What does "cuvée" mean on a wine label?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the meaning of “cuvée”? I saw it on a bottle of Champagne.

—Taylor, China

Dear Taylor,

The French term “cuvée” has a few different meanings. When it comes to Champagne, the term can refer to the first-pressed (and best) juice. But in Champagne and elsewhere, it most commonly refers to a blend, either of more than one grape or of wine from specially selected barrels or vats. “Cuvée” is also used to imply prestige or quality, though the term is not officially regulated, and therefore can appear on the labels of very ordinary wines.

—Dr. Vinny

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