Filed under: Wine
#1 Hot vs Cool Climate Grapes grown in warmer climates tend to be lower in acidity and higher in sugar, which results in fuller-bodied wine. Cooler climates more often yield the opposite with grapes having higher acidity and less sugar, so the end product is lighter-bodied. This climate rule can be derailed, however, by local variances like a south facing vineyard that's warmer than average for the surrounding area, or by certain breeds of grape (some are consistently flavored no matter where they're grown).
#2 Old World vs New World Another good rule of thumb is that generally speaking traditional Old World (European) wines tend to the earthier, spicier side while New World (United States, Argentina, South Africa, anywhere not Europe) varieties are fruitier. Again, this rule does not always apply as the occasional New World winemaker may aspire to Old World techniques, or a European might deliberately create a fruit-forward variety to tap into that market.
So in applying these two rules you could make an educated guess that a cabernet from South Africa is probably fuller bodied than a cabernet from Yarra Valley in Australia, but that neither are likely to be as earthy as a cabernet listed from France.