Label Gazing: How to Read a Wine Label

Admit it. You’ve most likely purchased a wine primarily based on nothing greater than a beautiful label.

Most of us have been lured at the very least as soon as by a wind-swept title like Jagged Peak scripted throughout a postage-size portray of a country hillside.

Drink the wine, dwell the life.

Not fairly. After a number of disappointments, I began on the lookout for austere labels as an indication of purity: because the winemakers had clearly spent no cash on advertising, I reasoned, they will need to have invested within the fruit.

But that didn’t work both: I ended up consuming unhealthy wine in ugly bottles with unpronounceable names.

Eventually, I spotted that there are a variety of clues on the label that may make it easier to improve your odds of shopping for a greater bottle. Here are the primary of my high 10 tricks to studying a wine label (and growing your possibilities of buying a better wine):

1. The Producer Name

The man or gal who makes the juice is vital—take into consideration your response when Uncle George declares he’s simply made his newest batch of Thompson Seedless blush in your pleasure.

Get to know a number of nice producers out of your favorite areas so that you at all times have one thing from which to decide on.

Be warned that many joint ventures between superstar vintners will be simply an excuse to jack the worth, slightly than produce doubly good wine—however there are exceptions, similar to Opus One and Sena.

2. The Wine Name

First, give your self a break and choose a wine whose title you possibly can pronounce with out coughing to disguise the try. What you wish to keep away from are tongue-twisters like Johannishof Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Spätlese. This isn’t to say that wines with lengthy names aren’t good, lots of them are nice. But if you happen to’re simply beginning out and wish a number of good, easy selections, hold it brief.

Don’t fear, you possibly can nonetheless select a German wine since a great deal of Old World winemakers are actually utilizing fashionable New World monikers: Devil’s Rock, Cuckoo Hill, Winter Hill, Deer Leap, Spice Trail, Riveroute and Perth Pink are from France, Hungary and Spain. Fortunately, these anglo-friendly names are additionally first rate wines.

Some wine names poke enjoyable at snobbery: Meat Market Red, Fat Bastard, Space Shuttle White, Love Goat Blush, Good Ordinary Claret, Plonque and Rude Boy Chardonnay.

One British grocery store has even created a line known as “Great with Chicken” “Great with Pizza & Pasta.” There’s even one known as “Great with Friends”—which ought to concern those that truly cease to consider it.

It’s hit or miss with regards to these gimmicky names, however usually I discover that they’re stronger on advertising than on style.

3. The Wine Region

Are you cool or scorching? Cool climates similar to France, Germany, New Zealand and Canada usually make wines that steadiness fruit flavours and acidity. They additionally develop grapes similar to pinot noir and riesling, which produce elegant, spicy, restrained wines.

Warmer climates similar to California, Chile and Australia deal with larger, bolder wines, similar to shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. And sure, there are cool areas inside these nations, however we’re generalizing right here.

So usually, the extra particular the place title, the higher. When a area is extra narrowly outlined, the standard pointers and legal guidelines are, and it’s much less probably that grapes from good and poor vineyards can be blended.

For instance, a wine from Napa Valley is normally higher than one merely labelled as California.

Continue to Part 1 of Reading Wine Labels

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