Harvesting starts in a few days, this is an opportunity to know more about wines.
Here is a little reminder for some and a discovery for others about the different terms we hear regularly.
BROWSE OUR INTERACTIVE MAP OF THE DIFFERENT FRENCH VINEYARDS:
A brief overview of the different terms used in viticulture.
It is used to identify different wines according to the geographical area in which they are produced.
In France, there are several categories of designation:
- Local wines. They come from a defined geographical area. For a wine to be considered as such, the alcohol content must not exceed a certain volume. The volatile acidity must be less than 0.88 g/l. But the yield must also be less than 120 hectolitres per hectare. (White, rosé and red wines)
- the “appellation d’origine contrôlée or AOC” ( equivalent to protected designation of origin). A very prestigious and trustworthy desigantion. The production methods, the yield and the transformation of the grape juice into wine (vinification) all play a part in a wine’s AOC status, but there is also a tasting session that is usually conclusive.
- Wines of France. It is a desigantion that is very often given to wines that are commonly consumed, it was formerly called “Vins de table” (table wine). These wines are made with a very high yield and are without
- Wines Defined as Superior Quality (VDQS). It is a very strict designation that appeared during the second world war, the alcohol content, the cultivation techniques, the yield and of course the tasting are all taken into account. These are generally wines of very high quality but of very low reputation.
Another term often used by purists. But what exactly is a domain?
This is what makes it possible to distinguish the producer but also the means of production that the latter has at his disposal to make his wine.
Getting the name of a domain on the wine labelis not that simple.
- The wine must have a designation.
- Le nom est restreint à la seule production de l’exploitation.
- The wine must come from the farm.
The type of vine used to make a wine is called the grape variety.
The grapes are classified by colour and aroma, which gives the different grape varieties.
A grape variety can be grown anywhere, no geographical area is necessary. A distinction can be made between single varietal, which is when the wine is made from a single grape variety. And there is blending when the wine has several grape varieties.
Here is a list of the best known grape varieties in France:
- Black grape varities: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir
- White grape varieties: Ugni blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier
- Grey grape varieties : Pinot gris, Grenache gris, Sauvignon gris
- Red grape varieties: Cardinal Rouge (this is the only red one)
- Rosé grape varieties : Gewurztraminer, Clairette rosé
To discover the list of all the grape varieties in France, click here.
THE GRAPE VARIETIES ARE ALSO CLASSIFIED BY FAMILY, HERE ARE THE BEST KNOWN:
- The Serine family, mainly for Mediterranean and Rhône wines
- The Cotoïdes family, found in certain vineyards in the South-West
- The Traminer family, which can be found in the regions of Alsace, the Jura and also in Germany
- The Carmenet family is very developed in the Landes and in the region of Bordeaux.
Did you know that one of our customers, a winegrower from the Loire Valley, offers a wine he has named MOUZTRAMINER made from a Gewurztraminer grape variety, which is unlikely in our Nantes region.
In order to choose the right wine, the year of the grape harvest is a very important criterion to take into account.
The vintage is indicated on the bottle label, except for lower-end wines. It can also display the weather conditions.
A wine made in a hot year will have to be consumed much more quickly. To preserve and age the wine, it must come from a temperate year.
5-AND FINALLY, SOME CONSERVATION TIPS.
If you want to store wine, a damp cellar with an earthen floor is ideal, but your cellar must also be dark enough. The ideal temperature for long term storage is 12 degrees Celsius. It should be noted that wine does not appreciate temperature differences, so the temperature should be as constant as possible.