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An Explanation Of Different Wines

Aug 17, 2007
If you are thinking of entertaining in your home, having dinner parties, or you just want to have a bit of knowledge for that next romantic dinner here are some descriptions for you of different classifications of wine and why they are named the way they are.

There are many different types of wines which can lead to some confusion on which to choose for a particular meal or occasion. The information offered here should help clear things up a little.

In many cases wines will be named for the place where they are made such as Champagne while others are named for the grapes the wines are made from like Chardonnay or Merlot. Some get their name from other better known vineyards which are slightly similar such as Chablis and Burgundy. How a wine comes by its name is also influenced by local laws and traditions especially in Europe.

Below are the three main categories:

Regional Wines come first. These wines are primarily European and have a long history of distinctive wine making governed by strict regulations that determine which grapes to use for a particular wine and location. These laws and rules come from hundreds of years of experience using different grapes and fermentation methods which have resulted in knowledge of what will work best for a specific location. Almost all French, Italian, and Portuguese wines are classed in this category with regional names such as Bordeaux, Chianti, and Burgundy.

Variety wines or varietals are next, so named from the grapes from which they are derived. Many countries now allow for wines to be named in this manner though it is still helpful to know about the local variations and local laws. For example, in California a wine need only consist of 75% of a certain grape to be able to use that name while in France it must contain 100% of that specific type of grape. The countries in the "New World" tend to be more relaxed with their regulations and also will label their better wines with these varietal names while the "Old World" European countries tend to use this for their everyday table wines like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The generic wines are the last and are more common in the United States than other countries and for reasons explained above are virtually unseen in Europe. These wines have no regulatory labeling and no content or place of origin requirements so an American wine that is a sparkling wine may be called Champagne even though it is nowhere near the quality of the wine of that name coming from the Champagne region of France. Some other examples of this are Chablis, Burgundy, and Port. This generic naming can be confusing for the uninformed; the best advice is to go with the French made or other European wine where you are assured of the higher quality.

Hopefully the information we have shared with you here will be helpful to you. One other quick tip I will share with you is to remember this where meals are concerned; for red meats choose a red wine and for fish and poultry go with a white.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. For a great selection of wine gift baskets go to http://www.winebasketdelivery.com
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