Use this wine varietal chart of the major California wines for pairing food and wine, to learn the aroma and flavors of different varietals, and to identify the body (weight) of a wine. If you find this wine varietal chart to be helpful, you might also be interested in using it together with our information on matching wine with food. Choose a varietal and then choose a food to match. You can dig deeper into the wine varietal chart by clicking on the name of the wine. This will take you to a page with additional information with a listing of where you can find this varietal in wine country.


White Wines

Aromas and Flavors

Body

Sparkling WineApple, pear, yeastMedium
Sauvignon Blanc (also Fume Blanc)Herbaceous, grassy, hay, citrus, grape-fruityLight to Medium
ChardonnayPear, apple, oak, buttery,creamyMedium to Heavy
ViognierFloral, peach, apricot, pear, fruityMedium
Pinot Gris/Pinot GrigioCrisp, pear, peach, apricotLight
Pinot BlancPear, apple, floralMedium
Chenin BlancPeaches, fruityLight
GewurztraminerLychee nut, spices, rose petalsMedium
RieslingApple, lemon, floral, apricot, fruityLight

 
 

Red Wines

Aromas and Flavors

Body

Pinot NoirStrawberry, berries, cherryLight – medium
MerlotBlackberry, plum, current, chocolate, vanillaMedium
ZinfandelBerries, jammy, cherry, earthyMedium to heavy
Cabernet SauvignonBlueberries, black current, cassis, raspberries, oakyHeavy
Syrahpeppery, spice, blackberry, cinnamonMedium to heavy
Petite SirahBlackberry, pepper, jammyHeavy
SangioveseCherry, fruity, spiceLight to medium
Cabernet FrancRaspberry, casis, herbaciousMedium
BarberaBerries, red fruitMedium
MalbecCherry, strawberry, plumMedium