Wine Grape Character

Definition - What does Wine Grape Character mean?

Varietal character denotes the qualities and characteristics that a particular grape variety will express when made into wine. The varietal character of a particular grape will have some of the same attributes but also have qualities that can change. These qualities include the taste, flavors, mouth feel and finish that are observed when drinking the wine. The varietal character varies not just with different grapes, the same grape can change characteristics dependent on the vintage, location of the vineyard, viticulture techniques, vintage or year grown and climate variations.

WineFrog explains Wine Grape Character

The variety of grape has the most effect on a wine's flavor, but grapes can share the same name and express a different varietal character. This is due to the changes that occur, which may cause the wine to exhibit different characteristics despite being the same variety. Some causes for differentiation include:

  • Vineyard practices (care and techniques)
  • Cloning variation
  • Individual histories
  • Cultivation characteristics
  • Blending procedures
  • Topography and terroir

Some grape varietals set themselves apart from others by their region, cost of production, quality of grapes and blending practices. An example of how these factors can affect a varietal's character is the flavors that transfer into a finished wine, which derive from the varietal's terroir. Minerals in the soil and climate can influence the taste and character of a varietal, which in turn, influence the finished wine.

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