Glossary (Grapes)

Albariño- rules in Rias Baixas, where it makes white wines that are packed with minerality, salinity, acidity, citrus and stone fruit. This green-skinned grape variety is native to Galicia and pairs perfectly with the local seafood.

Baladi Verdejo- Also known (perhaps more commonly) as Cayetana Blanca or Jaén Blanco.. The varietal is very vigorous and productive. It buds and ripens late, and is resistant to drought. It is best suited to poor, sandy soils. Prone to powdery mildew, botrytis bunch rot and mites.

Dona Branca- Found mostly in the NW region of Spain and in Portugal. Compact clusters, medium sized grapes, average aromatics, long finish. Grapes are thick-skinned which is perfect for the weather, but can impart bitterness and astringency in the wine if left on the must for too long. High concentrations of sugar and acidity.

Garrido Fino- A white varietal found in DO Condada de Huelva in Andalucia. It is usually blended with other varieties, but is sometimes made on its own. Produces fortified wines and a wine called Candado Viejo.

Godello- often compared to chardonnay, Godello is a shape-shifter. The outcome depends largely on the winemaker, although terruño does come in to play. It is found mostly in Galicia, particularly in the east, and, like Chardonnay in Burgundy, has the potential to become one of Spains great white varietals.

Garnatxa (Garnacha) blanca- known as Grenache Blanc in France and the US, Garnatxa Blanca is related to the red varietal, Garnatxa. In general, Garnatxa Blanca is tends to be a high alcohol, low acid varietal. In regions like Terra Alta, Catalunya however, where Garnatxa Blanca is king, the grape takes on an mineral, acidic note that is absolutely unmatched and particularly expressive of terruño.

Listán Negro- is a black-skinned grape that is found in Spain, mainly in the Canary Islands. Listán negro is the black-skin version of the Palomino grape (Listan Blanco) that used in the production of Sherry.

Merenzao (aka María Ardoña, Bastardo, Trousseau Rouge) is a red wine grape that originated in the Jura region of France, but over centuries has managed to make its way to various regions in Spain. Wines made from Merenzao are generally light in body and tend to have a lot of dark red cherry fruit, minerality and a little pepper. 

Palomino Fino is a white grape varietal most commonly grown in Andalucía, southwestern Spain. It is the grape variety used to make Sherry, and occupies almost 95 percent of the total vineyard area in Jerez. The variety is rather neutral in flavor, with low acidity and high potential alcohol, making it a natural contender for fortification in Sherry’s particular style.

Parellada- has pretty much one job- to blend in with the other two grapes of Cava- macabeo and xarel-lo. It is native to the hills of Catalonia, and is not really grown anywhere else. Parellada brings to the Cava Party aromas of white blossom and green apple.

Tempranillo- A very important red grape varietal that’s native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others.

Tempranillo blanco- is a mutant- an albino mutation of Tempranillo, to be exact. It was discovered in 1988 outside Logroño when a grower suddenly noticed some of his red Tempranillo grapes had turned white. It is one of the world’s youngest varieties, approved for the Spanish DO in 2007.

Tintilla- An indigenous varietal grown throughout Jerez, particularly in the town of Rota. Tintilla shares the same DNA as Graciano, but which came first depends largely on who you ask. Tintilla has extremely low yields, and many farmers have ripped it out to plant more lucrative varieties. It can be fortified or unfortified, is extremely aromatic and expresses flavors and aromas of blackberry and spice.

Treixadura- is the principal grape of Ribeiro. It is a vigorous variety, and produces compact bunches of grapes, which must be picked quite early to retain their delicate acidity. Treixadura wines offer fresh aromatics, are somewhat flinty and offer typical flavors from lemon, apple and pear to peach, white flower and apricot.

Trepat- is a red wine variety indigenous to northeastern Spain. It is allowed in rosado cava, but may also be used to blend in still wines. It makes a fresh berry flavor when vinified on its own- perfect for refreshing cavas.

Vigiriega- Highly productive variety that is grown in the Canary Islands and in the regions of Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was highly cultivated pre-phylloxera. The berries can be used as table grapes, and the must is usually high in sugar and acidity- great for making sparkling wine. Wines are fruity but not super aromatic. Apple, citrus, pear and fennel.

Viura- known in France as Macabeo, viura is another shape-shifter varietal. It is found on both sides of the Pyrenees and is used  in still, sparkling, dry and sweet wines. The wines can be fresh, floral and aromatic when harvested sufficiently early and aged in stainless steel, but weighty, honeyed and nutty when aged in oak and harvested slightly later.

Xarel.lo- is a light-skinned grape from Catalonia, northeastern Spain, and is one of the region’s most widely planted varieties. It is used to make various wine styles, but it is best known for being a major player in sparkling Cava, in which it is typically blended with Macabeo and Parellada. Xarel.lo is known for the acid structure it brings to wines.