Macabeo (AKA Viura or Macabeu)—A mild white wine of Spanish origin that is best imbibed when it is young. Also used as a blender because of its ability to withstand oxidation. The grape is grown only in a few other places, where the climate is warm and arid.
Malbec— A dark, intense, full-bodied wine with juicy fruit notes and violet aromas. It is commonly used in blends to make Bordeaux and Claret wines, but some producers are now making varietal Malbec wines. The grape is grown in and around Cahors, France, from whence it originated, as well as in other areas of the world with similar climates.
Malmsey—A sweet, fortified wine from Portugal, made in the Madeira Islands.
Malvasia—A varietal wine, which can be white, or red, depending on where it is grown, and full-bodied and soft when young, and a nutty aroma when aged. The red varieties of Malvasia grapes can make pinkish or light red, rich wines with chocolate notes, while white Malvasia wines have more fruity notes. Originally from Greece, the grape is now grown worldwide in warm, arid regions.
Maréchal Foch—Red wines that can range from light Beaujolais-types, to dark, highly extracted and expensive wines from older plantings that have recently gained a cult following. The grape, a French hybrid, is grown primarily in the Eastern U.S. Marechal Foch wines tend to have strong acidity and aromas of black fruit or toasted wheat, mocha, fresh coffee, bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, and even musk.
Marsanne—A deeply colored white wine with a rich, nutty flavor and hints of spice and pears. Originally from the Rhône region of France, where it is still grown, it is also grown in other parts of the world with similar climate.
Melon de Bourgogne (AKA Melon or Muscadet)—A light, dry, crisp white wine that can sometimes leave a prickly sensation in the mouth, due to leftover carbon dioxide from the bottling process. Pairs wonderfully with seafood, especially shellfish. From the Burgundy region of France, the grape is now grown in other areas of the world with similar climate.
Merlot—Merlot is a red wine with medium to full body with black cherry and herbal flavors. Merlot is typically smooth, soft and mellow. Originally from France, the grape is now grown worldwide.
Montepulciano—A soft, deeply colored, plummy wine that improves with age. The grape is originally from Italy, where it is primarily grown.
Mourvèdre (AKA Mataró or Monastrell)—Excellent tannic wines that can be high in alcohol, with earthy notes or soft, fruity flavors, depending on where they are produced, and how long they are aged. The grape is from Spain, Rhône and Provençal, and is also grown in other dry, regions of the world.
Müller-Thurgau (AKA Rivaner)—A delicate, aromatic, dry white wine with a flowery bouquet and less acidity than a Riesling, sometimes with a hint of Muscat flavor. Müller-Thurgau is best enjoyed while it is fresh and young. Dryer versions are sometimes called Rivaner. Produced from a crossing of Riesling and Madeleine Royale plants, the grape is now grown worldwide.
Muscadine—A dry, red table wine, or with added sugar, a dessert wine. Wines and ports have been made from this wild grape of the Southern U.S. since the 16th century. Grows well in warm, humid climates.
Muscat (AKA Moscato)—A red or white wine that can range from a table wine to sparkling wine to dessert and fortified wines, to brandies and liqueurs. The Muscat grape is one of the first domesticated grapes. With a couple hundred varieties, it is grown around the world.