Welcome to Mazoo’s World of Wine

Our goal is to share with you how fun and exciting trying new wines can be for you and your guests.  There are over 200 types of wine and within each type are varieties from all over the world, broken down by region.  It’s best to begin with the 8 most commonly known wines and a bit of knowledge of each as we break into our exciting selection (from our home to yours).  Here is a quick reference to the most popular wine varieties and how to pair wine with food.

A variety is a type of grape:  the grape variety dominates the flavor.
Riesling (Rees-ling)

Food-wine pairing: dry versions go well with fish, chicken and pork

Region: the classic German grape of the Rhine and Mosel, Riesling grows in all wine regions. Germany’s great Rieslings are usually made slightly sweet, with steely acidity for balance. Riesling from Alsace and the Eastern USA is also excellent, though usually made in a different style, equally aromatic but typically drier (not sweet). California Rieslings are much less successful, usually sweet and lacking in acidity for balance.

Typical taste in varietal wine: Riesling wines are much lighter than Chardonnay wines. The aromas generally include fresh apples. The Riesling variety expresses itself very differently depending on the region and the winemaking. Rieslings should taste fresh. If they do, then they might also prove tastier and tastier as they age.

Merlot  (Mer-lo) Easy to drink. Its softness has made it an "introducing" wine for new red-wine drinkers.

Food-wine pairing: any will do.

Regions: a key player in the Bordeaux blend, merlot is now also grown on the US West Coast, Australia, and other countries.

Typical taste in varietal wine: black-cherry and herbal flavors are typical. The texture is round but a middle palate gap is common.

Cabernet Sauvignon (Ka-ber-nay So-vee-nyon) widely accepted as one of the world’s best varieties. Cabernet sauvignon is often blended with cabernet franc and merlot. It usually undergoes oak treatment.

Regions: Food-wine pairing: best with simply prepared red meat.
: Cabernet sauvignon is planted wherever red wine grapes grow except in the Northern fringes such as Germany. It is part of the great red Medoc wines of France, and among the finest reds in Australia, California and Chile.

Typical taste in varietal wine: full-bodied, but firm and gripping when young. With age, rich currant qualities change.  Bell pepper notes remain.

Vanilla notes if present come not from the fruit but from the oak treatment.

Gewurztraminer  (Gah-vurtz-tra-meener) A very aromatic variety.

Food-wine pairing: ideal for sipping and with Asian food, pork and grilled sausages.

Regions: best-known in Alsace, Germany, the USA West Coast, and New York.

Typical taste in varietal wine: fruity flavors with aromas of rose petal, peach, lychee, and allspice. A Gewürztraminer often appears not as refreshing as other kinds of dry whites.

Sauvignon Blanc  (So-vee-nyon Blah)

Food-wine pairing: a versatile food wine for seafood, poultry, and salads.

Reions: flat and lack fruit qualities. Of French origin, sauvignon Blanc is grown in the Bordeaux region where it is blended with Semillon.  It is also grown extensively in the upper Loire valley where it is made as a varietal wine.

Typical taste in varietal wine: generally lighter than Chardonnay — Sauvignon Blanc normally shows an herbal character suggesting bell pepper or freshly mown grass. The dominating flavors range from sour green fruits of apple, pear and gooseberry through to tropical fruits of melon, mango and blackcurrant. Quality unoaked Sauvignon Blancs will display smoky qualities; they require bright aromas and a strong acid finish; they are best grown in cool climates.

Chardonnay  (Shar-doe-nay) Chardonnay was the most popular white grape through the 1990’s. It can be made sparkling or still.

Food-wine pairing: it is a good choice for fish and chicken dishes.

Regions: chardonnay makes the principle white wine of Burgundy (France), where it originated. Chardonnay is grown with success in most viticulture areas under a variety of climatic conditions.

Typical taste in varietal wine: often wider-bodied (and more velvety) than other types of dry whites, with rich citrus (lemon, grapefruit) flavors. Fermenting in new oak barrels adds a buttery tone (vanilla, toast, coconut, toffee). Tasting a Californian Chardonnay should give citrus fruit flavors, hints of melon, vanilla, some toasty character and some creaminess.

Syrah  (Sah-ra or Shi-raz) Shiraz or syrah are two names for the same variety. Europe vine growers and winemakers only use the name syrah.

Food-wine pairing: meat (steak, beef, wild game, stews, etc.)
Regions: syrah excels in France’s Rhône Valley, California and Australia.

Typical taste in varietal wine: aromas and flavors of wild black-fruit (such as blackcurrant), with overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat. The abundance of fruit sensations is often complemented by warm alcohol and gripping tannins.

Toffee notes if present come not from the fruit but from the wine having rested in oak barrels.

The Shiraz variety gives hearty, spicy reds. While Shiraz is used to produce many average wines it can produce some of the world’s finest, deepest, and darkest reds with intense flavors and excellent longevity.

Pinot Noir  (Pee-no Nwar) One of the noblest red wine grapes — difficult to grow, rarely blended, with no roughness.

Food-wine pairing: excellent with grilled salmon, chicken, lamb and Japanese dishes.

Regions: makes the great reds of Burgundy in France, and good wines from Austria, California, Oregon, and New Zealand.

Typical taste in varietal wine: very unlike Cabernet Sauvignon. The structure is delicate and fresh. The tannins are very soft.  The aromatics are very fruity (cherry, strawberry, plum), often with notes of tea-leaf, damp earth, or worn leather.

Yet pinot noir is very transparent to the place where it is grown. The staggering range of wines produced makes it pointless to define which personality is the best expression of the variety.

Come see us at any of the four Mazoo Liquor retail locations. We will special order any wine you desire and deliver it to your door.