What's so special about a "cuvée"?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

—Dr. Vinny

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What's so special about a "cuvée"?

—Steve, Cumberland, R.I.

Dear Steve,

The French word “cuvée” translates to “vat” or “tank,” and suggests a special selection or blend of wine.

When it comes to Champagne and other sparkling wines, the word typically refers to the first-pressed (and best) juice. Outside of that, it’s just used to evoke images of higher quality, but the term is not regulated. I’ve seen it generically refer to a blend of more than one grape variety. But there is nothing necessarily special about a "cuvée."

—Dr. Vinny

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