Wine Word of the Week: Varietal



By Kori ~ January 22nd, 2009.

winepeeps_wotw_2-1b2This week’s Wine Word of the Week is varietal.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Varietal is a descriptive term for a wine named after the dominant grape variety from which it is made. The word is increasingly misused in place of vine variety. A varietal wine is distinct from a wine named after its own geographical provenance…. Varietal wines are most closely associated with the New World, where they constitute the great majority of wines produced.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Varietal is a term used to describe a wine named after the grape variety from which it is made. Often confused with last week’s word, variety, varietal describes the wine in the bottle while variety describes the grapes grown on the vine. For example, a bottle of Chardonnay is a varietal wine produced from the Chardonnay grape variety.


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