ANYTHING ON THE WINE LABEL IS FAIR GAME…
As a sommelier, I do a lot of wait staff wine training.Â Many people think that this means we drink all afternoon, but in reality, there is a good amount of discussion with an open forum question/answer period .Â One of the many things that I stress with the servers is that ANYTHING on the label is fair game for a guest to ask them about.Â That includes the familyâ€™s coat of arms, the small scribble that is the ownerâ€™s daughterâ€™s name, the RM on a champagne bottle or something as simple as just the name of the wine.
More often, however, a guest doesnâ€™t quiz you so much on these finer details, but on a word that might be foreign to them (literally–it is often in another language!).Â For those in the business that need a little education on some wine terms (and for those NOT in the business that want to stump your server), here are a few wine terms defined that you may see the next time you encounter a bottle of wine.
SUR LIE:Â French term that literally translates to â€˜on leesâ€™ â€“ these wines are aged on the deposits of dead yeast cells and bottled without racking (separating the wine from the lees)
MONOPOLE: Think of the game Monopoly, when you hold all the Title Deeds in a color groupâ€“ a vineyard with a single owner
CLARET:Â This is a British name for a Bordeaux wine and can be used as a semi-generic term for a ride wine made in a Bordeaux style
VIEILLES VIGNES (VV): French term that means â€˜old vinesâ€™ although there is no legal definition as to how old the vines need to be in order to have them called as such
BLANC DE BLANCS: A term used for Champagne that signifies the wine is white and made only from white grapes (in this case it would be Chardonnay)
Seen something on a label recently and donâ€™t know what it means?Â Let us know and we can help decipher that label for you!–Jenny Benzie