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What's in a Wine - M

The Wine Buyer created this alphabetical list of wine "names" along with color, place and grape to help you decipher what's in a wine! In the US, most wines are labeled with what grapes are used to make the wine (there are some notable exceptions!). However, in other parts of the world, especially in Europe, many wines are named for their location, appellation, village, etc. In some cases, we've listed both reds and whites for a "name" if there are good wines made from another varietal. We also indicate if the wine is sweet if that's what the area/name is known for. Note that for Bordeaux, France we've listed the appellation/village names for most of the important ones but not the individual chateau. And in Burgundy it is possible that you won't find the village on the label if it's a Grand Cru wine. However, most of the Grand Cru have the name (or part of the name) of the village incorporated in their name, like the Grand Cru Charmes-Chambertin from Gevery-Chambertin. This can get complex! If you have another wine name you know about and would like to add to this list or have a question about another one, please let us know! We will be adding a new wine name to this list every week from our newsletter.

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The largest and best known of the Bordeaux wine regions. It encompasses a triangular area about 50 miles long in Western France. It is broken up into the Bas-Medoc ("lower"; labels just say Medoc) and the Haut-Medoc ("upper"). The area also includes six village appellations, Listrac, Margaux, Moulis, Pauillac, Saint-Estčphe, and Saint-julien, which have their own label designation. Medoc wines are red only and use the cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot grapes primarily with small amounts of petit verdot and malbec. Generally, the best known chateau and better wines are from the Haut-Medoc.

Created in 1989, this U.S. label designation is used on red and white wines that are blends of Bordeaux grapes. The red wines must be a blend of at least two of these grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Carmenere, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Gros Verdot, and St. Macaire. The white blends must consist of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, and Semillon. No Meritage wine may contain more than 90% of a single varietal.

This is an appellation in France's Languedoc region that produces some of the best red wines in the region. It is located north of Corbieres away from the sea. These reds are made mainly from the red grapes Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache. More recently Mourvedre and Syrah have also been added.

The Montsant wine denomination was born in the year 2002, consisting of the municipalities and wineries which had up to then formed the Falset sub-zone of the Tarragona denomination. Since then the DO (Denominació d'origen) Montsant has experienced spectacular growth. When it was set up the denomination had 28 wineries, but now there are more than 40. The vineyards fall in spectacularly beautiful hilly country, sharing the slopes with almond and olive groves and pines. The land forms a horseshoe around Priorato, but the wines here have a clear identity of their own. The main grape varieties are Grenache and Carignan.

The smallest of the village appellations in the Haut-Medoc area of France's Bordeaux region. At the center of this area is the village of Moulis located a few miles Northwest of Margaux. Although none of it's chateau's were in the original 1855 classifications, some really good wines are produced here using the traditional Bordeaux varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot along with some of the other blending grapes.

This is the name of a grape variety that is grown mainly in Bordeaux's sweet white wine growing areas like sauternes and barsac and in Australia. In Bordeaux, it is only used in small quantities in semillon or sauvignon blanc based dessert wines because of it's intense aromas and flavors. In Australia, you'll see either this name or Tokay on the label of these always sweet dessert wines that are 100% Muscadelle.

In an unusual departure for the French, this wine is named for it's grape which is also known as melon de bourgogne. Muscadet is made in the western area of the Loire Valley near the Atlantic Ocean. It is a white dry wine that can vary widely in quality from vintner to vintner. The best come from the appellation of Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine AC (this refers to the two rivers, the Sevre and the Maine, which come together west of the town of Nantes). You may also see this term on the label: "mise en bouteille sur lie" which means the wine was bottled without filtering. This usually indicates the best quality Muscadet.