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15 May 2015 | Getting Started With Wine | Alchemy Cellars

Reading a Wine Label

At first glance, a wine label can be confusing to those just getting started. Luckily, New World wine producers have made it easier on wine beginners by listing the grape(s) directly on the label. Old World regions have typically relied on the wine consumer to be familiar enough with the region to know, for example, that Red Burgundy is Pinot Noir. 

Old World Wines might read like this:
Château Moulin de Grenet 2009 Lussac Saint-Émilion

New World wines might read like this:
Cakebread 2006 Merlot, Napa Valley

The French wine lists “Saint-Émilion,” assuming the consumer realizes that wines from Saint-Émilionare mostly Merlot. The wine from Napa, California, on the other hand, lists both the region and the grape variety. As you study more about wine, you’ll become more and more accustomed to all the wine varietals and the Old World regions that produce them.

Old World wine producers are slowly realizing that in order to compete on the global market, they need to make it easy on the consumer. But as much as times may change, a deep understanding of how to read a wine label will always be a useful skill. 

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