Monday Musing: International Grape Varieties

Grapes for Sale At Corrado’s Market

Today’s Monday Musing is about international grape varieties. What does that mean anyway? What’s an international grape variety? Generally speaking, they are world travelers, grapes with a global passport, meaning ones that you can find all over the world. They tend to be grouped together as those that originated in France but are so ubiquitous, you find them everywhere – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay to me are the core of this group. That said a secondary group could be Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Malbec, Tannat, Semillon. All of these grapes grow through the world but are associated still with a specific place in France while the primary group all come from Bordeaux and Burgundy, the secondary group are a bit farther afield in France. It’s curious then when we talk about Moscato or Malvasia, they are grown throughout the world as well, we still mention their origins in Greece, Only the French grapes are put into the international vs indigenous column and it’s interesting to think about that. I myself often discuss this contrast without reflecting on why I limit it to these few grapes. Pinot Grigio on the other hand is a case unto itself. Yes Pinot Gris grows in France but it is so associated with Italy, I wonder if people put it in the International Grapes column or not. Just a few thoughts for a Monday evening,

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