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Wine is wine, but watch what you call Burgundy

on 08/06/11 at 10:49 am


There are places and there are grapes, and those are the two ways wines are identified. It can make things confusing, but wine is wine no matter where it’s from or how it’s named.

In the simplest breakdown, European countries name wines for the place they come from. The rest of the wine-producing world – the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and South Africa – mostly name wines for the grapes that go into them.

Bordeaux, in the southwest of France, is one of the world’s most famous and important wine regions, home to storied winemakers such as Chateau Margaux and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. With a few exceptions, wines that are made in that region, from grapes grown in that region, are known simply as “Bordeaux.” It does not matter if they are red or white.

Red wines from Bordeaux contain some combination of the following grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. A white Bordeaux is made from Sauvignon Blanc.

The same goes for France’s other most famous wine regions, Burgundy and Champagne. Only wines from those places can be called by those names. Thus, we have champagne from Champagne and sparkling wine from California. Even sparkling wine outside of Champagne but still in France cannot use the name “champagne.” That wine is known as Cremant.

The French red wine known as “Burgundy” would be called simply “Pinot Noir” in Oregon. Likewise, the French white wine known as “Burgundy” would be called “Chardonnay” here.

It’s easier already, is it not?

{Full story via Chicago Sun Times}

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