Classic Wine Grape Varietals That Never Go Out of Style

In 2018, people couldn’t get enough of Rosé wine. In 2019, canned wines were all the rage. Organic wine was the fashion in 2020, and in 2021, Prosecco Rosé is gaining in popularity. While wine trends will come and go, the wines produced from these five grape varietals will never go out of style. 

What Are the Most Popular Wine Grape Varieties?

There are more than 10,000 grape varieties grown around the world, but only about 1300 varieties are cultivated for the express purpose of winemaking. Each has its own characteristics depending on where they are grown. Many of the most popular varieties are blended with other grapes to create some of the world’s best wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon

More winemakers grow Cabernet Sauvignon wine grapes than any other grape variety in the world. They are easy to cultivate, hardy, and can grow in a wide range of climates and terroirs. 

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are known for their heavy red and black fruit flavors with high tannin content. These red wine grapes produce one of the most popular red wines in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon. They’re also used to create Bordeaux-style blends, Priorat Reds, red blends, and Super Tuscan wines.

Wines produced with Cabernet Sauvignon wine grapes pair well with rare red meat, especially steak, short ribs, and even hamburgers. The wine is also delicious with dishes seasoned with garlic, rosemary, mint, or porcini mushrooms.

Merlot

Merlot is the second most frequently grown wine grape in the world after Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, they come from the same grape family. However, Merlot wine grapes are thinner skinned, less astringent, and have fewer tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The taste profile of Merlot grapes can vary, depending on the climate in which they’re grown. They often feature flavors of plum as well as berry, black cherry, and herbs.

Merlot grapes are often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to produce Bordeaux wine. Petrus, one of the world’s most famous and expensive wines, is made of 100% Merlot grapes.

Wines made with Merlot grapes tend to be dry and pair well with sweet or savory poultry dishes such as roasted duck or honey-barbecued chicken.

Tempranillo

Originating in Spain, Tempranillo wine grapes are thin skinned, hardy black grapes that produce full-bodied red wines with complex flavors. The most prominent flavors of Tempranillo include plum, figs, cherry, and leather, along with earthy notes of cedar, tobacco, and cloves.

Tempranillo is blended with other grapes to produce Rioja and Syrah wines but can also be made into a single varietal wine.

Because of its spicy tones, a Tempranillo wine pairs well with beef, seasoned poultry, and salmon.

Chardonnay

Native to Burgundy, France, Chardonnay is the most popular white wine grape in the world. Heavily influenced by climate, terroir, ripeness at harvesting, and aging methods, Chardonnay flavors can vary widely. Medium-bodied wines produced with Chardonnay grapes can contain flavors of pear, guava, lemon, and apple. Chardonnay aged in oak barrels contains notes of butter, vanilla, and pineapple. 

Blanc de Blanc Champagne is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, as are many other sparkling white wines such as Crémant, Franciacorta, and Trento.

Serve Chardonnay with rich foods such as lobster, crab cakes, or pork tenderloin.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes originated in Bordeaux, France, but are currently grown throughout the world, including in Napa Valley, New Zealand, and Chile. The white wine grapes are used to create light, dry wines that feature citrusy flavors with notes of dates, papaya, melons, and herbs.

A versatile grape, it is often blended with other grapes to create Bordeaux Blanc, Entre-Deux-Mers, and Graves.

Sauvignon Blanc wines pair perfectly with sushi, oysters, goat cheese, and dishes seasoned with fresh herbs.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about grape varieties that produce many of the world’s finest wines, you’ll want to sample ones you may never have tried before. In the end, you simply cannot go wrong adding any of these classics to your wine collection.