There are in excess of 100 grape varietals that have 2 or more uniquely different names. Many of these have multiple names within the same country! I have compiled a list of the more common ones that make an appearance in wine stores in North America.
So what’s in a name? Are they always interchangeable, or does their place and name hold a clue to their style?
Where a grape is grown may greatly impact its flavour. I have compiled some examples where this is the case.
Blaufränkisch grapes, also known as Lemberger, Kékfrankos, Frankovka, and Frankinja, are found in the temperate and distinctly continental latitudes of Central Europe. In eastern Austria, it’s known as Blaufränkisch. In southern Germany, it’s Lemberger. It also goes by Kékfrankos in Hungary, Frankovka in northern Croatia and western Slovakia and Frankinja in eastern Slovenia. No matter the name, it produces quality reds that age well. It also forms part of Egri Bikaver, Hungary’s historic “bulls’ blood” wine.
Fairly full-bodied for such northerly reaches, Blaufränkisch produces structured, elegant wines. Cooler vintages or sites add an irresistible pepperiness to the usually dark-fruit spectrum, where there are notes of dark cherry and blueberry.
Vinified in stainless steel, Blaufränkisch is sometimes confused with fuller-bodied Gamay. However, when aged in small, new oak barrels, Blaufränkisch attains some punch and needs to be laid down for a few years to return to its inherent subtlety.
Grenache, also known as Garnacha and Cannonau is known for its luscious red fruit flavours. Grenache is an archetypal Mediterranean variety. It needs full sun, will withstand heat and drought and it thrives on meager, stony soils.
Grenache is full-bodied without being tannic. It can also make charming, aromatic reds in the Rhône cru villages of Vinsobres, Rasteau, Gigondas and Vacqueyras. As Cannonau in Sardinia, it’s bigger, stronger and bolder.
Malbec, also known as Côt, is synonymous with Argentina, where this aromatic, black grape revels in the bright, high-altitude sunshine of the Andes.
Malbec is sometimes referred to as Côt in France. It’s even one of the five permitted varieties in red Bordeaux, even though it ripens unreliably there. In France’s cooler Loire Valley, Côt produces wines that are very fresh, and often spicy.
The Mourvèdre grape also referred to as Monastrell, Mataro, Rossola Near and Garrut, is a thick-skinned, small-berried grape of Spanish origin that thrives in hot climates. Mourvèdre is at home on the Mediterranean coast in Spain, where it’s called Monastrell, and forms the gutsy, heavy, tannic reds of Yecla, Jumilla and Alicante. In Australia, where it’s known as Mataro, it is included in Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre blends.
The Primitivo grape of Italy is also known as Tribidrag or Crljenak Kaštelanski in its native Croatia and Montenegro, as Primitivo in Puglia and as Zinfandel in California.
As a red wine, Zinfandel always boasts full, juicy and plump fruit that covers a spectrum of ripeness, often with elevated alcohol levels of up to 14%. In Puglia, Primitivo is smooth and warming. On an inland elevation, Gioia del Colle produces the freshest versions, while coastal Primitivo di Manduria is strong, dense and powerful. In Croatia and Montenegro, Tribidrag is produced as a fruity local wine.
Syrah, also known as Shiraz, can taste almost like polar opposites depending on the climate. Syrah was traditionally a French grape found in the Northern Rhône region. There the grape has firm, drying tannins and is more slender.
Known as Shiraz in Australia, the grape is most distinct in the hot Barossa and warm McLaren Vale regions, but it also thrives in cooler Canberra. Australian Shiraz is often described as peppery, big and bold.
Chenin Blanc is also known as Pineau de la Loire and Steen. It is native to France’s cool Loire Valley, where it is also called Pineau de la Loire. Its acid is high, and its expression always tinged with apple flavors that range from green to dried.
It’s inherent acidity makes Chenin Blanc a popular grape in South Africa, where it’s referred to as Steen.
Pinot Gris, also known as Pinot Grigio, Grauburgunder, Fromenteau, Pinot Beurot, Ruländer, Malvoisie, Pinot Jaune and Szürkebarát, may range from being an easy-drinker to a full-flavoured white.
