While doing research on several Vineyards in the Paso Robles area for our Winery of the Month Promotion, I came across Cuvée selection of wines. I was surprised to find that some of the vineyards offered Sparkling Wine! I do know that Champagne can only be called Champagne if that pale golden wine with soft bubbles calls from the Champagne Region in France. I did not know that “Cuvée” could apply to other wines beside Sparkling Wine. Yes, I am a novice when it comes to wine terminology and the wonderful varietals that are pouring out of many Paso Robles Wineries. I know that many of you are more knowledgeable about the language of wine but thought there may be a few other novices out there that may appreciate the following general definitions.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “Cuvée (or Cuvee on some English language labels) is a French wine term derived from cuve, meaning vat or tank. The term cuvée is used with several different meanings… Most wines will have been stored in a vat or tank at some stage of their production…. However, in the range of discerning producers, which market both regular blends and blends called “cuvée…”, the cuvée-labelled wines will usually be special blends or selected vats of higher quality, at least in comparison to that producer’s regular wine(s). In some regions, the term cuvée is used to specifically indicate a blend, i.e., a wine produced from a mixture of several grape varieties, rather than a varietal wine. This is especially true outside of France.
Varietal describes wines made primarily from a single named grape variety, and which typically displays the name of that variety on the wine label. Examples of grape varieties commonly used in varietal wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. Wines that display the name of two or more varieties on their label, such as a Chardonnay-Viognier, are blends and not varietal wines. The term is frequently misused in place of vine variety; the term variety refers to the vine or grape while varietal refers to the wine produced by a variety.”
There is so much more to learn about the simple grape and the wide variety of what grapes can produce under the watchful eye of the winemaker. Visit Paso Robles, stay at the Adelaide Inn, explore the vineyards, talk to the winemakers and treat your palate to a new experience! À bientôt. (See you soon!)
by Debbie Nagel