the terminology of wine


Ever wonder what all the names mean on a French bottle of wine?
Wine Appreciation Without The Snobbery

For those of you who are new to wines we think you'll find this interesting and a simple way to read French wine label. For those experts out there, a quick refresher for you.

France has long been dominant in the wine market, and her wine regions have become world famous. Five regions in France produce her finest and major types of wine: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, the Loire Valley, and Alsace. Within each region a number of different wines are produced by different districts. Bordeaux, for example, has 36 districts. These districts, then, are divided into communes and within the communes are individual vineyards, called chateaux. Still with us, here? French and European wine production is strictly regulated by the government to ensure consistent high quality. The Institute National des Appellations d'Origine dictates how much wine may be produced by each vineyard. France also has established four categories of wine.

  1. Appellation Controlle, or controlled origin, is the highest quality category.
  2. The second quality level is Vin Delimite de Qualite Superieure, (VDQS) which are wines just a bit off from top quality by little noticeable difference. Frequently a wine of this category is being developed for promotion by the vintner into the top rank.
  3. The third category, Vins de Pays, or country wines, describes table wines from specific locations, either a single vineyard or an entire region.
  4. Lastly is the Vin de Consummation Courante, ordinary wine unmarked as to source, which is generally served as an inexpensive house wine in many restaurants.

    Wine Tasting Terminology


'It is of far more importance to select your wine merchant than to select your wine, for a merchant with a reputation to lose will never give you bad advice'