It is a pretty straight forward when you look at a new world wine label. As example, either it says Merlot or Chardonnay on the label, and therefore lets you know what you are about to buy and drink. On an old world label, that is a bit more tricky and leaves people wondering what a certain wine might be. My goal is to shed some light on this subject, so that on your next trip to the wine store, you don’t have to sneak passed the French or Italian sections. Location plays the major role in old world wine labels. In Burgundy they use mainly two grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Therefore when you are dealing with a French white wine from the Burgundy region, you most likely are enjoying a Chardonnay.
Here is a common listing as to what to expect when drinking the following:
Bordeaux – red wine blend either Merlot or Cabernet dominant. Left bank is Cabernet driven, right bank is Merlot driven
White Bordeaux – Sauvignon Blanc
Burgundy – red wine is Pinot Noir | white wine is Chardonnay
Cotes du Rhone – red wine blend - Syrah dominant in Northern Rhone
Chateauneuf du pape – red wine blend of 13 different grapes
Sancerre – Sauvignon Blanc
Barolo or Barbaresco – Nebbiolo
Brunello di Montalcino – Sangiovese
Chianti – Sangiovese
Amarone – red wine blend – mostly corvine and rondinella
Rioja – Tempranillo
I will post a few labels with detailed descriptions later this week.