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Understanding the Difference Between Grape Variety and Varietal

When it comes to wine, the terms "grape variety" and "varietal" are often used interchangeably. Still, they refer to two distinct concepts that are crucial to understanding different types of wine.

Red wine grapes on a vine

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between grape variety and varietal to help you enhance your wine knowledge and tasting experience.

What Does The Term Grape Variety Mean

The term "grape variety" refers to the specific type of grape that is used to make a particular wine. Different grape varieties have unique characteristics that influence the wine's flavour, aroma, and overall profile. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot are all examples of grape varieties commonly used in winemaking.

What Does The Term Varietal Mean

On the other hand, the term "varietal" is used to describe a wine made primarily from a single grape variety. In other words, a varietal wine is produced using at least 75% of a specific grape variety. For example, a bottle labelled as "Cabernet Sauvignon" must contain at least 75% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to be considered a varietal wine.

It's important to note that while varietal wines are made primarily from a single grape variety, winemakers often blend different grape varieties to create more complex and balanced wines. These blended wines are not considered varietal wines, as they generally do not meet the minimum requirement of 75% of a single grape variety.

Using It in a Sentence

Variety: "There are several cool climate grape varieties grown in Ontario"

Varietal: "Left-bank Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon varietal wines have great aging potential"

Understanding the difference between grape variety and varietal is essential for the wine curious who want to explore more. By knowing the grape varieties used in winemaking and recognizing varietal wines, you can enhance your understanding of the wine terms used, and expected characteristics in a bottle.

In summary, grape variety and varietal are two distinct but interconnected concepts and by knowing the differences between the two, you elevate your wine knowledge and expectations when digging into something new.

Now, go forth and confidently use the terms grape varietal variety and varietal with all you encounter.



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