Xarel-lo (sha-REL-o)

Highly regarded Catalan grape grown in the Penedès for cava, Spanish sparkling wine. Used for cava, it contributes body, flavor, and structure. Also made into good, bold-flavored still table wine in the Penedes.

Zéta (ZEH-tah)

One of the four recommended varieties in Tokay Aszú. It ripens early and is highly susceptible to botrytis. Zéta was called Oremus until 1999.

Zibibbo (ZEE-BEE-boh)

The name, on the island of Sicily, for the ancient variety muscat of Alexandria and the source of several famous Sicilian dessert wines.

Zierfandler (ZEER-fand-ler)

Austrian variety with powerful orange/spice flavors and considerable body weight. Blended with rotgipfler to make a powerful spicy white that is a specialty of Austria’s Thermenregion.


Well-known along the Italian Riviera, where it is the source of dry, floral white wines considered indispensable partners for Ligurian fish soups. Also grown on the Italian island of Sardinia and the French island of… Continue reading

Vernaccia (ver-NAHT-cha)

Lively, light, slightly bitter tasting Italian wine grape grown around the touristic Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano. Vernaccia di San Gimignano was the first Italian wine to be awarded, in 1966, Denominazione di Origine… Continue reading

Torrontés (tore-on-TEZ)

Specialty of Argentina, where it can make beautifully aromatic, slightly viscous dry wines that are drunk as aperitifs. Yet torrontés is not a single variety, but three distinctly different ones all indigenous to Argentina: torrontés… Continue reading

Trajadura (Tra-jah-DOO-rah)

Probably native to northern Portugal and still grown in the Douro and Minho and used in vinho verde. Brought across the border and today more famous as one of the grapes (known as treixadura) grown… Continue reading

Traminer (TRAM-i-ner)

Also known as savagnin, one of the “founder varieties” that led to dozens of others. In the northern Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige, a special clone of traminer—traminer aromatico—is the source of delicious, exotically aromatic… Continue reading

Trebbiano (treb-ee-AHN-o)

The name given to a whole group of different varieties that share large clusters and mostly vigorous growth. Varieties called trebbiano this or trebbiano that are among the most prolific vines in the world, yielding… Continue reading