What does the word “cuvée” mean, exactly? Is it just another word for “wine”?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does the word “cuvée” mean, exactly? Is it just another word for “wine”?

—Yoon-sik, Seoul, South Korea

Dear Yoon-sik,

There are two main uses for the word “cuvée” (pronounced KOO-vay) in the wine world. When in reference to Champagne, it refers specifically to the first-pressed (and most desired) juice. Outside of bubbly, cuvée refers to a particular blend of a wine, and typically of more than one grape variety.

It’s a fancy-sounding word, so sometimes it’s used to indicate a wine of superior quality or a special reserve, but the term is not regulated, so that’s not always the case.

—Dr. Vinny

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