Easy-drinking, lighter versions are often labeled Pinot Grigio, while rounder wines, often with some residual sweetness, are designated Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris makes full-fruited, rounded whites heavy enough to accompany red meat and are suitable for aging.
The Vermentino grape is also known as Rolle, Pigato, and Favorita and thrives in Italy, France and on the islands of Corsica and Sardini., prized for its fine, crisp acidity.
On its own, Vermentino displays citrus aromatics and inherent crispness. From the Tuscan coast, it evokes a citrus-scent. Pigato, from Liguria, while still fresh, is a little more robust and structured.
As Vermentino di Gallura from Sardinia, the grape is fuller-bodied with intense, medicinal notes of lemon balm and yarrow. When grown in places such as Italy’s Piedmont region, it is known as Favorita. There the grape takes on an aromatic quality. More recently, Vermentino is also finding a new home in Australia.
Below is a more complete list of both red and white varietals and countries where they are located.
|Blaufränkisch / Limberger||Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Italy, USA|
|Corvina / Corvinone||Italy|
|Douce Noir / Charbono / Bonarda / Turca||France; California; Argentina|
|Gamay / Gamay Noir||France Loire Valley|
|Grenache / Garnacha / Cannonau / Lladoner Pelut / Lledoner Pelut||Spain, France, Australia|
|Lacrima di Morro / Lacrima Near||Italy, Marche|
|Magarach Bastardo / Bastardo Magarach||Ukraine|
|Magaratch Ruby / Magarach Ruby||Ukraine|
|Magliocco Canino / Maiolica||Italy, Calabria|
|Magliocco Dolce / Marsigliana Near||Italy, Calabria|
|Malbec / Auxerrois / Cot||France, Argentina, USA, Australia|
|Malvasia di Schierano / Malvasia Near||Greece|
|Mandelaria / Mandelari / Amorghiano||Greece|
|Mavrodafni / Mavrodaphne||Greece, Achaea|
|Mavrud / Mavroudi||Bulgaria, Thrace|
|Mencía / Jaén Colourado||Spain, Galicia|
|Millot / Léon Millot||France|
|Montù / Montuni||Italy|
|Mourvèdre / Monastrell / Mataro / Rossola Nera / Garrut||Spain, France, Australia|
|Négrette / Pinot St. George||France|
|Nerello Mascalese / Nerello Cappuccio||Italy, Sicily|
|Perricone / Guarnaccia||Italy, Sicily|
|Pinot Meunier / Schwarzriesling / Müllerebe||France|
|Pinot Noir / Spätburgunder / Blauburgunder / Pinot Nero||France|
|Plavina / Brajda Mala / Brajdica / Bratkovina / Jurkovica / Marasovka /Modrulj / Plavac Plavina / Plavinac / Plavina Mala / Plavina Sitnah / Plavina Velka / Plavka / Plavka Mala / Velika Plavka||Croatia, Dalmatia|
|Refosco / Refošk||Italy|
|Rouchet / Ruché / Roche||Italy|
|Rufete / Tinta Pinheira / Tinta Carvalha / Rufeta||Portugal|
|Schiava / Trollinger / Vernatsch||Italy, Germany|
|Sciascinoso / Olivella Near||Italy|
|Syrah / Shiraz||France, Australia|
|Shiroka Melnishka Losa / Melnik||Bulgaria|
|Sousão / Souzão / Sousón||Portugal|
|St. Laurent / Svatovavrinecke||France, Czech Republic, Austria|
|Tempranillo / Aragónez / Tinta Roriz / Ull de Llebre / Cencibel / Tinta del Pais||Spain|
|Tinta Negra Mole / Preto Martinho||Portugal|
|Touriga Franca / Touriga Francesa||Portugal|
|Touriga Nacional / Azal Espanhol / Preto de Mortágua||Portugal|
|Trincadeira / Castelão / Torneiro||Portugal|
|Uva di Troia / Nero di Troia / Sumarello / Uva di Canosa / Uva di Barletta / Troiano / Tranese / Uva della Marina||Italy|
|Vaccarese / Vaccarèse/ Brun Argenté||France|
|Valdiguié / Brocol / Napa Gamay / Gamay 15||France|
