The wine park

Deciphering Old World Wine Names

Aug 01, 2013 11:20:56 AM

Heard a lot of wine names but wondered what they actually meant!? Here’s a simple guide to famous wine names.

Old World wines are often referred to by their regions. These famous region names indicate a particular type or style of wine. Read on and learn a little more about the wines you are already familiar with and discover some new ones too!

Bordeaux: The famous red wines from Bordeaux in France. Blends created from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. White Bordeaux wines are blends of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and other local varieties.

Burgundy: Red & White wines produced in Burgundy, France from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes respectively.

christian moreau chablis2

Chablis: It is the northern most wine district of the Burgundy region in France, producing Chardonnay wines in a dry style that are renowned for the purity of their aroma and taste. Chablis is described to often have a "flinty" or "steely" note and has on average much less influence of oak in comparison with the white wines from the rest of Burgundy.

Pouilly-Fuissé: It is a dry white wine made from Chardonnay. It is pale and refreshing, often quite delicate, and often shows a clear oak influence. This appellation (AOC) lying in the Mâconnais sub-region in Burgundy is also known by the same name and is its best known part.

Champagne: Sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region in France from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier grapes.

Hermitage & Cote Rotie: Famous Syrah dominant wines from Rhone Valley, France

Chateauneuf-du-Pape: Possibly the most famous wine from Southern Rhone, it is a Grenache dominant blend with 12 other permitted grape varieties.

Gigondas: A sub-region and AOC in the southern Rhône Valley making only Red wines and small amount of Rose wine mainly from the Grenache grape that is blended with other grapes like Syrah,  Mourvedre & Cinsault. It doesn’t produce any white wine.

Pouilly-Fumé: An AOC in the Loire Valley producing dry white wine produced purely from Sauvignon Blanc. At maturity, these grapes are coated with a grey bloom, the colour of smoke — which explains why Pouilly winegrowers talk of "white smoke" to describe the type of vine or the wines made from it. “Fumé” also refers to the smoky bouquet (the renowned "gun flint aroma"), bestowed by the terroir vineyards of Pouilly/Loire.

Vouvray: This French region and AOC in the Loire Valley is dedicated almost exclusively to Chenin Blanc, producing all types of wines from dry to sweet and sparkling wines. With the naturally high acidity of Chenin Blanc, Vouvrays from favourable vintages have immense aging potential with some examples drinking well into 100 years of age.

Vin de Pays: Cheaper bulk wines produced in the South of France.

Chianti: Red wines made in the Chianti region of Tuscany with Sangiovese making up at least 80% of the blend. Other permitted grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah and local varieties that were part of the traditional, original blend – Canaiolo (red) and Malvasia Bianca (white).

Querciabella Chianti Classico

Super Tuscans: With their origin rooted in the restrictive practices of the Chianti region, Super Tuscans were created by wine makers who thought they could produce a better quality wine if they were not hindered by the DOCG regulations. They are red wines created using Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.

Prosecco: Dry or extra-dry sparkling wine produced in the Veneto and Fruili regions of North Eastern Italy from Glera grapes. The best Proseccos come from Valdobbiadene and Coneglino regions and are known as Prosecco Superiore.

Asti: A sweet sparkling wine made from Moscato Bianco grapes in the Piedmont region around the towns of Asti & Alba in Italy.

Barolo: This DOCG red wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy's greatest wines. Like most Nebbiolo based wines, is known for its light colour and lack of opacity.

Barbaresco: Another DOCG red wine from Italy’s Piedmont region which too is made from the Nebbiolo grape. Even though Barolos and Barbarescos are made in neighbouring communes, (only 15 kilometers from each other) the wines have some distinct differences. Barbaresco tannins tend to soften quicker, hence making them more approachable to drink sooner than Barolos but they don’t age as long as traditionally made Barolos. Barbaresco production is only 35% that of Barolo.

Brunello: Brunello di Montalcino is a red Italian wine produced in the town of Montalcino located in the Tuscany wine region. Brunellos are made 100% from Sangiovese and are to be aged in oak for 2 years and at least 4 months in a bottle before release. In 1980, it was awarded the first DOCG designation and today is one of Italy's best-known and most expensive wines.

il poggione brunello

Amarone: A typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara varieties. It was given DOCG status in 2009.

Vinho Verde: A young Portuguese red, white or rose wine made a variety of grapes; with up to 20 permitted grapes varieties. Vinho Verde is not a grape variety but the name of the region.

Port: Port wine (also known as Vinho do Porto) is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in Portugal. It is typically sweeter, richer, heavier, and possesses higher alcohol content than unfortified wines. Often served as a dessert wine, it also comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

Sherry: A fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez, Spain. Sherry is produced in a variety of dry & sweet styles with different version aged for different periods of time. The 4 styles are Manzanilla, Fino that are lighter styles and Amontillado and Oloroso that are darker heavier versions.

Rioja: This Spanish red wine is produced using mainly the Tempranillo grapes in the La Rioja region. A distinct characteristic of Rioja wine is the effect of oak aging. In the past, it was not uncommon for some bodegas (wineries) to age their red wines for 15–20 years or even more. Today most bodegas make wines that are ready to drink sooner with the top wines typically aging for 4–8 years.

Cava: Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine, most of which is produced in Catalonia. It may be white or rose. An important part of Catalan and Spanish family tradition, it is often consumed at important celebrations and parties. Cava is becoming increasingly popular around the world as an economical substitute to Champagne.

Sekt: German sparkling wine often made using the Riesling, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris and Pinot noir grapes. 90% of Sekt is partially made from base wine imported from Italy, Spain and France. Deutscher Sekt is made exclusively from German grapes, and Sekt b.A. only from grapes from one of the 13 quality wine regions in Germany.

Eiswein(Ice wine): This is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. Although native to Germany, it is also produced in Canada and the United States and is quite expensive.

Tokaji: Hungarian wines from the region of Tokaj, noted for its sweet wines made from grapes affected by noble rot.

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