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The black grape varieties
Learn more about the grape variety
Discover all types of black grape varieties
Did you know that several elements contribute to the production of a quality wine? If the climate of the region, the type of soil and the weather are important, it is more the grape variety (variety of vine plant cultivated) and the juice it produces that are decisive.
Indeed, the grape variety is the essential element of the wine, because it gives it the taste, the content, the appearance and the aromas. There are white grape varieties, black grape varieties and red grape varieties.
let's find out today together in this article the black grape varieties.
The main black grape varieties
There are several varieties of black grape varieties in the world. But not all have the same performance, and the same fame.
It is for this reason that this article has made a selection of the most famous of them by focusing on their bastion of production, and their respective characteristics.
Production area: in all sincerity, it is difficult to say with certainty which region Syrah comes from.
Taking into account the legends that contradict each other, it could be that she originated from one of these three ancient cities: Sicily, Syria or Persia. But more concretely, tests have recently shown that in reality it originates from the northern Rhône coasts.
However, to date, it is present in the Rhone Valley, in Provence in Languedoc-Roussillon and of course in the south-west of France.
Its surface in the world continues to increase, it is also found in Italy, South Africa, Mexico and Argentina.
Properties: very sensitive to disease, Syrah fears drought. When produced on soils rich in trace elements, it produces clusters that are beautiful in their bluish-black color and very spicy and sweet medium berries .
Syrah produces red wines with very strong colors. Very low in acid, they are highly alcoholic in addition to having a spicy, fruity , floral aromatic complexity and tannins. Beyond red wines, Syrah also produces rosé wines on the fruit that are pleasant on the palate due to their finesse.
Production area: Pinot Noir is a very important grape variety in Burgundy and Champagne , it is also the only red grape variety authorized in Alsace.
But the success it meets in Oregon, the United States as well as Australia and New Zealand is not enough to hide the fact that it is difficult to cultivate outside of France.
Properties: this variety rich in phenolic compounds needs a soil able to weaken its rigor and reduce the production of grappillons.
It is very susceptible to diseases such as downy mildew, gray rot and leafhoppers . It particularly likes the continental climate. The wines it produces are of high quality, combining finesse, power, intensity and aromatic complexity according to its progress (fruit, undergrowth, leather).
It is therefore on purpose that the greatest and very great wines such as the Domaine de la Romanée Conti use it with Pinot Noir to make their wines.
Production area: Grenache Noir is not the only variety of Grenache that exists . There are two others (Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris).
It ranks proudly behind Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in the list of the most cultivated grape varieties worldwide. It extends over more than 100,000 hectares of vines in France distributed in Languedoc, in the Rhone Valley and in Provence.
It is also grown outside of France in countries like Spain, Italy, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and California.
Properties: it is quite productive, and has a very sweet juice, no doubt because of its clusters and its generous berries.
The reputation of its Roussillon natural sweet wines precedes it. To this end, it is considered by many experts as the grape variety giving the most appreciated red and rosé wines of the Mediterranean , whether alone or blended with Carignan, Syrah or Mourvèdre.
Its wines with aromas of black fruits have notes of cocoa, spices and coffee and are high in alcohol and low in acidity.
Production area: this French black grape variety, whose origin would be Provence , covers nearly 30,000 hectares in France and extends into the Rhône valley and Languedoc-Roussillon. It is also grown in Algeria and South Africa where a cross has been made between Cinsault and Pinot Noir.
Properties: it is resistant to drought, making it a fertile and very productive grape variety.
The regularity of its production as well as the quality are only possible if it is reserved for poor and dry land. It ages fairly quickly, and is susceptible to wood diseases, mites and gray rot.
Its berries and large clusters increase its juice yield. Their flavor is very mild regardless of the stage of their maturity. When planted in poor, dry soil, it produces sweet wines.
Production area: often nicknamed hardwood, Carignan is a grape variety of Spanish origin, more precisely in Carinena in the province of Zaragoza where it was gradually stopped being cultivated.
From now on, it is grown mainly in France, its adopted country, in the vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon and the Côtes du Rhône over an area of 955,744 hectares. If it is little cultivated in its country of origin, it should be noted however that it is found in Italy on more than 2500 hectares, in Cyprus, in Greece in Morocco and in South Africa, but also in Latin America, in the United States, Australia and China.
