****• GRENACHE **The core of the appellation, accounting for about 80 percent of the grapes grown here. Produces wines with lots of "sweet", alcoholic fruitiness, but can lack definition on its own.
• **SYRAH **The great northern Rhone Valley grape, here it adds color, concentration, and aroma to the blend.
• **MOURVÈDRE **One of the Mediterranean's finest red varieties, it's inky and tannic when young, but develops a gamy succulence with age. The backbone of chateauneuf.
• **CINSAULT **The least interesting of the appellation's four major varieties, and a relatively minor component (at best) in most of the top wines. Shares many of the characteristics of grenache, and can add softness to a blend.
• **COUNOISE **Valued for its acidity and peppery freshness.
• **MUSCARDIN **Used as ballast by some producers. Not especially aromatic, but adds weight and savory tannin. Comparatively scarce.
• **VACCARÈSE **Another rarity, producing wine similar in character to cinsault.
• **TERRET NOIR **Very scarce, but adds structure and aids acidity.