|Wildbacher / Blauer Wildbacher||Austria|
|Zinfandel / Crljenak Kaštelanski / Tribidrag / Primitivo||Croatia, Italy, USA, Montenegro|
|Zweigelt / Zweigeltrebe / Rotburger||Austria|
|Aidani / Aidini / Aedani||Greece|
|Albariño / Alvarinho / Cainho branco||Spain|
|Altesse / Roussette||France|
|Ansonica / Inzolia||Italy|
|Arany sárfehér / Izsáki||Hungary|
|Arinto / Assario branco||Portugal|
|Arrufiac / Arrufiat / Ruffiac||France|
|Biancame / Bianchello||Italy|
|Bical / Borrado das Moscas||Portugal|
|Burger / Monbadon||France|
|Cayetana / Calagraño / Jaén blanca / Garrido||Spain|
|Chasselas / Fendant / Gutedel / Weisser Gutedel||Switzerland, Germany|
|Chenin blanc / Pineau de la Loire / Steen||France, South Africa, USA, Australia, New Zealand|
|Coda di Volpe / Guarnaccia Bianca||Italy|
|Courbu / Xuri Zerratua / Bordelesa Zuri||France|
|Crouchen / Clare Riesling / Cape Riesling||France, Australia, South Africa|
|Fetească albă / Fetiaska / Leànyka||Romania|
|Folle blanche / Gros Plant / Piquepoult||France|
|Freisamer / Freiburger||Germany|
|Furmint / Mosler / Sipon||Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia|
|Garganega / Grecanico / Grecanio||Italy|
|Garnacha blanca / Grenache blanc||Spain|
|Gewürztraminer / Tramini / Traminac||France|
|Gros Manseng / Izkiriota Handi||France|
|Knipperle / Klein Rauschling||France|
|Macabeo / Macabeu / Viura||Spain, France|
|Maria Gomes / Fernão Pires||Portugal|
|Melon de Bourgogne / Muscadet||France|
|Merseguera / Verdil / Verdosilla||Spain|
|Moschofilero / Moscophilero||Greece|
|Müller-Thurgau / Rivaner||Switzerland|
|Muscadelle / Tokay||France, Australia|
|Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains / Muscat Frontignan / Muskateller / Moscatel branco / Frontignan||Greece|
|Palomino / Listan / Perrum||Portugal|
|Pampanuto / Pampanino||Italy|
|Pecorino / Pecorello||Italy|
|Pedro Ximénez / PX / Alamís||Spain|
|Petit Manseng / Izkiriota Ttipi||France|
|Picardin / Picardan / Aragnan Blanc||France|
|Picpoul / Piquepoul blanc / Piquepoul gris||France|
|Pinot Blanc / Pinot Bianco / Klevner / Weissburgunder||France, Germany|
|Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio / Grauburgunder / Fromenteau / Pinot Beurot / Ruländer / Malvoisie / Pinot Jaune / Szürkebarát||France, Italy, Germany, International|
|Prié Blanc / Blanc de Morgex||Italy|
|Prosecco / Glera||Italy|
|Ribolla Gialla / Robola||Greece|
|Riesling / Johannisberg Riesling / Rheinriesling / Klingelberger||Germany, South Africa, International|
|Sauvignon Blanc / Sauvignon Gris||France, International|
|Sauvignon Vert / Sauvignonasse / Friulano / Tocai Friulano||Italy|
|Savagnin / Savagnin Blanc / Traminer||France|
|Sereksia / Băbească Alba||Moldavia, Romania|
|Silvaner / Sylvaner / Österreicher||Central Europe|
|Torrontés / Torontel / Moscatel de Austria||Argentina|
|Tourbat / Torbato||France|
|Trebbiano / Ugni Blanc||Italy|
|Treixadura / Trajadura||Portugal|
|Trousseau Gris / Grey Riesling||France|
|Verdelho / Gouveio / Verdello||Portugal|
|Verdiso / Verdia||Italy|
|Vermentino / Rolle/ Pigato / Favorita||Italy, France, Corsica, Sardinia, Australia|
|Welschriesling / Riesling Italico / Olaszrizling / Lazki Rizling / Graševina||Central Europe|
|Zierfandler / Spätrot||Austria|
Selecting a wine can be confusing enough without adding the complication of a single varietal having multiple names. Hopefully this helps remove some of the mystery for you.