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A Different Kind of Super Tuscan From a Super Tuscan Pioneer

A Different Kind of Super Tuscan From a Super Tuscan Pioneer


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One of the most enduring and instructive wine stories of the latter years of the twentieth century — and one with the most importance for anyone who would seek to build a brand, for either a wine region or a specific wine, into a global presence — is the story of the so-called Super Tuscans.

How did this category emerge, despite no help from the official standards bodies (DOC and DOCG in their case), and how did it come to force the official standards bodies to change to catch up? An early hotbed of Super Tuscan subversion was the region around Bolgheri, on the Maremma coast of Tuscany. Among the best-known wines here are Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia, Angelo Gaja’s Ca'Marcanda, Marchese Antinori’s Guado al Tasso, and Tenuta dell'Ornellaia’s Ornellaia.

The founder of Ornellaia, Lodovico Antinori, Piero Antinori's brother, sold that operation years ago and, in 2001, founded Tenuta di Biserno, in the village of Bibbona, just north of Bolgheri in the Alta Maremma. Judging from the reaction of critics, he has managed here to repeat his success at Ornellaia.

Repeat, but not clone. The varietal backbone of Ornellaia was merlot. At Biserno it is cabernet franc. Their flagship wine, called simply Biserno, is made primarily from that grape, with merlot playing a secondary (though important) role, along with some cabernet sauvignon and trace amounts of petit verdot. Exact percentages are vintage-dependent, but the breakdown is usually roughly 60 percent cabernet franc, 20 percent merlot, 15 percent cabernet sauvignon, and 5 percent petit verdot.

Wine writer James Suckling, who has observed Biserno since its inception, told me that though Biserno uses French grapes, “they maintain the freshness and intensity of great Tuscan reds.” He added, “I see a general trend at Biserno of reds with more finesse and structure than just pure power."

I took part in a vertical tasting of four vintages of Biserno at the classic Italian Adelmo’s Ristorante in Dallas with the winery’s export director, Sebastiano Rosa. (Vintages that are no longer available at regular retail may be found through secondary markets at varying prices; if you buy from these, verify your source, as this wine is a favorite for counterfeiters.)

2007 (secondary market only). The most mature and most resolved of the four, though likely at its peak. This was the softest wine, with complex fruit and forest-floor consistency. My favorite, but probably hard to find.

2008 (secondary market only). This one appears to be bigger than the 2007 and is certainly at an earlier stage of its evolution. I suspect that it could reach greater heights at its peak, though.

2010 ($130). Notably youthful and not yet fully developed, with impressive red fruit, cabernet franc greenness, and herbal and forest-floor notes on the palate. One to keep.

2011 ($130). A lesser vintage in Bolgheri than the others, at least according to eRobertParker.com, and one whose wines are usually already ready to drink. Not so with this wine, which presents itself as young, with a nose of vibrant cherry fruit, chocolate, and mocha, and then firm tannins and a long finish in the mouth.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Bordeaux, Meritage, Super Tuscan & Claret: Do You Know the Difference?

As a sommelier in a steakhouse, I hear much commentary about red blends, but it seems as though there is a lot of confusion surrounding this style of wine and its various manifestations. The first thing to consider is that most red wines are blended in some percentage. In California, for example, in order to be labeled as “Cabernet Sauvignon,” only 75% of the grapes officially need to be that varietal. Granted, there are many famous styles of red blends from around the world, but for this particular piece, let’s focus on those Bordeaux in style.

What’s the difference between all these blends — and how does that affect how you shop for wine?

Bordeaux is a region in the southwest corner of France, where a blended wine style was created and has subsequently been copied by numerous regions around the world. A specific set of geological circumstances, as well as an unpredictable climate within the Bordeaux region, led to a style of winemaking based around blending. The vineyard managers planted grapes that matured at different times, in order to “hedge their bets,” assuring that the best wine would be made, despite any seasonal challenges. Since then, many other wine-producing regions around the world have adopted Bordeaux-style blending.

Bordeaux from France

The red varietals permitted in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere. The Gironde estuary runs through the heart of the region: the wines from the “left bank” are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon-based, and the wines from the “right bank” are traditionally Merlot-based.

Meritage from California

In response to the limitations of California wine labeling laws, a group of winemakers formed the Meritage Alliance as a means to bottle blended wines, without calling them “California Table Wine.” Only wineries who are members of the Alliance may label their wines as a Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”). It must be one of the winery’s top tier bottlings and must be made from only Bordeaux grape varietals.

Super Tuscan from Italy

Italian winemakers also desired to break free from the strictures of their country’s rigid wine laws, planting non-traditional grapes and using alternative techniques. Although most commonly from the coastal region of Bolgheri, these wines may come from anywhere in Tuscany. Winemakers may use Bordeaux varietals, but they are also permitted to use Syrah, Sangiovese, or others. Although there are no rules regarding which grapes comprise each bottle, some of Italy’s finest wines come from this region.

Claret from Anywhere

Originally a British term for the rich, red wines of Bordeaux, claret has crossed the ocean and may now refer to any wine made in the Bordeaux style.

How to Apply When Shopping for Wine

Just remember that the next time you are sipping a Bordeaux, it may be mostly Merlot. Or your next Super Tuscan might be 100% Syrah. Take the extra time to find out the leading grape in your favorite red blend. You will often be surprised at the results, and they will help you understand what you like and how to find more of it.

What are some of your favorite Bordeaux-style reds, and what do you enjoy serving with them?

Jayme is an aspiring wine-maker and Certified Sommelier, and when away from the restaurant, she can be found in the garden or the kitchen. She blogs at Holly & Flora, where she writes about cultivating, cocktailing, and creating, from garden to glass.


Watch the video: SUPER TUSCAN SUPERSTARS: ICONIC PRODUCERS DISCUSS THEIR WINES


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