The Top 6 Wine Varietals

What are the top wine varietals?

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon
  2. Chardonnay
  3. Merlot
  4. Pinot Noir
  5. Sauvignon Blanc
  6. Riesling


  • The articles highlight that wine is not just a beverage but a fusion of rich tradition and casual enjoyment, with top varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot carrying deep historical and cultural connections.
  • We provide profiles of each varietal to provide you with a unique description of each.

Enjoying a glass of good wine is one of the simple joys in life. Whether it's a rich red alongside dinner or a sweet glass of white for a nightcap, there are many options for you to explore. Top wine varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot are not just popular for their flavors, but for the history and cultural heritage that they carry.

If you’re just starting your journey with wine, continue reading to learn more about the different types to try.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Originating from Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine grape known for its rich, full-bodied character and exceptional aging potential. It unveils flavors of concentrated blackcurrant, often accompanied by noble notes of cedar and a subtle whisper of tobacco. This regal wine presents a harmonious integration of fruit and oak, offering aromas of ripe blackberries, dark plums, and a delicate touch of sweet vanilla spice.

You can enjoy a wide range of hearty dishes like grilled steak, lamb, or dishes with a rich tomato-based sauce. Its origins in Bordeaux, France, have transcended to make it a global icon, celebrated for its complex and enduring appeal.

Here at Ralph’s Wine and Spirits, one of our most popular Cabernet Sauvignon is the Montes Selection 2020. This was rated a 92 at Wine Spectator and 90 at James Suckling. You can already smell the red and black fruit aromas on its nose. It is balanced with smooth notes of spice.



One of the most versatile white wines is Chardonnay. It manifests a diverse range of flavors depending on the region and winemaking style. Common notes include green apple, citrus, and tropical fruits, with some displaying buttery or creamy textures if oak aged. Its distinct characteristics span crisp acidity to rich, full-bodied textures.

Originating in Burgundy, France, Chardonnay has become a global favorite. Pairings vary, but it complements seafood, poultry, and creamy pasta dishes exceptionally well. Chardonnay's adaptability, from crisp unoaked versions to lush oaked variations, underscores its status as a chameleon in the wine world, appealing to a broad spectrum of palates.


Originating in Bordeaux, France, Merlot has achieved global popularity as one of the most famous bottles of red. Enjoyed by those seeking a milder red, it pairs excellently with a range of dishes, from roasted poultry to pasta. Its wide appeal lies in its friendly nature, making it suitable for various occasions and appealing to diverse palates.

Many are familiar with the approachable and velvety character. You can expect flavors of ripe plums, cherries, and herbal notes. Its distinct characteristics include a soft, smooth texture with gentle tannins, making it an ideal entry point for red wine newcomers.

You can expect these flavors from Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot 2017. You'll notice subtle notes of toasted cedar bark, complemented by hints of dusty chocolate and earthy iron undertones. This well-rounded, medium to full-bodied wine offers a comforting richness of dark earth, gently spiced for an enjoyable, easy-sipping.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir captivates wine enthusiasts drawn to lighter-bodied reds with nuanced flavors. Its silky texture, subtle earthiness, and prominent red fruit notes attract those in search of elegance. Dominated by bright cherries and sweet strawberries, the palate extends to earthy tones. You can also expect subtle floral hints of rose and violet contribute an extra layer of refinement.

With origins in France's Burgundy region, Pinot Noir, one of the oldest grape varieties, holds historical significance. Revered for its delicacy, it flourishes in cooler climates such as Oregon, California's Sonoma Coast, and New Zealand's Central Otago, each contributing distinct regional characteristics.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape renowned for its lively citrus and grapefruit notes, often accompanied by green nuances like bell pepper. It delivers a refreshing experience, perfect when chilled. Its crisp acidity invigorates the palate, and techniques like oak barrel aging or bâtonnage can introduce a creamy complexity.

Whether adorned as Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre, or Bordeaux Blanc, this white wine stands as a grape that beautifully captures the essence of its region.



Riesling, originating from Germany, presents a captivating spectrum from bone-dry to luxuriously sweet. This white wine harmonizes high citrus and stone fruit tones, including apricots, with a symphony of floral and honeyed notes. Its vibrant acidity complements spicy dishes, while its moderate alcohol content makes it an understated, versatile choice.

Infused with whispers of minerality reflecting its terroir, Riesling unfolds as a versatile, multifaceted wine, gracefully accommodating diverse palate preferences.

Key Takeaway

Now that you know some of the top wine varietals, you can explore the different profiles that best captivate your taste buds. Many of these are available at our shop here at Ralph’s Wine and Spirits. Shop our store today!