Just as England has its own aristocracy, the dozens of grape varietals used to make wine have their own nobility—a singular class of grape varietals responsible for producing some of the finest wines at vineyards throughout the winegrowing world. Topping the list are the sine qua non of classical varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Sémillon. Then there are the major varietals—grapes that only grow to their full potential in specific, well-known areas (as opposed to the classics, which perform well in numerous regions across the globe)—such as Sangiovese from Tuscany or Tempranillo from Rioja. Together, the classical varietals and major varietals make up this exclusive group of wine grapes known as noble grapes. Keep in mind, however, that noble grapes don't automatically result in a noble wine.