International Varieties

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

international varieties, loose term for those vine varieties with an international reputation for their varietal wines. They are planted in almost every major wine region in which they stand a chance of ripening. Foremost among them are the red wine variety cabernet sauvignon and the white wine variety chardonnay (which many consumers take to be either a place or, more usually, a brand). Other strong candidates as international varieties are merlot, pinot noir, and, especially, syrah/shiraz among reds and sauvignon blanc, riesling, muscat, gewürztraminer, viognier, pinot blanc, and pinot gris among whites. As winemakers and wine consumers constantly search for new excitement, the list of possibilities grows longer. mourvèdre, tempranillo, sangiovese, and nebbiolo could already be said to have joined this elite with all manner of others in the wings. But the second decade of this century, as part of a backlash against globalization, saw a certain backlash against international varieties in favour of indigenous varieties and alternative varieties.