The Wine Label: the Best Compass for Every Wine Lover

11 May 2020

Browsing through our blog you may have noticed in the main menu a category that appears to be very technical, and for this reason, far from attractive! Rest assured that our goal is not to detail all the rules and regulations governing our work, but simply to make its fundamental points as clear as possible so that our readers will find it useful.

So we’ll talk about denominations, product regulations, basic regulations on viticulture and winemaking and any other information that – directly or indirectly – we can deduce from the label of a wine. Every word, every symbol reported on what we might call the “identity card” of each bottle has a very strong significance. It can suggest a lot more than we might grasp at first glance. The information ranges from its territory of origin to the composition of the grape blend, from production techniques to periods of aging.

Let’s try to imagine a situation in which we have to choose a wine without actually being able to see it, relying only on a few clues. It might seem a rather bizarre circumstance, but no more so than what happens very often to all of us when we examine the wine list of a restaurant, or listen to the offers of the day in a wine bar.

Usually our options are divided into the classic macro-categories bubbly, white and red, sometimes complemented by geographical indications (country or region of production) and sub-categories (still or sparkling), but this is rarely enough to identify which wine can really satisfy our taste.

So a good familiarity with the designations and regulations can provide us with a useful tool to guide us.

Reading Franciacorta D.O.C.G., for example, we not only understand that we are faced with a sparkling wine: we know its precise geographical origin (the eponymous territory in the province of Brescia, Lombardy), we know that it was produced with Chardonnay grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco (pure or assembled/blended, but certainly no others and, in any case, the contribution of Pinot Bianco should never exceed 50%). Above all, we have the certainty that we are choosing a classic sparkling method (refermented in the bottle, like Champagne) and therefore characterized by the specific fragrant hints of yeast of that specific category.

Similarly, the name Barolo D.O.C.G. guarantees that that wine has been subjected to a minimum aging of 38 months (of which at least 18 in wooden barrel) that rises to 62 if the "Reserve" section appears. Great choice then, if we are looking for a structured wine, with a complex aromatic profile with strong tertiary notes, but probably not as suitable if we want a light, fresh wine, more focused on fruity and floral aromas.

We’ll also have the opportunity to analyse the relationship between the denomination and the quality of a wine, to examine the issues that often cause as much debate as confusion among consumers (to name one: suphites), but also to address all the issues – increasingly common – relating to additional certifications (organic, biodynamic, vegan etc) and their value in the eyes of the consumer: what do they actually mean? What guarantees do they offer?

We hope to have teased your curiosity on this topic too, enticing you to follow us on this path to discover an aspect of the wine world sometimes a little neglected - perhaps because it is very unpoetic - but extremely useful for developing our awareness as tasters, but above all as consumers.

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