Word of the Week: Appellation

Chambolle-Musigny. Ribera del Duero. Napa Valley. What do all of these places have in common? Beyond simply cultivating grapes, they are legally protected and regulated appellations. An appellation is a wine-growing region with delimited borders. Typically, but not always contiguous, appellations come in sizes large and small, and can incorporate a series of sub-appellations within them. Gualtallary , for example, is a small sub-appellation of the Uco Valley , which itself sits within the larger Mendoza appellation of Argentina. A bottle label will often feature an appellation’s name, providing drinkers with the geographic origins of a given wine. Each major wine-producing country has established its own appellation systems, but the French Appellation d’Origine Côntrolée (AOC) series, first codified into law in the 1930s, has long served as the model. Italy’s Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), Portugal’s Denominação de Origem Controlada, and several others are all born in the image of France’s AOCs. Traditionally, these appellations are bound by unifying features in their terroir , promising consumers the evocation of a “sense of place” in wines that bear their name on a label. To preserve the character of these regions, many appellations, particularly in Europe, regulate the methods by which their wines can be created – dictating everything from the permitted grape varieties to viticultural practices to the shape of the bottle, in some cases. New World appellation laws are less rigid, and rarely reach beyond the specification of geographical boundaries. The United States’ American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) or Australia’s Geographic Indication (GI) systems, for example, are far more flexible than their European counterparts, paving the way for innovation and a greater diversity of wines from any given appellation.

Bodega DiamAndes

Perlita Valle De Uco Malbec Syrah 2016

John Howard

Really nice balance of old world/new world. Juicy black cherry, raspberry, cocoa, dirty violets, barrel toast, meaty. Killer value. Will buy more soon. — 6 years ago

P, James and 14 others liked this

Ramey Wine Cellars

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Mike R

And the final wine tonight being used to tune up for tomorrow is the really nice Ramey - yes I know it's a baby - I am sorry - but just though I would drink young tonight - don't get mad 😡 at me please - still decanting - but it is a winner - really nice smooth and promise thus will age nicely - one sip and I say - wow - all four taste smell color and finish are talking on union and are saying big bold beautiful Napa cab - going to smile tonight and keep all night while I sleep - 😄😄😄😄 — 7 years ago

Mike, Jody and 40 others liked this
David L

David L Influencer Badge Premium Badge

These wines are always delicious ! @Mike Rowe
Hugh O'Riordan

Hugh O'Riordan

A few years ago I did a blind tasting between Ramey (big favorite of mine) cab and claret. No one could tell the difference. So I buy a case of claret every year.
Mike R

Mike R Influencer Badge

@Hugh O'Riordan like the claret too

Bodega Catena Zapata

Catena Mendoza Malbec 2015

Really nice little Malbec. Hints of fruit up front with touch of spice to finish. Medium body. Would definitely buy again. Had 2015 in October of 2017. — 6 years ago

Maria liked this

El Enemigo

Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Cabernet Franc 2011

Argentine cabernet franc was new to me! Picked this up on my last trip there. This was really excellent. Earthy, smooth, and well balanced. — 8 years ago

Maria liked this

Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier

Chambolle-Musigny Pinot Noir 2013

Cathy Corison

Happy BD William. On our way to hear Alex Baldwin speak at City Arts & Lectures. Beautiful. Oh, to taste this again with some bottle age. Floral perfume already making a statement. — 7 years ago

William martin
with William
Eric, Chantal and 37 others liked this

Bodegas y Viñedos Vega Sicilia

Valbuena 5° Ribera del Duero Tempranillo Blend 2007

An excellent wine from Vega Sicilia - second wine to Unico. Needs some air, but really awesome. Probably somewhere between burgundy and Bordeaux in style. Perfect with pork / suckling pig. Had at Santceloni in Madrid. — 8 years ago

Maria liked this