Confused on wine labels?

Do you feel overwhelmed with row upon row of wines with different labels not knowing what they mean and so purely base your purchase on price.

Sound familiar?

With some wines they are pretty easy to understand as they say what grape and country it is, giving you the basic information. Whereas some countries state the place from which they are made rather than the grape, which unless you know your wine law, how on earth are you going to know what style of wine you will be purchasing?

If you not familiar with the wine laws that are out there it can often be a minefield trying to understand the language and terminology used. I am mostly referring to what is know as old world wine, these being countries such as France Spain and Italy.

The reason I want to share some wine label information is so that you have a wider choice and not always reaching for that familiar pinot grigio and merlot. Not that there is anything wrong with these grapes I just think its great to have a wider choice and knowledge of what is out there.

So, here are a list of a few words that you may see and what they mean.

Chablis – This is a place in Burgundy and the grape grown is Chardonnay – style is mineral fresh.

Rioja – Place in northern Spain, main grape tempranillo, offering 3 styles Crianza, youngest more fruit driven, Reserva, aged for longer show a smoother softer style, Grand Reserva aged for longer again, fruit character is now dried fruit, soft integrated tannins. Price will reflect the length of ageing.

Châteaux Domaine or Bodega – This refers to the name of the property the wines is associated with.

Montepulciano d’ Abuzzo – In Italy if you see d’ this means ‘of the place’ so there for, this means the montepulciano grape ‘of’ Abuzzo (the place). Note: Montepulciano is also a town in Tuscany the two are not related.

Bordeaux – If you buying a Bordeaux red this will be predominantly be a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Scrumptious with roast meats and steak.

AC, AOC, DOC, and DOCG – These are wine laws in which the wine has to be made and adhere to certain guidelines, if they wish to have this status on the bottle. The idea is to give the consumer reassurance that the wine they are buying is up to certain quality standard.

For example you may read Appellation Chablis Controlee, from this you will know they have stuck to the guidelines within the law of Chablis.

We will look at wine label terminology again as there is a lot to digest and understand. If you see something on a label that your not sure of then please don’t hesitate to contact us. Don’t miss out on a potential fabulous wine just because your not sure what the label means.