It is often believed that that the colour and layout of wine label has a strong impact on the market success and brand personality. The elegant and contemporary labels you find on any wine bottle contain lot of information. But if you are one of those who believe in widening their horizons and palates by tasting some of the finest Wines from France then this post is for you. French wines are considered to be best in the world by some and some posts also emphasize or rather convince you to taste the list of few French Wines at least once in your life!
The style of French wines echoes with France completely and they give you a feel of elegance, well-dressed, appreciating good things without exceeding the limits! Despite a labelling system that is confusing to many people outside France, French wines gives the greatest pleasure, align perfectly with food and never dominates in respect of flavour or alcohol, always well-mannered and behaved and often beautiful! The culture of France is clearly visible in its wines and that is why it is not only important and needful but also interesting to learn about French wine labels.
Variety or Appellation Credentials
You might have seen most of the wines labelled with different with grape varieties but it is very uncommon for French wines to be labelled like this. This is because in France, wines are connected with cultures and areas and therefore are designated by its appellation credentials. So whenever you are looking at the label of any French wine, you should pay attention to the name of region where the wine is originating besides the name of producer. This will serve as the best clue to determine the grape varieties present in the wine as these are linked with regional producers. Appellation credentials are specific requirements for regions which are determined by the country of Origin (France in this case) defining the varieties of grapes which are allowed to be used, crop yield, alcohol percentage and quality level. You can check out the French Wine Map for details on various regions!
Sequence of French Labels
Not all, but most of the labels on French wine are labelled in the following sequence.
- The top-most words describe the popularity of wine, for instance it can be translated as one of the best wines of winery, highest selling rate or something like this.
- Then appears the name of winery.
- Logo of the brand
- Wine appellation (generally in same font size as winery)
- Year it was made (signifying Vintage/ Non-vintage)
- Might also show the name of owner of winery
- Alcohol percentage somewhere at the right or left bottom
The sequence might be shuffled depending upon the manufacturer but basically consists of all these contents.
Along with this there are myriad of French wine terms that appear on labels. Here are few which are popularly used! Enjoy reading them as you may find the one written on the bottle in your wine library!
- Biologique: Organically produced
- Blanc de Blancs: It is used to denote a wine which is made 100% from white grapes, also known as sparkling wine. Mousseux is also used as a synonym for Sparkling.
- Brut: Generally used along with the word above, to denote the level of sweetness in the wine.
- Demi-Sec: You can remember it as semi- sweet i.e., lightly sweet. Sec means sweet.
- Supérieur: the meaning is similar to the way you are pronouncing it! It is superior as it is a wine with higher minimum alcohol content and ageing requirements than the base!
Knowing or understanding a label will definitely not tell you how it tastes but would definitely help you in getting the better idea of what are you buying. So next time if somebody calls French wines as the one belonging to one of the confusing regions, you can help him with these tips!