Super Grapes and Villians

So what’s with all the grape varieties and which ones taste like what once turned into wine? Like most things in life, grapes and the wines that come from them have a personality all their own. To give you a simple but iconic frame of reference, I can think of nothing better than to compare the miraculous potion of wine to another miraculous figure: superheroes…and maybe a villain or two thrown in for good measure…

Hero: Superman

Honest, just, strong, indestructible, man of steel, heals from our yellow sun.

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

This grape thrives in a variety of environments and the deep constant heat from our yellow sun energizes the Cabernet grape to ripen to its fullest potential. It has very tough-as-steel vines, probably one of the toughest in all grapes varieties. Big and full bodied, resistant to cold, a survivor, it is practically ageless in its longevity in the bottle—up to several decades.

Hero: Batman

Dark , brooding, intelligent, complex, intense duality between the suave Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Grape: Syrah

Nothing says the dark knight quite like the Syrah grape. Dark, bold, forceful, peppery and powerful, it emanates midnight colored fruit with a leathery edge. Sryah is widely planted, internationally known and an aggressive grower. It can be very complex and brooding in its style, often has a duality of smooth elegance constantly bashed with hearty attacking wood, spice and earth notes.

Hero: Wolverine

Violent, sharp edged, animalistic, impulsive, straightforward, endless sideburns, cigar lover, can be too hot headed, older than he looks.

Grape: Zinfandel

With its compact short grape clusters, Zinfandel is also known as Primitivo: primal, straightforward, can sometimes be too hot in alcohol. Very hardy in nature, it has vigorous vines and copious resistance to damage. The wine often has notes of tobacco, cigar box, and dusty fruit zest. It is also known as “old vine” zinfandel; it’s old roots firmly placed in history exudes an ageless quality. Pairs perfectly with grilled mutton chops.

Hero: Spider Man

Athletic, energetic, genetically mutated, likes to be cool in front of girls, talks too much, wirery, cherry red costume, web slinger, young, attractive and witty.

Grape: Pinot Noir

There is often a love-hate relationship with Pinot Noir. It can be difficult and young, thin skinned, medium bodied, genetically unstable and likes to be cool. But its intense red cherry flavors, along with texture of liquid silk spinning a web on your tongue is undeniably attractive.

Hero: Beast

Intelligent, learned, studious, scientific, well spoken, strong, agile, genius.

Grape: Merlot

The gentlemanly Merlot grape matures faster and softer, forming dry, rich, sophisticated wines. Super traditional, it is one of the noble grapes. It is strong and enduring in character, classical yet bold.

Hero: Hulk

Difficult to control, behemoth, raging, destructive, easily aggravated.

Grape: Nebbiolo

The Nebbiolo grape is bigger, darker, bolder and more tannic than most. Heavy and complex it can often have a bitter edge. It is notoriously problematic and difficult to control. A behemoth in flavor, the Nebbiolo grape is fairly tough and resistant.

Hero: Flash

Super speed, energetic,  young, well liked, vigorous, light on his feet.

Grape: Gamay

Not a grape to be taken too seriously, the Gamay grape is what a Boujeouas wine is made from. It is vigorous with shallow roots, the wine is usually light, swift and quaff-able and meant to be drunk quickly/young.

Hero: Iron Man

Modern, technological, experimental and inventive, rich, super genius, blending of tech and man.

Grape: Pinotage

An industrial scientific crossbreed between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut made in 1925. Pinotage was created to have the best of both worlds, the elegance Pinot with the strength of Cinsaut. It is thick skinned, young and rich and a uniquely individual fruit. Pinotage has no old world style so each tasting can be an experimental adventure.

Hero: Rogue

Soaks up the powers of others, untouchable, young, can do damage or be damaged herself if not careful.

Grape: Grenache

The original great red blending grape, Grenache takes on a new sense of power and newfound flavors when mixed with others. The vines are sturdy and is a survivor of less than perfect conditions. Grenache wine softens harsher partners but is prone to oxidations and damage from them.

Hero: Gambit

Cajun French, cocky, suave ladies man, sweet talker, charging power, conversion of energy, agility, hypnotic charm.

Grape: Viognier

This white grape can be potentially powerful, rich and complex. It is a sweet seducer and has a distinctive appeal to women, exuding sweet floral notes. It is an intense French grape, with super charged enticing aromas, smooth, low acidity, often pairs with outspoken French cheeses. An energetic and flamboyant tasting wine.

Hero: Wonder Woman

Strong, golden, classical, tough, sexy, Olympic athleticism, accomplished warrior, steel-like indestructible bracelets.

Grape: Chardonnay

Often full bodied and plentiful, Chardonnay can be either crisp and steel like or soft and golden. An agile and accomplished grape, more often than not it is classical and dependable. Considered one of the legendary noble grapes.

Hero: Iceman

Manipulates all things ice, impervious to cold, sweet personality but can be moody, travels on self made slick ice bridges.

Grape: Riesling

The Riesling grape is often made into ice wine by freezing grapes on the vine: sweet and complex. Also made into dessert wines from the noble rot of late harvest. The vines often face external physical danger, defying the cold to become bold and sweet. But not all Rieslings are sweet. Impervious to cold, it thrives in icy climates and can taste sharp and steely. In moderate climates, it can taste full, smooth and slick.

Villain: Catwoman

Dangerous thief, creamy skin, sharp claws, comes out fighting, deceivingly sexy sweet.

Grape: Sémillon

This white grape can have intense sweetness or vigorous dryness. It likes sunny days and cool nights. When attacked by botrytis mold, sugar and acid intensifies and comes out fighting, causing the feeling of sexy viscosity in a glass. Dry Semillon can be mistaken for the sharp clawed Sauvignon Blanc but in a coat of creamy honey. When older, Semillon loves richer fish such as salmon with cream sauce.

Villain: Poison Ivy

Green, seductive, mean streak, zesty, sharp criminal mind, immunity to bacteria and fungi, thrives in sunlight.

Grape: Sauvignon Blanc

A vigorous grower, this green skinned, grassy crisp white is widely and deeply planted. Its aromatic style can go from aggressively herbal to sweetly hot house tropical. It performs well in sunny climates without high heat. When paired with Semillion, it turns into the powerful duo of Sauternes.


Shapeshifter, genetic mutant with blue skin capable of masquerading as anyone, morphing used to adapt to different situations.

Grape: Pinot Grigio (Gris)

Thought to be a genetic mutant of the Pinot Noir grape, Pinot Grigio is a grayish blue fruit. The wine color produced can morph from deep gold, to copper, even light pink or salmony yellow. Depending on the maker, this wine can go from subtle, innocuous and invisible, to powerful flavors and extremely aromatic, and even agile lightweight, lean or peppery. Very versatile with many foods and many situations.

Of course there are many more grapes and many more superheroes, but it’s a start. You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.