Properties: these are very resistant grape varieties that can live up to a hundred years or more and it is at 30 years that they are able to produce a better wine. It appreciates not very fertile and dry soils and requires heat and sunshine , it is necessary to wait for its third period to see it reach maturity.
The wines resulting from its production are well colored because of the generosity and the power that it accumulates in terms of its aromatic component, this grape variety releases in a combined way: ripe cherry, banana, raspberry, pepper, Armande, prune and violet.
It is also used in the production of rosé wines. It is one of the most cloned grape varieties (25 clones in total) because of its yield, it is a grape variety that has received a lot of criticism, because it is rightly or wrongly considered mediocre.
Cabernet Franc very old
Production area: this black vine variety is one of the very old Bordeaux red varieties . It presents itself as the closest member of the wild varieties of the Cabernet family (considered one of the most cultivated grape families in the world).
Read also this article dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon.
In addition to Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is full of new Cabernet grape varieties including: Cabernet Carbon, Cabernet Cortis, Cabernet Cubin, Cabernet Dorio, Cabernet Dorsa, Cabernet Mitos and Ruby Cabernet).
It has its origins in the Pyrenean vineyards and gradually conquered the French Southwest. About 45,000 hectares are cultivated in more than 20 countries around the world.
But France comes out with the biggest share, about 36,000 of which only half is cultivated in Aquitaine and another part in the Loire Valley, but the Livornais remains its favorite terroir. Its earliness compared to its cousin Cabernet Sauvignon gives it the possibility of being grown in the north.
Properties: it is full of many assets that distinguish it from the others, it is based on an aromatic finesse (spicy and pepper aromas) but also on its attitude to aging (its low tannins precipitate its ageing).
The flavors it gives off depend on the soils where it is planted. As proof in the Bourgueil vineyard, they are close to raspberry, and in the chignon vineyard, they are close to violet.
The wines it produces are of medium colour. Fruity, they have the particularity of being consumed young, but also at an advanced age. This grape variety is no stranger to blends where, most of the time, it comes out in the majority (it represents 60% of its blend with the very famous Château Cheval Blanc).
Production area: this variety whose name varies by virtue of the grape variety can be called Auxerrois in Cahors, and Malbec in Bordeaux. Elsewhere it is known as Côt. Malbec is a high-yielding black wine grape variety and originates from France where its cultivation is experiencing some regression with only 6,000 hectares.
On the other hand, it was well introduced in Argentina with unprecedented success, it covers 25,000 hectares of Argentine vineyards today. It was also exported to Chile with a coverage of around 6,000 hectares. There are also Italian, Australian, Californian, Italian and New Zealand vineyards.
Properties: in terms of aptitudes, it should be noted that despite its known vigor, it shows sensitivity to excoriosis and leafhoppers , but also to coulure, so it is imperative to densify it and use a weak rootstock.
The grains are small to medium and there are clusters and medium-sized berries which contribute to the production of wines with high flavors, very colorful and rich in tannin which facilitates their aging. His wines are very spicy and in blends, he improves the wine by bringing it softness and color.
Production area: this early and productive variety is a French vat variety that is sometimes called gamay noir à jus blanc.
Due to the competition imposed on it by the pinot noir from Burgundy , it was moved to Beaujolais and its cultivation extends from Mâcon to Lyon.
It clearly benefits from the granitic and siliceous soils which promote better production.
It is grown in other French regions such as the Loire Valley, Bugey, Lorraine, Savoie and Auvergne. This grape variety has a low export because out of 33,000 hectares cultivated in the world , there are 30,000 in France and mainly in Beaujolais with approximately 22,000 hectares.
Properties : it is a high-yielding variety because its production density varies between 6,000 and 13,000 vines per hectare. It does not tolerate very hot climates, even less fairly fertile conditions and above all fears millerandage as well as late frost. Among the diseases he fears include powdery mildew and botrytis .
The wines made from this grape variety are described as warm, fruity, spicy and quite colorful . We note in this variety an absence of aromatic complexity as well as a lack of tannins. In principle, these wines are short-lived, although in other terroirs we can see an improvement of five or ten years or even more. Its precocity pushes to limit its production so that the quality of its fruity, fresh and greedy red wines have the scoop on the quantity.
Ultimately, the black grape variety as a variety of plants that produces red and rosé wines has no more secrets for you because this article has endeavored to study some of the most famous of them by drawing up their geographical locations. and their abilities.
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