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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is Vidure the same thing as Cabernet Sauvignon? Could Cabernet Sauvignon grown and fermented in Napa Valley be labeled as "Vidure"?

—Chuck, Sacramento, Calif.

Dear Chuck,

Vidure is a very rarely used synonym for Cabernet Sauvignon (and it's also been used to refer to Cabernet Franc). I’ve read that "Vidure" comes from the French term “vigne dure,” or “hard vine,” which is a good nickname for Cabernet.

As with just about all major grape varieties, there are dozens of synonyms for Cabernet Sauvignon—as varieties have traveled the globe over the centuries, they have picked up many different names. However, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the arm of the federal government that dictates wine-labeling laws (among other things), only recognizes the name Cabernet Sauvignon for that grape, so you could not make a Napa Cabernet and label it as being made from "Vidure." I think it’s for the best: Wine is confusing enough—we shouldn't also have to remember that Cabernet Sauvignon might also go by the names “Bidure,” “Bouchet,” “Marchoupet” or “Navarre.” This rule does not apply to imported wines, which can be designated with whatever is approved from the producing country’s own rules.

The TTB has approved the use of alternate names on some wines, like Sauvignon Blanc/Fumé Blanc, Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio and Syrah/Shiraz.

—Dr. Vinny

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