ViNotes: How to Read a Wine Label

This article, courtesy of the WSJ,
is full of good advice on what to look for on the label when you're
buying a bottle.  Obviously judging a wine by its label is a little
like judging a book by its cover, but considering these various factors
may give you a greater chance of successfully picking a bottle you like.

Image from
Image from

I particularly heart little anecdotes like this:

Details, details, details. When we were young, we
were fond of the late Hanns Kornell's Sehr Trocken, one of a handful of
sparkling wines he made at his California winery. On the back label was
a hand-printed date of when the wine was "disgorged," when the sediment
in the neck of a bottle of bubbly was removed and the temporary cap
replaced by a real cork. On the front of each bottle was this notation:
"Naturally fermented in this bottle," which was a big deal because
that's the way real Champagne is made, with the bubbly fermentation
taking place in the bottle and not in a huge tank. We love information
like that and some wineries still give it, including the dates when the
grapes were harvested and the wine bottled. Details like these make the
point that these things mattered to the winemaker and that he or she
understands that they have meaning for the consumer, too. They add to
the feeling of the wine's authenticity.

Have you ever picked a wine by its label?  Was the wine great or disappointing?

Related posts:

ViNotes: Wine Tasting Basics I

ViNotes: Wine Tasting Basics II

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