If you are into wines then you have most likely heard the term varietal (va-ri-e-tal) used to describe a wine. Maybe your wine shop has said, “This is a single varietal wine.” Many times the term is confused with the word “variety.” Most wine lovers don’t know that one word refers to grapes and the other to a type of wine.
A varietal wine is a wine produced primarily (75% or greater) from a single named grape variety. Typically, the name of the grape is displayed on the wine label. Wines labeled as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are all varietal wines.
Varieties are types of grapes such as Zinfandel grapes, Chardonnay grapes and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Simply put, varieties refer to types of grapes and varietal refers to the type of wine.
The term (varietal) became prominent in the United States wine business after the end of prohibition. It was popularized by a professor at the University of California, Davis. The term was used to encourage grape growers to choose optimal vine varieties. The usage became widespread during the California wine boom of the 1970s. Varietal wines are commonly associated with New World wines in general.
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Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- November 7th – International Merlot Day
- November 12th – International Tempranillo Day
- November 15th – International Zinfandel Day
- December 16th – National Wine Club Day
- December 20th – National Sangria Day
- December 31st – National Champagne Day