Ever noticed that sometimes a wine bottle will call out that it comes from a specific vineyard? And when you’ve noticed that on the bottle, have you ever wondered, hey, what’s the big deal? Well, we are here to tell you if it's a big deal or not.
If you have been around wine nerds, you know that they start geeking out about single vineyard wines, and if you have been around wine snobs you know that they will sometimes pay outrageous sums of money for select wines that come from specific vineyards.
Are they wasting their money? Is it worth seeking out paying more for single vineyard wines? Let us help you decipher that just a little bit.
And if you don’t know what we’re talking about, then you REALLY need to listen in so you can deepen your wine knowledge. Since this is a minisode, you can get all of this fabulous information for just a small jot of your time!
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Hi everyone, and welcome to this next mini-episode of The Wine Pair Podcast! I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime Carmela. And we are The Wine Pair.
If you are new to The Wine Pair Podcast, these minisodes are just shorter versions of the podcast that we put on weeks where we might be traveling or handling other life stuff, and instead of tasting and reviewing three wines under $20 that are easy to find, which is what we usually do in our longer episodes, in the minisodes, we focus more on things like wine etiquette, wine education, and wine tips. And, we try to make it fun and understandable to regular, everyday people like us! And our podcast is recommended by Decanter magazine. So there!
In this minisode, we are going to talk about something that you may have wondered about - and that is why sometimes wine bottles talk about a specific vineyard.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes a wine label will call out a specific vineyard? For example, Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington State has a Cabernet Sauvignon that is called Cold Creek Vineyard, and Nickel & Nickel winery in Napa has their Quarry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and Borgogno in Italy has a single vineyard Barolo called Cannubi.
Single vineyard wines are sought after by many wine drinkers because they offer what some would call a “pure expression” of a particular wine. Because all of the grapes come not just from the same plants, but from the same small plot of land, they reflect what wine nerds call “terrior” which consists of the grapes, the land, the climate, the soil, the elevation, etc. In theory, a wine made from grapes from just one vineyard will taste very specific, and different from a wine made from the very same grape from multiple vineyards.
Whether or not these wines are actually better is a matter of taste. Some people swear by them and consider them the ultimate in a wine experience. BUT it is true that they are often much more expensive. And there are logical reasons why. When you are limited by the yield of that vineyard - in other words, you can only get your juice from that specific vineyard - you create scarcity, and, as I learned in my MBA program (and which most people know relatively instinctively), the less there is of something, the more it is worth. Supply and demand!
Interestingly, the producer of the wine may not own the single vineyard or even control how the grapes are grown. So, all a single vineyard really tells you is that you can count on those grapes coming from a very specific place. We would assume that means a certain level of quality, but there is no guarantee of that. In Italy they do have a designation called MGA, and in France they have a designation of CRU and Grand Cru, but again, those are not guarantees of quality, just guarantees of accuracy. They are supposed to be the best, but the winemaker has to be great, the grapes have to be great, etc. In the US, a single vineyard is not something that is regulated - in other words, it is not a legal definition.
So, like we always say, you gotta taste the wine to see if you think it’s worth it. I will also say that, because they tend to be much pricier, it will be very rare to see a single vineyard wine on our podcast because finding ones that are under $20 is like finding a unicorn.
If you want to see the sources for our content today and get the links to learn more, come to our website, look for this minidose, and open up the show notes.
Articles and Links
Ok, that’s it for this minisode. Check out our other minisodes to learn more which you can find on our website or your favorite podcast service. You can follow us on Instagram at thewinepairpodcast or you can visit our website thewinepairpodcast.com and in any of those places you can reach out to us directly, and you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also will have our show notes on our website, and we will include links to articles on this topic as well. And, on our website you can also sign up for our fun newsletter!
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