Wine lingo can be super confusing if you're not a pro, but don't worry! We've got your back with a quick guide on how to read a wine label and understand what's inside that bottle.
Let's start with the basics. There are 5 things you should look out for on the label… First thing you’ll see is the name of the winery or producer, which can be a single person or a company that sources grapes from different vineyards. You'll also find the name of the wine, which can give you a clue as to what type of grape or blend of grapes was used to make it. From these nuggets of information you’ll receive clues about the country it’s made in as well as the style of wine.
Now, let's look a little closer and find the region. Where the grapes were grown can tell you a lot about the wine's style and quality. Some countries, like France and Italy, have strict regulations about winemaking, and certain regions have a reputation for producing exceptional wines. Look for designations like "Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" (AOC) in France or "Denominazione di Origine Controllata" (DOC) in Italy, which indicate that the wine was made according to specific rules and regulations. Interested in learning more wine terms? Read our Wine lingo dictionary here.
Next up, we have the vintage. This is the year the grapes were harvested, and it's an essential factor in determining a wine's quality. The weather conditions during the growing season can significantly impact the wine's flavour and aroma, so a good vintage can produce exceptional wine. You'll usually find the vintage on the label, either on the front or back of the bottle.
Now let's talk about the grape variety. The type of grape used to make the wine can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of flavour and aroma. Some wines are made from just one type of grape, while others are blends of two or more. Popular varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.
The alcohol content of the wine is also something to consider. It's expressed as a percentage and can usually be found on the back label. Higher alcohol content can indicate a fuller-bodied wine, so keep that in mind when selecting your bottle.
Finally, some wine labels include additional information like tasting notes, food pairing suggestions, and awards or ratings from wine critics. While these can be helpful in guiding your wine selection, they are subjective and should not be the sole factor in your decision.
There you have it, folks! Reading a wine label doesn't have to be overwhelming. With these tips in mind, you can confidently navigate the world of wine and discover your new favourites.
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