Monday, June 15, 2009
Wine: Varieties and Varietals
There are many many thousands of kinds or 'varieties' of wines from all over the world. But the word 'varietal' means something else when used to refer to wine. It means a type of grape. Bordeaux is a variety of wine from a specific region of France. There is white Bordeaux and red Bordeaux. Red, the more popular and better known, is usually made from three grape varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, but it can be made from as many as five different types of grape. Drinkers of California wines get confused by French wines because French wines are labelled by the region and appellation, whereas in California, most often the name of the wine contains its grape varietal. We drink Chardonnay or Syrah, or Pinot Noir, or Cab, which are all varietals. There is so much to know about wine, which is one of the things that makes it fascinating. I thought in the weeks before the Tour de France and my stage-to-wine and food pairing begins, I should define some terms, to whet your appitite. Cheers!