There are more than 800 grape varieties in the world, many extremely local but some of course global. An important step to a greater enjoyment of the almost infinite variety of wine now available, (and much of it incomparably better made wine in every country, and with every country now capable of making good, if not great wine), is to be able to identify the grape varieties that please you most. The terroir, its climate and position and above all the skill of the winemaker will determine how really good or great it is. But it is the grape varieties that will determine much of the taste of the wine and therefore what it is you decide you like most and particularly pleases you.
Here follows a very short glossary of the principal grape varieties of the wines we sell by country, with very grateful acknowledgement of help from Jancis Robinson’s invaluable Wine Grapes, Penguin 2012 and from Hugh Johnson’s great annual Pocket Wine Book, both books every wine lover should have on their shelves .