Chew on this: if you’ve wine tasted with us at Ponte Winery, your choices have included Shiraz, Pinot Gris and Primitivo wines. Sort of.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t remember any of those wines the last time I visited Ponte,” you’re probably not alone. In the world of wine, many wines that are exactly the same go by very different names. The three wines listed above? Yeah, at Ponte, we call them Syrah, Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel.
Here are some other varietals that fit the bill:
- Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc and Sancerre are the same wines.
- Pinot Noir and Burgundy are the same wines.
As if wine wasn’t already complicated enough, right? So what gives? When it comes to naming a wine, it is either named for the grape that was used to make the wine, or it’s named for the region of the world in which the wine was made. Old World wines (think French) are usually named after the region where they were grown while New World wines (think United States) are typically named for the principal grape in the bottle.
Are they debating on the name? Nope, just helping to get Beverino just right for our guests.
Take Cabernet Sauvignon, for example. In California, a red wine made from at least 70% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes would be called Cabernet Sauvignon. In the Bordeaux region of France, a wine made with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon is named after its region: Bordeaux. Same grape, same wine, different name. Old World winemakers tend to feel that the place where the wine was made has as much to do with how the wine will taste as the grapes themselves. The weather, climate, soil, critters (aka terrior)…they all impact the finished product and so these winemakers feel the name of the region a wine was made in is a better indicator of what the wine tastes like.
Ponte’s terrior in the winter.
Terrior is a big deal to any good winemaker…any farmer, really. A farmer knows what grows well on their land. This is the reason why you won’t find all of the same wines in Temecula as you would in, say, the Russian River Valley. Some grapes just grow (and taste) better in certain areas. At Ponte we do take pride in our land, in our terrior, but in the end, what matters is how the wine tastes and if you like it. No amount of pride on our part should indicate if you like or don’t like a particular wine. It’s like we always say, if you like it, it’s good wine.
Check out this great list of popular wines and their alternative names around the world.