Which Wine Are You?

When it comes to wines, fierce debate rages as to which grapes – and regions - produce the best varieties. While some of us are Old World wine stalwarts, others favor New World varieties that continue to flourish in sunnier climates. We asked Louise Gordon, Head of Wines at Hand Picked Hotels, to explain the characteristics of our favorite grapes and what your go-to tipple might say about you.

Chardonnay – The regal touch

Often heralded as the ‘King of White Wines’, Burgundy and California fight a fierce battle for the Chardonnay crown. Fans of the Old World variety will have a penchant for refined, vintage, and elegant wines with bready brioche notes. Remember, this grape produces some of the best Champagne in the world, so indulgent luxury is the name of the game. Its American counterpart is no wallflower either: the wines produced here have rich, oaky, and buttery qualities with an intense flavor profile. This robust wine rules the regional roost, making it a versatile number for every occasion and well worthy of its regal crown.

Sauvignon Blanc – The socialite

Nothing says a sunny summer’s day quite like a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and its increasing popularity has sparked a fierce fight between the Loire Valley and New Zealand’s Marlborough region as to who produces the best. The French appellations are synonymous with an acidic, fresh, and crisp flavor profile associated with relaxed indulgence and lazy pleasurable pursuits. Meanwhile, the grapes cultivated in the southern hemisphere produce more youthful and vivacious wines boasting herby, aromatic flavors and a gooseberry freshness. Whichever you prefer, this is a lively, easy-drinking wine designed for friendly company and good times.

Pinot Noir – The charmer

Pinot Noir grapes are famed for producing some of the best red wines in the world, making it one of the globe’s most planted varieties. More commonly associated with Burgundy, wines produced in Northern California’s Sonoma County arguably give its Old World rival a run for its money. Wines crafted from French fruit produce leathery and earthy wines that are light and smooth with silky tannins and a soft red fruit flavor, synonymous with relaxing autumn evenings. Its Californian cousin packs a more serious, full-bodied punch with vibrant velvety tannins and big jammy fruits that make it an intense yet charming dinner party partner.

Perfect Pairings

While many grape varieties are pitted against each other in the popularity stakes, two varieties that create a perfect partnership are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a flashy, acidic, and high-maintenance flavor profile marked by big plummy, dark fruit notes and firm tannins. Merlot’s calming, middle-of-the-road calibre give its bolder bedfellow body and structure to produce a blended wine with backbone and range, meaning it is equally at home at the family dinner or top table.