Friday, April 4, 2014

How-To: Read a Wine List--Different Names for the Same Wines

It's useful to remember that the various wine regions around the world label their wines in their own way. A "Pinot Noir" here is labeled "Burgundy" (for its region) there. While there are some differences based on where the grapes are grown, most of us will probably like a Pinot Noir from Oregon as much as we do one from France. So keep an eye out for these names.

Burgundy: The famous red wine from France is typically made from Pinot Noir. The white wine from the region is made from Chardonnay.

Bordeaux: The red wine from this region of France is made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. In the US, this blend is often referred to as Meritage. The white wines from Bordeaux are made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Syrah: This grape is found in some of the great appellations of the Rhone region of France, like Hermitage. It is also the same grape as Shiraz from Australia. It is not the same grape as Petite Syrah.

Sauvignon Blanc: The regions of the Loire Valley in France, like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, use this white grape, and it is used to make Fume Blanc in the New World (where it is aged in barrels to give it its smoky - or, fume, notes).

Zinfandel: Very similar to the Primitivo in Italy, although there has been recent argument they are not the same grape.

Pinot Grigio = Pinot Gris, although the "style" of the wine produced is different.

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