main grape in Loire reds and the secondary grape in Bordeaux. read more
Cabernet Sauvignon– the king of French grapes and principal grape used in the famed Medoc, or left bank of Bordeaux. Grown all over the country. read  more
Carignan– of Spanish heritage, is also used widely in Sardinia. In France, it is a blender grape found frequently in the Languedoc on the other side of the Spanish border. read more
Cinsault– the grape has soft, fruity flavors and makes both rosé and red wines in Provence, Languedoc, and the Rhône. read more
Duras– minor grape cultivated in Gaillac.
Gamay– is the main grape used in Beaujolais and is noted for its strawberry flavors. Also used in some Loire reds, and in Gaillac and Fronton near Toulouse. read more
Grenache (Noir)– superlative grape used all over the south, from Languedoc to the great wines of the
Malbec– the grape that launched Argentina to fame is actually of French descent, and it is grown especially in southwest France. Called “Auxerrois” in Cahors and “Cot” in the Loire. read more
Merille– minor blender grape used in appellations like Fronton, Buzet & Côtes du Marmandais.
Merlot– most famously used to make fine right bank wines in Bordeaux (Saint-Emilion and Pomerol), Merlot is grown all over France. read more about the Merlot grape
Mourvedre– a delightful Southwestern varietal. read more
Negrette– this lesser-known grape is used in Gaillac and Fronton.
Petit Verdot – A late riping grape used in classic Bordeaux blends. read more
Picpoul Noir– minor grape in the Languedoc and Rhône.
Pinot Meunier– the black grape in the Champagne blend. read more
Pinot Noir– the most mythical wines using Pinot Noir would be in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. read more
Syrah– the fabulously spicy grape also known as “Shiraz” outside of France. Grown all over France, but most famously in Côte-Rôtie. read more
Tannat– more widely used in Uruguay than France- is nevertheless an important southwest varietal with structure and backbone, often used in blends.

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2 thoughts on “French Grape Varietals

  1. Fuhndhu says:

    And Gewurtztraminer, Marsanne, Rousanne ?
  2. Des Mc Carthy says:

    Many thanks, Fuhndhu - I have updated the blog post with your suggestions

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