Our tips on “How to read a wine label”
THE BEST OF BORDEAUX
Reading a wine label may seem intimidating at first, but with a little knowledge, it can be easy to work out. We want to share with you our tips on how to read wine labels so that you can impress your friends and become a real expert!
#1 – Look for the name of the wine, this information is usually the most prominent element on the label. It can be either :
- An estate wine, in which case it is written “Château …” or sometimes (but less frequently) “Domaine …” or “Couvent …”, “Clos …”.
- A branded wine (as “Mouton Cadet”) or a wine from a cooperative (the term “Chateau” cannot be used).
- The second wine of a winery, in which case the word “chateau” is not used but there is still a reference of the name of the estate. Example : “Carruades de Lafite” (second wine of Chateau Lafite Rothschild)
#2 – Check the vintage
The vintage is the year the grapes were harvested and is another important factor in determining a wine’s quality. Look for it on the label, usually near the producer’s name. P.S. Here’s a little secret – don’t miss out on a 2018 Bordeaux vintage; they are amazing!
#3 – Identify the appellation & terroir
So what is a “terroir” you may ask? The terroir takes into account the quality of the soil where the vineyards are grown and its quality impacts the wine notes and style of wine. This can usually be found near the vintage. Each appellation has its own specific regulations of their unique wine manufacture process that wines of the appellation must meet in order to acquire the appellation’s name on the wine label.
#4 – Look for the grape variety
Check out the different grape variety blends on the label, this will let you know what you’re drinking and you’ll get to learn the ones you like more.
#5 – Check the alcohol content
The label will usually include the alcohol content of the wine, expressed as a percentage by volume, which gives you an idea of how strong the wine is. A wine with higher alcohol content tends to taste fuller and bolder, resulting in a richer mouthfeel compared to wines with lower alcohol content that taste lighter, more subtle aromas and more refreshing.
#6 – Don’t forget the back label
The back label often contains additional information about the wine, including tasting notes, food pairing suggestions, and information about the winery.
Take this bottle for example:
Now that you’re practically a wine label expert, you can better understand the wines you buy and enjoy! Don’t miss the opportunity to practice by checking our wine club.