Signature Styles & Characteristics
Although any grape can be interpreted in innovative and at times, outlying styles, the following chart/graphic represents the preponderance of what you will find California’s winemakers producing.
Dessert Wine: 60 percent on a scale from Dry to Sweet of Dryness/Residual Sugar. Table Wine: 60 percent on the same scale.
Dessert Wine: 55 percent on a scale from Low to High of Acid (potential). Table Wine: 85 percent on the same scale.
Dessert Wine: 65 percent on a scale from Low to High of Alcohol (potential). Table Wine: 65 percent on the same scale.
Body (weight on palate)
Dessert Wine: 60 percent on a scale from Low to High of Body (weight on palate). Table Wine: 60 percent on the same scale.
Dessert Wine: 25 percent on a scale from Tart and lean, or round, smooth, and buttery to Round smooth and creamy of Texture. Table Wine: 100 percent on the same scale.
Dessert Wine: 100 percent on a scale from Light to Full of Tannin. Table Wine: 100 percent on the same scale.
*Not applicable, however resulting wines can be slightly phenolic due to skin contact and/or new oak.
Influenced by climate, terroir, clonal selection and winemaking.
FruitGrapefruit, lemon, lime, citron, melon, guava, passion fruit, quince, gooseberry, kumquat, green banana, papaya, fig, green melon
VegetableGreen bean, green pea, green olive, artichoke, flower stem, asparagus, bell pepper, peppers (serrano, jalapeno), fennel, caper, celery, celeriac (celery root), green grass, hay, straw, alfalfa , arugula, salad greens, kelp, tomato leaf, nettle
FloralMint, menthol, dill, coriander, basil, green-tea leaf, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, sage, boxwood, broom
EarthWet wool, wet dog, cat box, gunflint, mineral salinity/sea spray
Wood (oak)Smoke, vanilla, toast, sweet spice (pie) In dessert styles: Apricot, peach, ripe pear, honey, caramel, flan/crème brûlée, sultana (golden raisin), marmalade, vanilla, sweet spice, citrus peel, nut, dry fig
2 to 5 years on average, pedigree-dependent; the best bottles can age even longer. The best sweet dessert styles can last decades