Quality wines are almost like a key to open a door into the most fantastic place you may ever encounter: you need to know how to use it and put it in the door to open it. Consequently, wine bottles and wine, more generally, must be handled with care and following the defined rules, in order to fully appreciate it and taste its flavor.
And this is why winemakers decide to put a label on their bottles: not only to give vital information about the wine and how it is made but also to let the consumer know how to handle the wine properly and get the best taste you could possibly have. However, it is important to know how to understand the acronyms on the label and how to generally read them, so that no other information can be hidden and we can appreciate our wine.
How to Read Wine Labels: Wine Producer
One of the most important elements that you should learn how to read on a wine label, so that you might get all the important details on its taste, is definitely the place where it was harvested, processed, and, most importantly, how is the wine producer. In fact, for Italian wines, you should learn that there are countless Italian wine regions, whose process and grape varieties differ and, consequently, also the wine’s taste.
Thankfully, the wine label should show, on the top of the bottle, the wine region of provenience, the state, and the name of the winemaker company or winery. However, you should also avoid getting stuck on the usual renowned names and get to know truthfully about the best wine regions’ names, which one of them is protected by copyright or not, but most importantly, which one has a taste that can be more lenient on your personal preferences.
In this way, you will be able to catch on names that are more renowned or winemakers that produce a perfect blend of notes and aftertastes that you usually prefer, or even wineries that on a certain year have created a true quality wine.
How to read a wine bottle label: Grape Variety
Another very powerful and important aspect that you should learn about reading the wine label is the grape varieties and their blends. In fact, the quality or the species of grapes that are employed in a wine-making process can not only change the taste but the overall structure of the wine itself. For example, Italian wines can differ widely, according to the grape varieties used or blend together, such as the Amarone della Valpolicella, a wonderful wine whose taste can only be described as sublime thanks to the variety of high-quality of grape varieties that have been used.
Therefore, try to get accustomed and learn all about the different names and kinds of grapes, their provenience, and how they taste, so that you will be able to recognize which one you like or not when you bump into one of them while picking the perfect one to drink on a night out. Although it is not mandatory to specify which grape variety you have used or which blend, so some wine labels do not show them, winemakers usually still prefer to use it, so that you can recognize their hard work. However, be aware of another detail: the percentage of those grape varieties in that wine, that might change any taste or structure of the beverage itself.
How to read Italian wine labels: technical terms
Now, whenever you are choosing between some red wines types, or looking for a nice one for dinner or a party, you must learn to read another important element, especially when it comes to Italian wines: the technical terms. Here is a list with the most used details and technical terms by winemakers:
- Vintage – Non Vintage: a vintage wine is a symbol of very aged grape varieties and wines, that have been processed over 50 years and more.
- Alcohol by volume (ABV): this number tells you the percentage of alcohol in the wine.
- Barrel aged: this expression refers to the aging of the wine in wood oak barrels, mostly for a long time, so it indicated a nutty and smokey flavour to the palate.
- Couvée: these French terms refer to a blend of different grapes, maybe from the same or different regions while creating the wine.
- Sulfites: these elements are usually used in wines to reduce the growth of bacterial infection in the beverage or oxidation, but might also change the wine’s taste and alcoholic level.