What is a classic red wine grape? It is a variety that has proved it can produce consistently high quality over a long period of time in more than one region of the world. Therefore, though there are more than 120 commercially produced wine grapes, there are only 4 classic red grapes. In California, however, we add Zinfandel as well, because it is one of our most beloved State grapes:
- Pinot Noir – famous in Burgundy, Oregon, Sonoma, New Zealand and many other regions of the world
- Merlot– famous in Bordeaux, Italy, Washington, and many other regions
- Cabernet Sauvignon – famous in Bordeaux, Napa, Italy and other regions
- Syrah – famous in the Rhone, Australia, and Paso Robles
- Zinfandel – famous in California, Croatia and Italy
In a blind tasting of these five famous varietals in Bus 305W, the 42 Millennial wine business majors tied in a vote of their favorites. Paul Hobbs 2012 Russian River Pinot Noir ($55) with dark raspberry, mushroom earth and cola notes tied with the 2011 Sbragia Cabernet Sauvignon ($49), with complex cassis cedar and earthy notes from the famous Monte Rosso Vineyard. Both wines were of high quality with good balance of fruit, oak, acid and alcohol; complex flavors, excellent concentration and a very long finish.